We've pulled together some great day trip suggestions in Perthshire. They'll bring historic tales to life, film locations into reality, let you adventure in wide open spaces amongst amazing scenery and wildlife, and savour local food and drink!
Check directly with the businesses before visiting on their reopening date, and look out for the Good to Go scheme logo, which shows which businesses have carried out a Covid-19 risk assessment.
The River Tay Public Art Trail
Combine art, history and nature as you follow the River Tay Public Art Trail in Perth. The River Tay flows through the centre of the city and is the longest river in Scotland. There are 22 intriguing sculptures which sit alongside each bank of the river - each with its own story to tell of both the city and the river.
The trail can be enjoyed at your own pace but will take roughly around an hour, and you don’t need to follow the map in numerical order.
- Look out for ‘The Dance Within’ a symbolic totem pole to “celebrate the rhythm of life itself” and the ‘Thocht Stane’ (that’s Scot’s for thought) which sits in a secluded corner of the trail to invite quiet contemplation
- Meet the ‘Fair Maid of Perth’ inspired by the novel by Sir Walter Scott
- See if the kids can spot the ten stone carvings along the wall of Tay Street, that represent the richness of Perthshire’s landscape. Who will spot the potato first?
- Meander through the Riverside Park Heather Garden - a unique collection of heathers and heaths
Follow The River Tay Public Art Trail and enjoy Perth’s stunning open green spaces in the North and South Inch parks.
Lady Mary’s Walk, Crieff
This beautiful walk along the banks of the River Earn in Crieff was named after Lady Mary Murray, whose family were local landowners. It is beautiful all year round with beech, sweet chestnut and oak trees providing a stunning canopy. Some of the trees are over 150 years old. Look out for wildlife along the way. It’s also been upgraded to make it accessible to wheelchairs and prams so is perfect for all ages.
Did you know?
- The local outlaw (or hero, depending on your point of view) Rob Roy often visited Crieff to sell his cattle and once sang Jacobite songs in Crieff’s town square
- Bonnie Prince Charlie inspected his troops on what is now Crieff Golf Course
- In the 19th century Crieff became a very fashionable country retreat and in 1868 Crieff Hydropathic Establishment opened, which is now the popular Crieff Hydro Hotel
- Campbell’s Local Bakery is thought to be one of the oldest in Scotland – they celebrate being 190 years old this year and do a mean strawberry tart using local berries
Find out more about Lady Mary’s Walk.
Dunkeld House Tree Trail
The Dunkeld House Tree Trail celebrates the tree heritage of the Dunkeld House Estate. The estate sits at the heart of Perthshire Big Tree Country - an area packed with one of the densest concentrations of remarkable trees anywhere in Europe! Delight in the wonderful woodlands of the estate through the stories of 18 remarkable trees that grow there.
Did you know?
- Dunkeld House was once the home of the ‘Planting Dukes’ of Atholl, who changed Perthshire forever in the 18th century. More naturalistic garden styles were in vogue in this period, and by the late 19th century, having a Giant Redwood in your grounds was the equivalent of having a supercar parked on the drive today! Friendly rivalries often flared up as landowner neighbours competed to have bigger and better collections of unusual trees
- Dunkeld House Estate is a member of the National Tree Collections of Scotland, an initiative that brings together some of the finest tree collections in the country. These landscapes are an important part of our cultural heritage – they have helped to shape and influence Scotland’s cultural landscape
- You can appreciate the beautiful vision of the dukes and also learn how these woods are taking on a new role for the future
Whether it is the trees that bring you here, the river, the birds, or the red squirrels, the grounds are yours to explore!
Venture on the Dunkeld House Tree Trail.
Sustrans cycling routes
If you’ve joined the lockdown cycling revolution, then the Lochs & Glens North route is definitely one to try! Its sections stretch between Glasgow and Inverness, passing through the heart of Perthshire en route.
