Dunblane is a small town in Central Scotland with a population of about 9,330 in 2021. It is about 10 minutes by train from Stirling which is a much bigger city and where the castle was a royal residence of Scottish Kings in the medieval period (Britannica.com). The town is served by regular trains from both Glasgow and Edinburgh and the journey is probably less than an hour from either.
The main reason for my visit was Dunblane Cathedral, but there are a couple of other “attractions” which I decided were worthy of my attention. This is going to be an overview of the visit, but there are at least a couple of other things I want to write about (my visit to the Cathedral and the restaurant I went to for lunch). I wouldn’t want to spoil you with too many photos in one post, would I!
I googled Dunblane to see what else there is to do and to plan my visit:
- Andy Murray’s Golden Postbox
- The Faery Bridge
- Dunblane Museum (is closed until April)
I’ll return to the Museum in the summer when its open. I did everything else today, plus had a wander through the town and along a riverside walk, past a rock garden where at the end of the walk was the Faery Bridge. OK – you guessed it – anything with faeries catches my attention, so it was on my “must do” list.
My morning was filled with walking: the golden postbox, riverside walk and the bridge, then a relaxed, leisurely lunch followed by a walk back through the town to the Cathedral, before then heading back to the station and home. Finished off by meeting up with hubby at Caffe Nero (giving them the link to yesterday’s post – I hope they like it).
Dunblane is a pretty little town; very quiet – it felt busy at about 4pm when I saw 3 cars on the road at the same time. You can get a feel for the tranquility from the photographs. It was lovely and relaxing to walk around, just taking my time and appreciating what felt like a slowing pace – to be honest, I was probably setting my own pace. I felt that everyone could tell I was a tourist – probably more clearly when I started snapping photographs left, right and centre. I like to just wander when I go exploring – “oh I wonder where this road/path leads” and off I go – so I had no map but wasn’t bothered. I arrived about 10.40am and wasn’t booked to visit the Cathedral until 1.30pm, so I had plenty of time to discover Dunblane. There were a few curiosities I came across too, the little delights I’ll share with you.
My first set of photos are of the town of Dunblane itself. As the information I read indicated, Dunblane was a medieval city and the Cathedral was built in the 11th and 12th Centuries, the town still has its medieval layout – you’ll see the narrow streets, but the buildings are later but I think it still adds to the charm of the place. I had been wondering why Dunblane rather than Stirling has the Cathedral, but now that I know the town was a city back in medieval times, perhaps the dynamics were different.
Following on from London hosting The Olympics in 2012, every gold medal winner from the Olympics and Paralympics of 2012 has a postbox in their home town painted gold. (BBC). Andy Murray (tennis player) is from Dunblane and therefore the town now has its own gold postbox.
I wasn’t actually looking for the postbox when I stumbled across it – its just down the road from the Cathedral so its easy to find. It was convenient though as I had a letter to post.
This sign caught my attention outside the public library in Dunblane. There may not be public toilets available, but it seems that if you are caught short, there will be some organisations who are happy for the public to use their conveniences. Not only was the sign outside the building itself, but there was a sign on the other side of the road directing those with the need to spend a penny. I guess the other benefit of this is that the facilities are free, so it won’t even cost you a penny, and certainly not the 50 pence its costs in Queen Street Station in Glasgow.
I found the Cathedral easily, had a wander around the outside and then headed down to the river (its actually at the back of the Cathedral). I followed the path along the riverside, had a stop at the Riverside Rock Garden where I saw some snowdrops (my first flowers of 2023) and enjoyed the river from a convenient park bench. It was beautifully peaceful – very few people around, the occasional jogger or someone walking a dog. The only sound was the river (it was actually quite a noisy river as you may be able to see from the photos) and the birds. It was drizzly but the riverside was calm, relaxing and if there were some picnic tables rather than just park benches, I could imagine myself sitting and writing. However, I can also imagine that in the summer it will be more popular for walking etc, so my peace may be disturbed.
The Faery Bridge
I was so looking forward to seeing the Faery Bridge. My mind was filled with all sorts of magical ideas of the stories and inspiration behind the construction of this bridge. It is appropriately small with a footpath that’s only wide enough for one person to cross at a time. I walked to the top of the arc of the bridge and enjoyed the view of the river but who knows where the other end of a faery bridge might come out, so I went back the way I came, headed into town and for lunch at the Riverside Restaurant (photo above) which had been recommended by a local out walking her dog.
The bridge was built in 1911 constructed of iron and reinforced concrete. On researching the bridge after I got home, I was really disappointed to discover there’s no magic attached to the name, its simply derived from ferro-concrete. That’s the reality, but I’m going to keep with the idea of Dunblane being the location of a magical, faery bridge.
I thought I’d finished for the day but it turns out Dunblane had one last treasure for me. Opposite the gold postbox is a small Peace Garden with a lovely tree decorated with twinkling lights – the blue ones caught my attention because they really seemed to shine brighter. The garden is built on the site of the old Sheriff Court, Police Station and Jail which seems appropriate somehow.
I loved my day in Dunblane. I hope you enjoyed sharing it with me. Follow up posts about Dunblane Cathedral and my lunch at the Riverside Restaurant will be shared in the next few days.
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