History abounds in quiet Doune, which sits by the mesmerising River Teith, some nine miles from the central Scottish city of Stirling. Continuing north west for a further eight miles would bring you to Callander, known as a Gateway to the Highlands.
But linger here in this beautiful fertile lowland area to soak up its bucolic charm and perhaps strike gold at the Scottish Antique & Arts Centre; there are few better places to spend hours on the hunt for that elusive antique to enhance your collection.
A two-minute drive from the heart of Doune village – marked in its centre by a mercat, or market cross, which dates from 1620 – will bring you to the antiques centre, which houses a myriad of individual quality dealers, a rather good restaurant, and a contemporary shop bursting with design delights, including some appealing ceramic owl teapots.
Browse to your heart’s content – with the array of sellers based here, a huge span of periods and styles are covered. Silver jewellery forms a large part of the display along with ceramics. Militaria is well represented here too: Allied and Axis Militaria specialises in Scottish military items. As well as local treasures, it also stocks rare, sought-after Commonwealth and English cap badges and waist belt plates.
After your browsing campaign, you could indulge in carrot cake at the café before returning to the village for an afternoon stroll.
A good 1.5-mile signed walk begins from the Information Centre on Doune’s main street, where you can pick up a leaflet
for the Doune Castle and River Teith walk.
This leads you past a large Roman fort and through a wood to Doune Castle’s car park. Built in the 14th century and relatively untouched since, Doune has served as a royal retreat, a fortress and a hunting lodge over its chequered past, and you might recognise it from Game of Thrones, Outlander and the much-loved Monty Python and the Holy Grail.
The path then leads by the Ardoch Burn and through a blackthorn grove to reach the Teith, returning to the village.
Back on the main street, peek around the back of number 37, where Doune Pistols once produced highly prized and robust weapons.
Image: Doune Castle was built as the residence of the First Duke of Albany, known as ‘Scotland’s Uncrowned King’