It’s a good one to complete in sections and enjoy at a leisurely pace to ensure you don’t miss any points of interest. How far you go is up to you!
Did you know?
- You can join the route in Perthshire on the southern shores of magical Loch Tay, which then leads through stunning Highland Perthshire countryside to the pretty towns and villages of Kenmore, Aberfeldy and Pitlochry
- Perthshire has an abundance of wildlife, so you might be lucky enough to spot deer, red squirrels, osprey and golden eagles too!
House of Bruar Food Hall
The prefect place to stock up on goodies to indulge at home or enjoy on a picnic, The House of Bruar Food Hall boasts a butchery, delicatessen, bakery, confectionery and a drinks cabinet with an impressive range so you can savour an authentic taste of rural Scotland. You can treat yourself to all kinds of quality produce from craft beers and whiskies, cured meats, award-winning pies and smoked salmon, through to sweet treats and items for your cupboard.
Did you know?
- As the ‘Home of Scotland's Natural Larder’, The House of Bruar Food Hall prides itself on stocking only the best of the best, with an emphasis on traditional, natural produce that is fresh, full of flavour and locally sourced from suppliers that they know and trust
- If you don’t feel like making the trip yourself, they will deliver your goodies to your door! They have an impressive selection that can be shopped online, divided into clear categories for easy browsing, with next-day delivery to ensure maximum freshness
- If you’d like to treat someone else, their luxury hamper and gift box range provides a selection of fine Scottish fare for a range of budgets, from the lush extravagance of a Banquet Hamper or Celebration Hamper, to the more modest touch of luxury with a Champagne and Truffles Gift Box
The Cateran Ecomuseum
If you’re keen to discover some incredible Scottish history out with the confines of your own home then try this unique ‘museum without walls’, set in the beautiful and dramatic landscape of Cateran Country. Close to both Perth and Dundee, Cateran Ecomuseum traverses Perthshire, Angus and the southern edge of the Cairngorms National Park. It encompasses millions of years of geological history and thousands of years of human history!
All their sites are outside, and discovery routes have been specifically designed for either walking, cycling or driving, with many unique sites for you to discover. Freely available information about the routes and sites can be found on their website.
Did you know?
- Ecomuseums originated in the 1970s in France and there are around 300 in the world, however, the only other one in Scotland can be found on the Isle of Skye
- Amongst the stunning countryside views, you can discover incredible natural and built heritage here, from Bronze Age and Pictish sites, small kirks and ruined abbeys to rock formations that are 400 million years old and landscape features shaped during the Ice Age
Blair Castle & Gardens
Set in the lush green landscapes of Blair Atholl, Blair Castle & Gardens has been the ancient seat of the Dukes and Earls of Atholl for 19 generations. This unique Scottish castle has survived through many historic periods, including civil war and the turbulent Jacobite era.
Head inside and marvel at the intricate collections of furniture, arms, china, lace and portraits which you can find throughout the castle. Wander through the gardens and grounds surrounding the castle to explore the nine-acre walled garden, the extensive wooded grove, a ruined kirk, a red deer park and a gothic folly. Make sure you stop by the Hercules Garden and Diana’s Grove along the way too.
Did you know?
- The castle is home to Europe's last remaining private army, the Atholl Highlanders
- The castle walls have seen many a famous Scot; including Bonnie Prince Charlie and Mary Queen of Scots
- You can follow the Sculpture Trail, which includes a mixture of contemporary and 18th century sculpture, through the castle gardens and grounds. Follow the map and find out more
Visit Blair Castle & Gardens.
Highland Safaris & Loch Tay Safaris
Based just outside Aberfeldy, the award-winning Highland Safaris has over 25 years’ experience in offering visitors incredible journeys of discovery in unforgettable Highland Perthshire landscape. Hop aboard your trusty Land Rover, armed with binoculars and cameras to head out into some of the most magnificent parts of the region, steeped in history, culture, wildlife and more for you to enjoy.
