Scotland, O Scotland. This is the land of breathtaking views and fascinating people. Scotland’s trick for me was “the less you expect, the harder it hits you.” I’ve known little about what majestic views await me in this diverse land. Every tourist visiting this part of the United Kingdom is welcome to visit one of the most picturesque counties in Perthshire Scotland.
Perthshire is the fourth biggest country in Scotland, located at the heart of the country. The land combines the beauty of vast straths with the mountainous landscape of the Highlands. In Perthshire, you can enjoy the local art, culture, nature, and historical places. Fans of Harry Potter can visit the beloved views of J.K.Rowling that serve as an inspiration for the Harry Potter series.
Initially, I knew little of what to expect from Scotland. My entire image of the country was Loch Ness Monster and a few historical castles. But I didn’t expect that all the surrounding views would be so refreshing and inspiring. And that is why I’m sure I’ll be coming back to view even more counties.
For my initial visit, I was lucky to get to the heart of Scotland, Perthshire. If you plan a visit but haven’t come up with an itinerary yet, be sure to include the following places and activities on your list!
Enjoy Active Fun at Willowgate Activity Centre
The Willowgate Activity Centre is located south of Perth City on the shore of River Tay. The Centre offers a vast range of entertainment and activities in the area. You can simply come to the Centre and ask for available tours and activities that day. Though, if you are anything like me and enjoy planning everything beforehand, you’ll benefit significantly from its website.
Among the most exciting activities offered are kayaking & canoeing, archery, and paddleboarding. If you have enough free time, you can even stop for a session of outdoor education
Overall, you can rent a bike and view the local scenery on your own. The Centre has a small cafe, be sure to buy water from the ride and return for a bite at some point. Here’s the official website where you can see activity schedules and duration.
Feel Like Royalty at Scone Palace
The Scone Palace is an ancient crowning place for Kings and Queens of Scots. The famous Stone of Destiny (Stone of Scone) was also held there. Later, the stone was relocated to England but returned to the Crown Room of Edinghbour Castle. Throughout the centuries, it was used for coronations of the monarchs of Scotland, England, and the United Kingdom. It was meant to be relocated to Perth City Hall, though I’m not sure whether it’s done yet.
Today, Scone Palace offers a variety of guided tours through the grounds and gardens. The combined entry fee for adults is 20, 10 for children. In addition to the historical exhibitions inside the palace, you can enjoy one unique, thrilling experience – falconry.
For me, it was one of the most impressive performances. You get to interact with the bird and watch just how brilliant and well-trained it is. Highly recommend it! Here’s the website.
Meet the Locals at Kenmore
Kenmore is a small village located near Loch Tay. The town is a jewel of Scottish heritage. This is a must-see among all the places to visit in Perthshire Scotland. It is located mere two hours from Edignghour but transports you into a Scotland of old.
It may be a small village, but the tourists find here quite a lot of attractions and activities, not to mention the hospitable local population that will tell you fascinating stories about the history of the town and their personal heritage. And you’ll try here the best afternoon tea Perthshire talks! Then, you can compare the local stories with the historical archives and exhibits hosted by Scottish Crannog Centre that depict the local heritage as old as 2500 years ago.
The location also offers the “Best Visitor Experience” in Scotland due to the proximity of Highland Safari and Red Deer Center, just minutes away from Kenmor’s center. I highly recommend enjoying a Land Rover Safari to explore the local scenery. For a cheaper experience, rent a bike!
The village is built on the shores of River Tay. And though it is too cold for regular swimming, you can get a bit of a thrilling adrenaline rush by rafting Grade 2 and 3 rapids.
Take an Atmospheric Photo of Dunkeld Cathedral
This Cathedral is a place of worship and historical heritage. But it is also known as one of the most romantic cathedrals in the country. With over a century of fascinating history, you can wander through a place raided by Vikings, visited by Kings, and simply created by the masters of the trade.
Nearby, you can also visit The Hermitage and Escape Route. They are among the best things to do in Perthshire Scotland as well!
The inner courtyard looks like something that could be located in Hogwarts! And that is the closest to the “truth” you can find. Because the Castle is meant to be located in Scottish Highlands! Speaking of which…
Ride by Rowling’s Perthshire Estate
If you are a huge fan of Harry Potter, just like I am, you’ll be delighted to know that J.K.Rowling lives in the county alongside the River Tay banks. She bought the Killiechassie estate bak in 2001 and was probably inspired by the local views for her later books.
Note, I do not encourage you to break in or trespass on the grounds! But, as you come to enjoy the stay at Aberfeldy, which is a treat on its own, rent a bike and ride a bit north-west from the town along the river to reach the views that inspire J.K.Rowling!
View a Performance at Pitlochry Festival Theatre
The Theatre is the center of arts and performances in the county. It strives to foster creativity and cultivate the local culture into art accessible for all. This is one of the reasons to visit Perthshire in August – September – the Theatre creates six unique shows each summer. In September, you can see all of them in one week. And, considering that most attractions of the county are located along the River Tay, you can catch at least a couple of them easily!
This “Theatre in the Hills” is more than your standard stuffy room; its gardens become crowded by the fascinating characters, music, and cheerful mood!
Enjoy Whiskey at Blair Athol Distillery
If you are a whiskey connoisseur, be sure to devote one evening to the delectable tastings of the finest whiskey in the county. By coincidence or not, it’s also located in Pitlochry. So, you can combine these two things to do in Perthshire into one cheerful and relaxing weekend! Whiskey drawn straight from the cask? That’s a decent tour!
Though I’m not a fan of strong spirits, the local whiskey was among the best I’ve ever tried!!
Just as I’ve visited the best wineries in Paso Robles (you can find the article here), I couldn’t miss the opportunity to taste the best whiskey in Scotland.
Enjoy the Gardens of Drummond Castle
Arguably the best gardens in whole Scotland await you in Perthshire (And don’t argue with me! I like them best).
Even Queen Victoria planted a tree in this Garden in 1842. It’s a copper beech that you can find on the grounds. Ask the local keepers where it grows.
A very popular stop in the Garden is the multi-faceted sundial created by the personal mason of Charles I!
The location looks like it came straight from a fairy tale or an old novel, especially dressed in autumn colors. The best time for a visit is October! But the chilly September may be less rainy.
Of course, the location also offers a breathtaking castle, not only the gardens are worthy.
Notable mentions: Strathearn Distillery, Bell’s Sports Centre, Fonab Castle Hotel & Spa, Perthshire’s Fortingall Yew Tree – the oldest in Britain, Loch Tay, Loch Lubnaig, Faerie Hollow, Glenshee – the magical Glenn of Fairies.
These are all the most popular locations in Perthshire. I’ve only missed a few Lochs from the “notable mentions” list and would like to visit the county once more to see even more natural wonders and, possibly, venture further into Scotland in search of the picturesque glens, mountains, and lochs!
I highly recommend a trip to Perthshire for anybody planning to visit Great Britain. Besides, it is located a mere hour away from the major Scottish cities of Edinburgh and Glasgow.