Visit a stunning Cathedral and tour a whisky distillery in a day. There is a traffic-free path on a disused railway line between Dunblane and Doune that means you can easily combine a visit to the town's cathedral with a dram at the distillery that featured in Angels' Share, the 2012 Ken Loach film.
Dunblane is six miles north of Stirling. It is well connected by regular trains (just over an hour from Edinburgh, under an hour from Glasgow). The stone station with crow-stepped gables is perfectly suited to the prettiness and small size of the town:
Dunblane is one of my favourite towns in Scotland. It has an attractive position next to the Allan Water with the High Street climbing parallel to the Water. The water is fast flowing and when you cross the bridge between the station and the High Street you get an excellent view.
The glass was steamed up from the freshly baked batches and the pastry looked deliciously flaky. I watched locals peering at them and trying to decide which to have for lunch.
I glanced up at a turreted bay window on the High Street and thought this must be a lovely flat to live in. I could imaging the sun streaming in on a bright day.
At the top of the High Street the cathedral can be found in a precinct that is surrounded by pretty stone cottages.
Dunblane Cathedral (free entry, check Historic Scotland for opening hours) dates from the 12th century. The exterior is quite plain and the real joy is to be found inside.
The cathedral's roof is supported by two tiers of Gothic arches. Each arch has fine stone carving and is supported by a cluster of columns. You cannot help but look up to the ceiling and be impressed by the height of the structure that is kept in place by all these arches.
There is a spiral staircase to the West Window where you can look down on this magnificence. It is quite unusual to have this level of access to such a building as I usually find these little staircases inside churches and cathedrals off limits, so it was quite exciting to be able to go up there. You also get a great close up of the stained glass window.
I was really impressed with the wood carving on the choir stalls. The armrests are in the shape of different creatures- dogs, birds and even a camel. A lot of creativity, time and skill was taken over these- just look at the little dog with his nostrils and whiskers and the camel with the tassel hanging from the rein.