Right from the time when the Celts founded the church of St Blane here in the seventh century, Dunblane has served as an important ecclesiastical centre. And, even today, the Dunblane Cathedral (April-Sept Mon-Sat 9.30am-5pm, Sun 2pm-5pm; Oct-March Mon-Sat 9.30am-4pm, Sun 2-4pm; HS; free; 01786/823388) which dates back to the thirteenth century displays the Gothic splendor.
Four miles north of Stirling is the attractive little town of Dunblane, which was suddenly and horrifyingly catapulted into the media spotlight in 1996 when Thomas Hamilton walked into the local primary school and gunned down 15 children and their teacher. The town has been an ecclesiastical centre since it was founded in the seventh century by St Blane who lived at the nearby dun (fort), hence the name. Dunblane's also the home town of Andy Murray, Scotland's tennis champion.
Phone code: +44 (0)1786
Local Sights & Activities for Dunblane
There's a seasonal Tourist Information Centre on Stirling Road, Tel. 824428, open May-September. The main attraction is the beautiful Dunblane cathedral, dating mainly from the 13th century, though the lower part of the tower is Norman. The cathedral was restored to its former glory in the late 19th century. Apr-Sep Mon-Sat 0930-1830, Sun 0930-1800; Oct-Mar Mon-Sat 0930-1630, Sun 1400-1630 (HS). Free. Take note of the fragile blue-purple stained glass, the beautifully carved pews, screen and choir stalls.Among the many memorials in the cathedral is the tenth-century Celtic cross-slab standing stone as well as a modern, four-sided standing stone, the work of Richard Kindersley in memory of the 1996 tragedy (killing of sixteen Dunblane schoolchildren and their teacher by Thomas Hamilton).
Close by on the square, housed in the 17th-century Dean's house, is the tiny cathedral Dunblane museum, with a display on local history. May-Oct Mon-Sat 1000-1230 and 1400-1630. Free. Nearby is Leighton Library, the oldest private library in Scotland, now open to the public. Established way back in 1684, this library houses 4500 books in ninety languages, printed between 1500 and 1840. Among the very many rare books which visitors get a chance to browse here is the first edition of Sir Walter Scott's Lady of the Lake. May-Oct Mon-Fri 1000-1230 and 1400-1630. Outside Dunblane at Bridge of Allan is the Bridge of Allan Brewery on Queens Lane, a micro brewery that offers free tours and tastings. Tel. 834555, open daily 1000-1700.
Dunblane Hotels & Accommodation
There are a couple of very exclusive hotels in and around Dunblane. Overlooking the town is Dunblane Hydro - a luxurious Famous Victorian Hotel set in 40 acres of of landscaped grounds, ideal location to explore the Central Highlands, Stirling and the Loch Lomond National Park. check out their best prices on the above LateRooms link.
4 miles north of town, near Kinbuck on the B8033, is Cromlix, Tel. 822125, one of Scotland's best country-house hotels, with its own loch and chapel. Excellent service and cuisine (expensive). It's worth coming here for dinner or Sun lunch. Rather less expensive is the Sheriffmuir Inn, Tel. 823285, on the wild moors of Sheriffmuir south of Dunblane, where the Jacobite Earl of Mar took on the government forces in 1715. The inn dates from the same period and serves fine food and ales, and is a wonderful place in the summer.