The heritage of Perth is easy to trace owing to the number of interesting historical sites within walking distance of each other.
Its position on the River Tay ensured that Perth became a busy trading port which still has a bustling harbour, the only inland harbour in Britain. In years gone by, salmon and wool were major exports from Perth, while claret was imported from Bordeaux in France. Between the High Street and South Street is St John's Kirk, still standing on its original site. It was founded in 1126, though most of the present church dates from the 15th century. In 1559 firebrand preacher John Knox gave one of his trademark sermons, inspiring the good folk of Perth to destroy the local monasteries. The church gave the town its original name of 'St John's town', a name upheld in the local football team, St Johnstone.
Local Sights & Activities for Perth
A few minutes' walk north, on North Port, is the Fair Maid's House, the fictional home of Sir Walter Scott's virginal heroine in his novel, The Fair Maid of Perth. The novel was set in the 14th century, at the time of the Battle of the Clans which took place on the North Inch, just to the north, across Charlotte Street. Close by, at the corner of Charlotte Street and George Street, is the Museum and Art Gallery,T01738-632488, Mon-Sat 1000-1700, free, with displays on local history, art, archaeology, natural history and whisky.
In the 18th century the world-famous Black Watch regiment was raised in Perth, and the Black Watch Museum Hay St, T0131-3108530, May-Sep Mon-Sat 1000-1630, Oct-Apr Mon-Fri 1000-1530, free, housed in the 15th-century Balhousie Castle, is well worth a visit even to the most un-military minded. The museum is on the edge of the North Inch, to the north of the town centre. It's also worth perusing the work of the renowned Scottish colourist, John Duncan Fergusson, within the Fergusson GalleryT01738-441944, Mon-Sat 1000-1700, free, former site of Perth's waterworks.
May-Sep Mon-Sat 1000-1630, closed last Sat in Jun; Oct-Apr Mon-Fri 1000-1530. Free. Tel. 0131-310 8530. Back in the town centre, in West Mill Street is Lower City Mills (also home to the tourist office), a restored and working 19th-century oatmeal mill powered by a huge water wheel (closed to visitors at the time of writing).
Perth's other museum contains the excellent Fergusson Gallery, a display of works by the renowned Scottish colourist, John Duncan Fergusson. The gallery is found at the south end of Tay Street, near South Inch, in a splendid neo-classical building which was once Perth's waterworks. Mon-Sat 1000-1700. Free. TEl:441944.
Those with souvenirs to buy may be interested in a visit to the Caithness Glass factory, on Inveralmond Industrial Estate, two miles north of the town centre on the A9, where you can also watch the glass-blowing process. Easter-Oct Mon-Sat 0900-1700, Sun 1000-1700; Nov-Mar Mon-Sat 0900-1700, Sun 1200-1700. Free. TEl:492320.
For those with more horticultural leanings, Branklyn Garden, at 116 Dundee Road, T01738-625535 (NTS), 1 Apr-Oct daily 1000-1700, £5, £4 concession, has been described as "the finest two acres of private garden in the country". With an impressive collection of rare and unusual plants, it includes superb examples of Himalayan poppies. Well worth a visit at any time of year, many of the plants grown there are on sale in the shop.
Things To Do in Perth in Scotland
A short list of things to do in Perth, once Scotland's capital city and now a pleasant provincial city. The Fair City' of Perth is aptly named. Situated on the banks of Scotland's longest river, the River Tay, Perth and its surrounding area boasts some of the most beautiful scenery in the country. Perth was once the capital of Scotland, and there are many interesting sights to visit (most of which are free). The jewel in Perth's crown, though, is undoubtedly Scone (pronounced 'scoon') Palace, on the outskirts of town. Scone was the home of the Stone of Destiny for nearly 500 years, and the site where every Scottish king was crowned.
The town makes a convenient and very pleasant base for exploring this beautiful Highland region. There are many colourful parks and historic buildings, excellent shopping opportunities and plenty of places to eat, drink and relax. Perth also has a proliferation of leisure and sporting facilities – and not many towns can boast a golf course on an island in the middle of a river.
Day Walking Tours of Perth (new in 2010) - Walking tours in full costume and makeup that explore the history and background to the city. Fun as well as informative.
Also see things to do in Perthshire.
