Dunblane (Gaelic: Dùn Bhlàthain) is a market and commuter town, with a population of 9410 in 2016. It's nowadays regarded as part of the city of Stirling in Stirlingshire, although historically it was in Perthshire. It grew up around its cathedral (now demoted to a parish church) and became a spa town during the 19th century, when the Dunblane Hydro Hotel was built to cathedral-like proportions. In the late 20th century good rail and road connections turned it into a commuter town, within an hour of Edinburgh and Glasgow.
The tennis player Sir Andy Murray (born 1987) went to school in Dunblane. When he was 9 years old, during the Dunblane school massacre of 1996, he took cover in another classroom; his family knew the perpetrator.
The Dunblane Massacre was committed by Thomas Hamilton, a 43-year-old local man. He'd been involved in youth work, and was briefly a Scout leader, but there were recurrent concerns about his sexualised behaviour with young boys so he was blacklisted. He complained bitterly to all and sundry (even to the Queen) that he was the victim of persecution by police and the Scout movement. He held, quite legally, two 9mm Browning HP pistols and two Smith & Wesson M19 .357 Magnum revolvers. At about 09:30 on Wednesday 13 March 1996 he made his way into Dunblane Primary School, and entered the gym where a class of five-year olds were about to start a PE lesson. He began firing rapidly. Over the next four minutes 32 were shot; 15 children and the PE teacher died. Hamilton then shot himself.
- And see Stirling for other inter-city options.
Trains run from Edinburgh M-Sa every 30 min and hourly on Sunday, taking just over an hour via Falkirk. They run from Glasgow Queen Street hourly daily, taking 35 mins, and with additional services changing at Stirling. All trains from the south stop at Stirling, and usually at Bridge of Allan, so these have a train to Dunblane every 20 min or so. The Caledonian Highland Sleeper from London Euston also stops here - see Stirling#Get in, the times differ by less than 10 min.
Trains run north every hour or two to Perth, whence they either go north to Pitlochry, Aviemore and Inverness, or east to Dundee and Aberdeen. But most trains along those routes don't stop at Dunblane, so you might be quicker to backtrack and change at Stirling.
1 Dunblane station is west across the river from town centre. It has a staffed ticket office and machines, luggage lockers, bike storage, toilets and a waiting room but no cafe. There is step-free access to both platforms.
Scottish Citylink Bus M8 runs from Glasgow Buchanan Station via Cumbernauld, Stirling and Bridge of Allan to Dunblane (one hour), continuing to Perth and Dundee. Buses run hourly M-Sa, every 3 hours Sunday.
Citylink Bus 909 runs once a day from Edinburgh via the airport and Grangemouth, but change at Stirling for a service every two hours.
Stagecoach Perth Bus 15A runs from Stirling via Bridge of Allan to Dunblane (25 min), continuing via Braco, Muthill and Crieff to Perth. Buses run hourly M-Sa and every two hours Sunday.
Docherty Midland Bus 20 runs four times a day from Auchterarder via Gleneagles Hotel, Blackford and Braco, continuing from Dunblane to Stirling.
The inter-city bus stop is by the police station on Perth Rd east of the river bridge.
From the south follow M9 to its terminus at Jcn 11, then B8033 into town. From the north follow A9 south.
Dunblane is small enough to walk around easily.
Taxi operators are City of Dunblane Cars (+44 1786 824444) and Reeves (+44 1786 743536).
- A golden postbox on High St commemorates Andy Murray's victory at the 2012 Olympic tennis singles in London. He took the gold medal again at the 2016 Olympics in Rio.
- 1 Dunblane Cathedral, The Cross, Dunblane, ☏ , email@example.com. Apr-Sept M-Sa 09:30-17:30, Su 14:00-17:30; Oct-Mar M-Sa 10:00-16:00, Su 14:00-16:00. Large church, it has not been a cathedral since the Presbyterians abolished bishops. Mostly Gothic dating from the 13th century, restored late 19th. Note the woodwork of the 15th-century choir stalls, and the memorial in the nave to the massacre of 1996.