Aside from Land Rover trips, you can also explore the depths of Loch Tay with safari boat trips. Skim across the water and explore one of the regions’ largest lochs – keeping an eye out for wildlife, fish, birdlife and more along the way.
Did you know?
- There are a range of Highland Safaris to choose from, including mountain, forest, private charter, biking, walking, seasonal and more
- Fourteen-mile long Loch Tay is one of Scotland’s deepest lochs, stretching to 150m at its deepest point
- You will pass by an old Kelpie Lair on the boat trip, as well as seeing up close a remarkable reconstruction of a Scottish crannog at the Scottish Crannog Centre
Explore Highland Safaris.
PLAN FOR LATER
These ideas are for attractions and activities which are not yet open, but will let you start planning where else you’re going to go (and who you want to take with you!).
You can find out more about the current Covid-19 Phase 3 restrictions and future phases.
Perth Museum & Art Gallery
Head to one of the UK’s oldest purpose-built museums and uncover more than half a million objects and their Recognised Collections of National Significance. Bring home learning to life!
Did you know?
- The museum is housed in a monument – The Marshall Monument
- You’ll find a meteorite, an Egyptian Mummy named Ta-Kr-Hb and the story of ‘Mrs Ballantyne’s Salmon’, which is not just a fishy tale
- Perth has exciting plans for the redevelopment of Perth City Hall which will create a cultural and heritage attraction in the centre of the city. Make sure you add to your bucket list when it opens from 2021
Plan your trip to the Perth Museum & Art Gallery.
Drummond Castle Garden
Drummond Castle Garden, just outside Crieff, is one of Europe’s and Scotland’s most important and impressive formal gardens. Visit this starring location that featured in the 1995 Holywood movie Rob Roy starring Liam Neeson, Jessica Lange and John Hurt. The gardens also featured as the Palace of Versailles in the TV series Outlander, based on Diana Gabaldon’s novels that were inspired by Scotland and its history.
Did you know?
- In the 17th century, John Reid one of the gardeners who was employed on the estate wrote The Scots Gard’ner, the first Scottish gardening book published in 1683
- Lord Drummond send cherries from the garden to James IV in 1508, when the monarch was hunting in nearby Glen Artney forest
- Queen Victoria and Prince Albert visited Drummond Castle in 1842
If you're looking for garden design inspiration or a tranquil spot to enjoy the outdoors in a perfect setting, then look no further.
Visit Drummond Castle Gardens.
Make a splash with Perthshire Adventure Activities
Now that we can get back outdoors, it’s a great chance to try out that adrenaline pumping activity you’ve been wanting to try for ages! Perthshire is known as ‘Big Tree Country’ but that also means there are lots of woodland spots, rushing rivers, gorges and more that are ideal for some outdoor adventures that the whole family can enjoy!
There are lots of activity options to consider and many companies that will help in giving you the best experience possible, so why not consider…
- Beyond Adventure for some paddle boarding
- Free Spirits, Grandtully to try out bungee jumping, canyoning, cliff jumping, or hire a boat and explore the beauty of Loch Tay
- Nae Limits which offer coasteering, raft-building, go-karting, mountain biking, and extreme canyoning
- Outdoor Explore to try out night kayaking
- Paddle Surf Scotland to get your surf on
- Splash, Aberfeldy where you can go canyoning, kayaking, abseiling
- Wee Adventures, for some family-friendly activities, canoeing, climbing, abseiling, tree climbing, slacklining, mountain biking, bush craft or forest play adventures- what a choice!
- Willowgate Activity Centre for some refreshing wild swimming
Where will you go on your first trip beyond your own doorstep? Share your ideas and fascinating facts on Perthshire in our iKnow Community or on social media.
With so many places to visit across Scotland, will you head to one of your favourites or try somewhere new to tick off the bucket list? Check out our other articles for more ideas for your first (second, third and fourth…) trip within Scotland.