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old churches house dunblane

The cathedral city of Dunblane may seem an unlikely short-break destination for anyone in the Central Belt, but its accessibility - one hour's drive or a train ride from Glasgow and Edinburgh - makes it ideal.

The square is dominated by the cathedral and is overlooked by Old Churches House, formerly the archdeacon's manse and dating to the 15th century. The owners have refurbished it and there are 11 en-suite bedrooms overlooking the cathedral or the Kirk Yard. The rooms, hallways, dining room and lounge all have photographs of the city's past which add to the sense of history.

Our room was cosy and tastefully kitted out in a modern tartan theme, with a king-size bed. There's a bright restaurant where the chefs serve a three-course dinner for £20 and lunch for £15. I enjoyed the main of steamed fillet of seabass followed by a Macallan from the fine range of whiskies.

A number of restaurants and cafes have sprung up since our last visit to Dunblane, making it a haven for foodies. They include a modern gastro-pub/wine bar in the building once occupied by the Stirling Arms. However, the long established Tappit Hen became our local as it is next to Old Churches House.

A short drive away are more shops at Bridge of Allan, including a wine merchants where you can sample the products. A few miles drive outside Dunblane is Doune, where the castle was used by the Monty Python team as the location of the Holy Grail. On the drive out, there's a monument to Colonel Sir David Stirling, who founded the SAS. Poignantly, the names of every SAS member to have died in service are listed.

With all due respect to the town fathers, Dunblane wouldn't be on the map without Andy Murray. There's no escaping his heroics in winning Wimbledon, with almost every shop featuring his photograph. The star attraction is the postbox painted gold to mark his success at the London Olympics. A museum to the man would be a big draw for the town. Over to you, Judy Murray …

John Bynorth stayed at Old Churches House, Cathedral Square, Dunblane. B&B from £70-£100 per room. Visit oldchurcheshouse.com or call 01786 823663 or email info@oldchurcheshouse.com.

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