The town is named after the bridge over Allan Water, north of the town. In the early 18th century, Bridge of Allan comprised not much more than a mill and a collection of poor cottages near the bridge. In 1745, 300 Highlanders from Bonnie Prince Charlie's army blockaded the bridge and collected tolls. In August 1787 Robert Burns visited Stirling and passed through Bridge of Allan on his way to the Roman Fort at Braco and then on to Crieff. In 1793 he wrote his poem 'By Allan Stream'
In the late 18th.Century the area was famous for copper mining but when this declined, Bridge of Allan became a popular Victorian resort and Spa. This was particularly so after the arrival of the railway in 1848. Many grand houses were built at this time, Kilronan House built in 1853 is typical. Today you can still dine in the old spa pump room which is now a restaurant. In the high street there are numerous artisan shops and a varied selection of restaurants and pubs. It is a very popular eating place especially at weekends.
In its Victorian heyday, Bridge of Allan had many illustrious visitors including Charles Dickens and Robert Louis Stevenson. For over twenty years Stevenson came here each summer to spend his holidays. There is a lovely walk along the river on the old drove road to Dunblane. Here you can see a cave which is reputed to have been the inspiration for Ben Gunn's cave featured in Treasure Island.
The town was voted the best small town in the 2010 Beautiful Scotland awards.