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Old Churches House, Dunblane, Scotland - Where to Stay

Old Churches House Dunblane

When we arrived in Dunblane in the early afternoon of a glorious autumn day we were immediately drawn to the 12th century cathedral that gives this small country town its city status.
It’s grand and imposing with beautiful stained glass windows. Inside we found some of the original 12th/13th century stonework and 15th century choir stalls. Heading across the road we visited the town museum where we discovered enough history of town and Cathedral to satisfy our curiosity.Then it was time to check in.

 

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TRAVEL ESSENTIALS

Getting There

By Train: The main line runs through Dunblane. It's one hour from Edinburgh 40 minutes from Glasgow, 30 minutes from Perth and 5hours 40 minutes from London.

By Car:   For those with Sat Nav enter FK15 0AJ. Head north on the M9 past Stirling and follow signs for Dunblane.Then follow signs for the Cathedral. Park in the Cathedral Car park or on the street in front of the hotel.

By bus: Scottish Citylink route M8 stops on Perth Road a few minutes walk from the hotel.

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Dunblane Cathedral

 

Old Churches House is in the cathedral square so we did not have far to go. Originally it was a row of 18th century cottages that were converted into an ecumenical conference centre. That closed and the buildings have undergone further renovations to become an hotel. It has eleven bedrooms and it’s lovely. And with good road and rail links it’s very convenient for Edinburgh, Glasgow and Perth

 

One of the first things we enjoyed aftter checking in was a walk along the banks of the Allan Water, the river that runs through the town. It was once the lifeblood of the Dunblane, powering the mills and looms. The weavers may be long gone but the river remains and both sides are paved making the walks perfect for wheelchair users.

Dunblane Museum

By the time we got back we had worked up a fair appetite and headed straight for the hotel restaurant, The Dining Room. The menu has some great Scottish traditional dishes including Cullen Skink, Black Pudding with Apple Dumplings and locally sourced meat and Salmon. We dined here twice and have to say that the steak, salmon, lamb and chicken were mouth wateringly wonderful.

They also had a selection of seriously wicked deserts but we opted instead for the board of classic Scottish cheeses. The restaurant also caters for people with food allergies, special requests and gluten free dishes.
The breakfasts were equally impressive and the porridge was first class. Something you cannot always count on even in Scottish hotels.

Old CHurch Houses Bedroom

 

The town of Stirling is a short drive away and we were keen to visit its castle. Standing on top of a Volcanic crag it dominates the landscape for miles around. It has been of historical importance in Scotland since the 11th century, has been besieged 15 times, been severely damaged and rebuilt and was the focus of two of the most important battles in Scottish history during the Scottish Wars of Independence - Stirling Bridge (1297) and Bannockburn (1314). It was said that to hold Stirling was to hold Scotland.
The castle as you see it today has been carefully restored by Historic Scotland to show it as it would have been in its renaissance in the 16th century during the time of the Stewarts. James V and his French wife, Mary of Guise, brought in many influences from Europe to demonstrate his power, wealth and sophistication. This is where Mary, Queen of Scots was crowned queen in the castle chapel while still an infant on 9th September 1543.


There is something here for everyone to enjoy from young children to grandparents and you could easily spend a full day exploring the different areas. We were especially fortunate on our visit to find Scottish Opera performing a taster from Don Giovanni in the Chapel Royal. It made our day.

 

Then it was back in Old Churches House in time for afternoon tea. All the baking is done in-house and tasted delicious. On our 3-tier stand we had a selection of fresh bread sandwiches filled with salmon, cream cheese and chives, beef with horseradish and roast ham with mustard. Then there was a choice of scones with jam and clotted cream, dainty sponge cakes, meringues and gingerbread, all freshly baked and washed down with some sparkling prosecco or Laurent Perrier champagne and finished off with tea or coffee. It was served in The Kirk Lounge overlooking the old kirkyard.Old CHurch Houses Afternoon Tea We ate so much we were close to dozing off in comfortable club armchairs so went for another walk. Then we returned to the lounge to read the newspapers and browse the selection of books which guests can borrow. We rather fancy returning here in the winter and spending a cosy evening curled up with a good book in front of the roaring fire.

On our next visit we’d like to do more walking and exploring the countryside by bike or checking out out the spring/summer guided walks at Argaty Red Kites just north of Stirling. Visiting families would enjoy Blair Drummond Safari Park whcih is very near or heading over to Doune Castle. Monty Python and the Holy grail was filmed here but our preference would be a visit to Deanston Distillery. If we have time we’ll nip down to Bridge of Allan to see behind the scenes of a working micro brewery at Allan Water Brewhouse. There’s just so much on offer. You can enjoy the views from the top of the 220 foot Wallace Monument in Stirling and marvel at the statue of Robert The Bruce at Bannockburn Battlefield. If golf is you idea of fun you’ll find plenty of courses to occupy you and of course there are tennis courts.

Dunblane Golden Post BoxBefore you leave Dunblane go and have your photo taken beside the golden postbox in the town centre. It’sdedicated to the town's most famous son - Andy Murray, Olympic Gold Medalist and the first British tennis player to win the men’s Wimbledon championship since Fred Perry in 1936.

 

 



 

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