Scottish Snapshots: Dunblane

Scottish Snapshots is a series of posts about places I visited in 2013 but didn’t write about at the time. This is the last – and it has turned into rather more than a snapshot. I had forgotten how many pictures we took!

To those who haven’t been there, Dunblane possibly means one of two things: the site of a horrific school shooting in 1996 or the home town of Scottish tennis star, Andy Murray. You can’t escape either with touching memorials to the children and teacher who died and Andy’s golden post-box. (The Royal Mail painted a post-box in the home town of every gold medal winner at the London 2012 Olympics.) Dunblane is only a 45 minute drive from Glasgow, but we hadn’t visited for about 20 years, avoiding being grief-tourists, but when I read about a new hotel opening there I thought it would be a lovely place to stay for three nights between Christmas and New Year.

Old Churches House
Old Churches House

Old Churches House is a row of 18th century cottages opposite the Cathedral which have been converted into a hotel and restaurant. It was very comfortable and the food was good – we had breakfast every day and dinner once. The other nights we ate at India Gate and Café Continental, both enjoyable.

The Cathedral is beautiful.

We used Dunblane’s Community Paths leaflet to explore the town thoroughly – the river (Allan Water) was impressively high. The museum and Leighton Library (oldest private library in Scotland) aren’t open in winter, so we’ll need to go back.

We also explored Dunblane by night – the Christmas lights were very pretty.

On the one day with reasonable weather, we walked out to Sheriffmuir, site of a battle between the Jacobites and the Government Army in 1715. The monument is to the members of Clan MacRae who died there. There’s nothing like a walk with a strategically placed pub for lunch and the Sheriffmuir Inn didn’t disappoint, providing the best meal of the holiday. It’s beautiful inside too.

This was a lovely “Twixmas” break – and there’s a lot to be said for a holiday where the journey home is only 45 minutes!