The Best Things to Do in Highland Perthshire

Visit Blair Castle in Perthshire, Scotland
Visit Blair Castle in Perthshire, Scotland | © David Gowans / Alamy Stock Photo
Photo of Alexander Crow
25 August 2020

Highland Perthshire is situated in the middle of Scotland and easily accessed from the bigger cities of Glasgow and Edinburgh. Rich in breath-taking sceneries and fun activities, Highland Perthshire offers you fairy-tale castles, wild safaris and a view fit for a queen. Enjoy the Scottish countryside at its finest with our list of the best things to do in Highland Perthshire.

Outdoor Activities

Sports Center
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From clay pigeon shooting to adrenaline-inducing canoeing, this area of Scotland is your go-to for exciting outdoor activities. Whether you want to go white water rafting, quad biking, tubing or paintballing, it is wise to book your chosen activity in advance, as the area tends to get very busy. Gather your group of friends, and experience your very own Highland games.

Wildlife Watching

Natural Feature
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Summer Morning, Loch of the Lowes, Scottish Borders
© Brownlow Brothers / Alamy Stock Photo

With its wealth of nature, Highland Perthshire is a paradise for wildlife fans and birdwatchers. You get a chance to spot deer, pine marten, otter and beaver. Bird species include the golden eagle, black grouse, raven, peregrine and osprey. One particular osprey named Lady raised 50 chicks at the Loch of the Lowes during 24 years. The area is also one of the best places to observe the native red squirrels, as they live in the woods that fill the glens and line the rivers and lochs.

Highland Safaris

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Although you won’t see any lions or elephants, highland safaris are still a real treat (and there is always a chance you might spot a Highland tiger, a Scottish wildcat). Book a Land Rover, a biking or a walking safari with an expert guide who will show you around (often wearing a kilt) and point out wildlife while telling you about the land’s culture and history. These award-winning safaris are an excellent way to learn about the area. To round up your visit, explore the Red Deer Centre, grab a bite at the cafe, and pan for gold.

The Queen’s View

Natural Feature
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The Queen?s View in Highland Perthshire overlooks Loch Tummel and is said to have been named after Queen Victoria,
© Mike Hesp / Alamy Stock Photo
Legend has it that, after her visit in 1866, Queen Victoria wrote in her diary that Queen’s View had been named after her, though she had not previously visited. However, there is also evidence that suggests the spot was named after Queen Isabella, the wife of Robert the Bruce. Whatever the origin of the name, the view along the loch and beyond the Schiehallion mountain is stunning. On a clear day, you can see as far as the mountains around Glencoe on the west coast of Scotland. There are also lovely walks in the local area and a tearoom that is open from April to October.

The Enchanted Forest

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Since 2002, Faskally Woods, near Pitlochry, has been hosting a remarkable sound-and-light experience each October, when the nights are drawing in and the trees are dazzling in their autumnal colour, even without the lights. Multi-award-winning, the woods really do transform into a faerie realm. No matter the weather, the experience is bound to be one you will remember for a very long time. If you plan to visit Highland Perthshire in October, then you must see the Enchanted Forest.


Architectural Landmark
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Great Britain, Scotland, Highlands, Pitlochry, people in Atholl Road
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Being the largest town in Highland Perthshire, Pitlochry is often used as a base to explore the wider region, but there is much to see and do in the town itself. Visit the Blair Athol whisky distillery, see a play at the Pitlochry Festival Theatre, marvel at the Pitlochry Dam and Fish Ladder, or visit the award-winning Iain Burnett Highland Chocolatier. Pitlochry is also well equipped with excellent places to eat, whether it’s for a light snack and cuppa at Hettie’s Tearoom or a delicious meal and a gin and tonic at Fern Cottage Restaurant. You are a booklover? Then, make sure to visit Pitlochry Station Bookshop, which is bursting with donated second-hand books, with many of them selling for about £1 and the profits going to charity.

Blair Castle

Architectural Landmark, Historical Landmark
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Like many Scottish castles, Blair Castle has been fought over and has swapped ownership many times. It has been the seat of the famous earls and dukes of Atholl as well as the ancestral home of the Murray clan. The oldest parts of Blair Castle date back to the 13th century, and the Battle of Killiecrankie was fought near here in the Killiecrankie Pass. While visiting, be sure to check out the magnificent gardens and the vast estate that surrounds the castle, which is ideal for walkers, climbers and mountain bikers. If you’re in the area on the last bank holiday weekend in May, visit the Atholl Gathering and Highland Games, hosted by the duke of Atholl. They are less commercial and more traditional than others, and a lot of fun!

The Aberfeldy Watermill

Architectural Landmark, Historical Landmark
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exterior of Old Watermill gallery bookshop Aberfeldy Perthshire Scotland  July 2009
© Stephen Finn / Alamy Stock Photo

Frequently counted among the best independent bookshops in the world, The Aberfeldy bookshop, gallery and cafe are perfect for a calm afternoon visit. Housed in a former oatmeal mill, the charming bookshop has everything from fiction to Scottish history and local interest. There is also an art gallery, with exhibitions displaying some of the best local talents as well as well-known artists. Be sure to also check out some of the delicious vegan and vegetarian options the cafe has to offer!

The Birks Cinema

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A local treasure in Aberfeldy, the restored art-deco Birks Cinema is one of the gems in the area. Set in the heart of the town, this independent single-screen cinema is a real joy for the locals. Showing a mix of the latest movies and some arthouse titles, the Birks will have something that catches your eye. In its cafe, the venue hosts a number of community-led activities throughout the week. If you get a chance, head down on a Thursday evening for one of their Celtic acoustic music sessions.

Dunkeld Cathedral

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Dunkeld Cathedral, Dunkeld, Perth and Kinross, Scotland, UK.. Image shot 2006. Exact date unknown.
© Derek Gale / Alamy Stock Photo

Set against a beautiful backdrop, Dunkeld Cathedral stands out as one of the historic hotspots in Highland Perthshire. With its origins dating back just over a 1000 years, the cathedral has a rich history. Architecture enthusiasts will enjoy the mix of Gothic and Norman stonework and appreciate the long time it took to build this place (nearly 250 years). The cathedral is a popular venue for weddings and houses some impressive artwork, with some of the paintings dating back to the 1500s.

Birnam Arts & Beatrix Potter Exhibition

Museum, Art Gallery
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The Birnam Arts & Beatrix Potter Exhibition is a perfect day out for the family. With its multi-purpose arts venue and monthly exhibitions, the arts centre is full of interesting finds from the area. One of the main attractions is the Beatrix Potter Exhibition and Garden. Although born in London, the famed children’s book author had an affinity for the area since her childhood. Chronicling her work and life in the area, the exhibit makes for a delightful afternoon for any fans of Peter Rabbit ­– both adults and children alike.

Additional reporting by Nicholas Grantham

These recommendations were updated on August 25, 2020 to keep your travel plans fresh.

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