Best things to see & do in Perthshire
Perthshire is a fabulous county to base yourself whilst in Scotland, as it lies right in the centre of the country allowing easy access to Edinburgh, Glasgow, St Andrews and the Highlands. The county is also very pretty with lovely glens, the mighty River Tay, famous for its salmon fishing and home to a lot of grand stately homes & manor houses to rent. Many of the top aristocratic families have their main home in Perthshire, which means guests can visit some wonderful castles, houses and gardens, which are all filled with treasures and fun to explore. The central town of Perthshire is Perth, which in its heyday, was a rather smart one where the local ladies of the county went to do their shopping. Much of that glamour has transferred to Edinburgh and Perth is now slightly forlorn, although there are still hints of its former stature in some of the old buildings.
Aberfeldy & Meikleour
There are many other villages and small towns in the area which are very attractive, like Aberfeldy, with its bustling high street. Meikleour is another attractive village with a charming village pub and also the tallest yew hedge in the world, planted long ago by the Marquis of Lansdowne to conceal their grand country house. The rolling landscapes and hilly glens remind a lot of guests of the English county of Wiltshire or the American state of Pennsylvania. It has a feeling of big open areas and wonderful vistas across rolling farmland. The county is famous for its fruit and jam making. You will pass a lot of students picking strawberries & raspberries in the summer months and of course, Dundee across the border in Fife is the home of marmalade, created by Scottish grocer James Robertson in 1864.
Whisky Distilleries in Perthshire
Perthshire has a mass of famous distilleries for guests to enjoy and our favourite is Edradour which is located just above Pitlochry and is the smallest distillery in Scotland. They do a really fun tour and it’s got a great shop & tasting room, plus there’s a good pub just down the hill for lunch. Other famous distillery names in the area are Aberfeldy, Blair Athol, Deanston, Tullibardine, Glenturret, Strathearn and Dalwhinnie. Dewars Distillery, on the outskirts of Aberfeldy and built in the 1890s is another very popular distillery to visit and they have various different tours depending on your level of interest. I find non-whisky fanatics like to slip off to the Highland Chocolatier, Iain Burnett, who is just down the road. His hot chocolate is amazing and it’s impossible to leave without spending a fortune on his award-winning truffles. Chocolate and whisky actually go rather well together and Dalwhinnie Distillery do a tasting where they pair the two.
Stately Homes & Gardens in Perthshire
Perthshire has some wonderful stately homes to visit, the most famous being Scone Palace, the crowning place of Scottish Kings, including Macbeth and Robert the Bruce. It has an incredible history going back 1500 years to when it was the capital of the Picts and the palace is stuffed with artefacts. Another hugely popular castle to visit is Blair Castle, ancestral home of the Clan Murray and for over 7 centuries their chieftain the Duke of Atholl. The castle is very impressive and there is a 9 acre walled garden and a grove of tall & exotic conifers. It is a fun place for guests of all ages. Pitlochry next door has some quite good shops and plenty of places to eat. It is a great walking area and a lot of guests stop by for a snack or to buy some new walking boots. Branklyn Garden on the outskirts of Perth is a bit of a hidden gem and well worth a visit. It’s a 2 acre botanical garden and is a bit of an oasis with seeds planted from all over the world. Cluny House Gardens is another wee gem and the formal gardens at Drummond Castle are absolutely stunning and were featured in the Liam Neeson movie ‘Rob Roy’.
Alternatively, if you would prefer to actually stay in a stately home, click here to take a look at our very own Auchterarder house which is a country house you can rent in the Scottish Highlands.
Exploring the outdoors in Perthshire
Another reason Perthshire is a joy to visit is for the plethora of amazing walks it offers. You can walk along the side of a river, through a forest, up a glen or across moorland. Whatever takes your fancy! There are excellent maps to assist and some well laid out walks for guests who are walking close to towns like Auchterarder. The Hermitage National Forest, the Birks of Aberfeldy, Faskally Forest, Kinnoull Woodland Park, the Linn of Tummel, the Falls of Bruar and the Adblair Trail are just some that spring to mind. We can arrange guides, picnics or suggest pubs & inns to stop off at on your walks. There is also gorge walking and all sorts of water activity available like kayaking and white water rafting at Aberfeldy. This area is a joy for exploring the great outdoors and our drivers can drop you off at a myriad of locations and then collect you when you have finished. Sometimes a quick visit to the House of Bruar afterwards is a good place to stock up on goodies or to have a delicious slice of cake and some tea.
Villages & Towns of Perthshire
Perthshire has 6 main towns Pitlochry, Dunkeld, Aberfeldy, Blair Atholl, Kinloch Rannoch and Auchterarder and all offer a mass of exploring. The latter has the added advantage of being 5 minutes from Gleneagles Hotel, Spa and Resort which is one of the finest hotels in Europe and offers not only wonderful golf but a lot of other fantastic activities and a selection of amazing dining experiences. Perthshire has it all and is unsurprisingly one of the most popular counties in Scotland.