Dunblane is an attractive and beautifully located town at the entrance to the Scottish Highlands. A settlement has been here for hundreds of years but in the latter part of the 20th century and early 21st, Dunblane’s population trebled in a comparatively short period of time.
Bordered by rural estates and farmland, it was easy access to the countryside and good communications to major cities such as Glasgow and Edinburgh which made Dunblane a natural choice for many seeking a new home outwith the city.
The name Dunblane comes from dun meaning fortified hill and Blane a missionary - and subsequently saint - who came here in the 7th century. Dunblane rightly claims city status from its cathedral but in truth it is very much a town in the country.
There are famous capitals and major cities across Europe defined by a river which runs through them. The Seine in Paris, the Tiber in Rome, Glasgow’s River Clyde and the Thames in London – the list could go on and on.
Dunblane also has its river the Allan Water – more humble perhaps but, nevertheless, it has influenced the history of the place. Narrow and falling steeply from hills to the north, it flows into the larger River Forth which eventually becomes the Firth of Forth on which sits Edinburgh, Scotland’s capital.
As industry created towns across Scotland, it was Dunblane’s river, which brought people here as mills and weaving provided work. There is a deep fold to the river valley and so where Dunblane people live has always historically been on both sides of the river. The same goes for the newly-built estates, which provided homes for the thousands of families new to Dunblane in the last 30 years - some are on the west side of the river, some to the east.
Dunblane now has several different building styles – from its old square around the Cathedral to the former weavers’ houses in Ramoyle nearby, Victorian and Edwardian stone built houses on both sides of the town and the new estates.
Road and railway line follow similar paths to the river helping to make the town centre Dunblane’s focal point. Most of Dunblane’s shops and businesses are also sited here while every day hundreds of school pupils are seen walking to Dunblane High School and a little earlier in the morning many commuters leaving by car or train for work elsewhere.
For many years Dunblane has been known to people across Scotland as a popular venue for conferences. The pleasant surroundings and clean air were good reasons for this but a look at the map shows how centrally located Dunblane is for much of Scotland.
If time allows, one of the high vantage points on the edge of the town will reveal fine mountains to the north and the west, Stirling with its famous Royal castle to the south, the Ochil Hills to the east with Edinburgh beyond and sitting down below, Dunblane – a splendidly situated, traditionally Scottish town in the country.
To learn more about the history of Dunblane, please visit our History pages.