Dunblane is a small, attractive town which has been an important ecclesiastical centre since the 7th century.
Situated a few miles north of Stirling, the town is believed to have been founded in 602 by the Celtic missionary, St Blane at a ford in the Allan Water. The town developed into a major stronghold of the pre-Reformation Church whose power was symbolised in the magnificent 13th century cathedral. Post-Reformation, the builidng fell into disrepair although restoration work carried out a century ago has now returned it to its Gothic splendour.
The cathedral stands serenely amid a clutch of old-world buildings, among them the 17th century Dean's House, which houses the tiny cathedral museum with exhibits on local history. Close by, the oldest private library in Scotland, Leighton Library houses 4,500 books in 90 languages printed between 1500 and 1840. Visitors can browse through some of the country's rarest books, including a first edition of Sir Walter Scott's Lady of the Lake.
The Allan Water is spanned by a 16th century single arch bridge as it flows through the town and there are a number of good riverside walks.