- Secret Chapel is within Old Churches House, see Sleep. It was discovered during renovations in 1961 and looks to have been a 13th century place of worship - though the need for secrecy came centuries later. It's free to access daily 10:00-16:00 except when the hotel uses it as an event space.
- Other churches include St Blane's on High St (1854, C of S), St Mary's foot of High St (1845, Episcopal) and Holy Family on Claredon Place (1934, RC).
- Dunblane Museum, The Cross, Dunblane FK15 0AQ (next to Cathedral), ☏ . Apr-Oct M-Sa 10:30-16:30. Volunteer-run museum about the cathedral and town. Exhibits include memorabilia of the Murray tennis players, the Jacobites, the "Atlantic Wall" a D-Day training mock-up, and 6000 communion tokens - only citizens in pious good standing were permitted to take communion, and were issued with a metal token to prove it. Donation.
- 2 The Battle of Sheriffmuir was fought on the bleak boggy plateau east of town on 13 Nov 1715. The Jacobites, led by Earl of Mar, held the Highlands and were marching south from Perth. They were checked here by a smaller government force, and retreated in dismay though they could have advanced. When "the Old Pretender" himself landed at Peterhead in December, his cause was already lost.
- 3 Sheriffmuir Atlantic Wall is a gaunt reminder of World War II. The Germans fortified the coasts of their European conquests with the Atlantikwall, so in the run-up to D-Day, the Allies had work out how to storm it. This crumbling section out on the moors was used a practice range.
- Darn Walk is an old drovers trail along the river. See Bridge of Allan for the downstream section, a 3 mile walk. It continues upstream to Ashfield.
- Golf: Dunblane New Golf Club is on Perth Rd, just east across the bridge from the railway station. White tees 5924 yards, par 69, visitor round £35.
- Blair Drummond Safari Park: see Stirling. It's west across the river near Doune.
- Doune and Dunblane Show is an agricultural show and Highland Games, held on the first Saturday in July. The next is Sa 1 July 2023 at Keir Mains, a mile south of town. Adult £10, free parking. From M90 terminus jcn 11 take B824 west.
- Tesco is next to the railway station, open M-Sa 07:00-22:00, Su 09:00-18:00. There's also a Co-op on High St, but people usually do their big shop in Stirling.
- High St has Riverside Pub, Choices Deli, China Gourmet and Maison Belles within Old Church Houses. There's a fish & chip shop by the railway station.
- India Gate (aka Mr Singh's) is at the junction of High St and Perth Rd. It's open M-Sa 12:00-22:00, Su 14:00-22:00.
- Riverside Pub is at 7C Stirling Rd, open daily 10:00-00:00.
- Tappit Hen on Kirk St is a Belhaven pub, open daily 12:00-00:00.
- B&Bs in Dunblane mostly remain closed in 2022.
- Old Churches House, Kirk St, Dunblane FK15 0AN (by Cathedral), ☏ . Cosy 9-bedded hotel in town centre, formerly church accommodation and containing the "Secret Chapel". B&B double £70.
- 1 Westlands Hotel, Doune Rd, Dunblane FK15 9HT (off A820), ☏ . Pleasant small hotel just off A9 bypass.
- 2 Dunblane Hydro, Perth Road, Dunblane FK15 0HG, ☏ , toll-free: , fax: . Check-in: 16:00, check-out: 12:00. 4-star spa hotel in an iconic 1870s building overlooking the town, now part of the Doubletree by Hilton chain, with restaurant The Kailyard. Generally clean and efficient, some guests have jibbed at pricey Wi-Fi, dreary decor, and the late check-in time. No pets. B&B double from £90.
- 3 Cromlix House, Kinbuck FK15 9JT (5 miles north of Dunblane), ☏ . 15-room luxury hotel owned by the tennis player Andy Murray, gets great reviews for accommodation, service and restaurant. B&B double from £500.
As of Feb 2022, Dunblane and its approach roads have 4G from all UK carriers, and you might get 5G from EE.
- Head to Callander for the scenic Trossachs.
- Crieff is a pleasant Victorian town on the edge of the Highlands.
- You'll pass Perth on routes north, but it's worth stopping to explore.
|Routes through Dunblane|
|Perth ← merges with ←||NE S||→ Stirling → Edinburgh/Glasgow|