For sports and leisure, Perth takes a bit of beating. Four sports centres in the city ensure there's no excuse for 'couch-potato' inactivity. Perth Leisure Pool, Tel. 492410, open daily 1000-2200, west of the town centre on the Glasgow Rd, claims to have the best leisure swimming pool in Scotland. Next door is Dewar's Rinks, Tel. 624188, where the visitor can curl, ice skate or bowl. Bell's Sports Centre, on Hay Street, Tel. 622301, open daily 0900-2200, covers virtually every sport and leisure activity imaginable.
Perth Theatre, 185 High St, Tel. 621031, is a beautiful Victorian-era theatre with an excellent reputation for high-class productions. The Playhouse cinema at 6 Murray St, Tel. 623126, offers a dose of escapism on the big screen.
For the younger (and young at heart) traveller, there are 2 nightclubs in Perth: Curly Lloyd's at 40-48 Canal St, Tel. 630503; and the Ice Factory at 6 Shore Rd, Tel. 630011.
The Perth Highland Games are held on the second Sun in Aug, Tel. 627782, on the same weekend as the Perth Show, which takes place on South Inch. There are also regular jump racing events during the summer at Perth Racecourse, near Scone Palace, Tel. 551597.
Game and Course Fishing
Scotland is famed for its superb fishing and Perth has more than its fair share of game and course fishing facilities. Too many, in fact, to detail here, so we'll mention just one, which is recommended: the Sandyknowes fly-fishery at Bridge of Earn, Tel. 813033, a few miles southeast of Perth. Located between the rivers Earn and Tay, there are facilities for the novice, right up to the most experienced angler with great fishing in a beautiful landscape. The season runs from Mar-Dec. Details of all the Perthshire fisheries are available from the Tourist Information Centre at West Mill Street.
Another sport Scotland is renowned for is golf, and Perth is particularly worthy of mention in this respect as it has a golf course in the middle of the River Tay! Moncrieff Island is worth playing a round on, if only to be able to tell your friends that the golfers don't shout 'fore' on this course, they shout 'ahoy there!' Details from the Tourist Information Centre, or contact King James VI Golf Club, Tel. 625170.
Walking, cycling and skiing
Perth is also well-placed for other outdoor activities such as walking, cycling and skiing. Glenshee ski centre is on the A93 north of Blairgowrie and is easily reached from Perth. The tourist office can provide suggested cycle routes, and stocks the Cycle Routes in Highland Perthshire booklet. For walkers, a recommended guidebook is Perthshire, Angus and Fife Walks, which details 28 routes.
Perth Hotels & Accommodation
There are numerous places to stay in and around Perth. Pick of the bunch is the Ballathie House Hotel, at Kinclaven, near Stanley, 2 miles north of Perth, just off the A9, Tel. 01250-883268, 43 rooms. This elegant, award-winning 19th-century former hunting lodge has a reputation for superb Scottish cuisine (expensive). Late Rooms Availability for Ballathie House Hotel in Stanley, near Perth
One of Scotland’s traditional romantic country house Hotels In Perthshire, 1 mile west of Perth off the A85 to Crieff, with 34 rooms. Elegant country house hotel in its own landscaped gardens, good food in the dining room and bar meals in the conservatory.more details about Huntingtower Hotel
Next to the train station, on Leonard St, is the Quality Station Hotel, Tel. 624141, 70 rooms. A grand old Victorian edifice close to the town centre. Late Rooms Availability for Quality Hotel Perth City Centre.
Sunbank House Hotel, 50 Dundee Rd, Tel. 624882, Fax. 442515. 9 rooms. A lovely little hotel overlooking the River Tay and close to Branklyn Garden and Kinnoull Hill, great value. Late Rooms Availability for Sunbank House Hotel in Perth
Highly recommended is the Parklands on the edge of town. Late Rooms Availability for Parklands Hotel in Perth
A good value central 3 star hotel is the Salutation Hotel Late Rooms Availability for Salutation Hotel in Perth
About 6 miles from Perth is the 19th century Newton House Hotel check for Late Rooms Availability for Newton House Hotel near Perth
located in Perth, Our team are committed to the highest standards of modern hospitality in classical yet contemporary, softly elegant and very relaxing surroundings. more details about The New County
B & Bs
5 Cottages in the grounds of Fingask Castle in Highland Perthshire
more details about Fingask Castle Cottages