I’m just back from holiday in the heart of Scotland. Perthshire is an incredibly beautiful part of the world, with so much to do that I think we’re going to have to make a return trip. If you’re off to Perthshire soon, here are a few places to visit and activities that get a big Opposable Thumbs UP.
- Check out THE TREES
Perthshire is known for really, really big trees. Yes you can do a bit of mountain walking if that’s your thing, but it’s really more of a place for forest walks and tree climbing. And it doesn’t matter if it rains a bit because you will be nice and snug on the forest floor.
- Visit The Devil’s Cauldron
Essentially, this is a waterfall with a really cool name and story behind it. Take the gently sloping walk up from the Perthshire village of Comrie and you’ll first arrive at the Wee Cauldron (a smaller waterfall and not a container full of pee). Further on, you’ll come to the broiling waters of Deil’s Cauldron, which means Devil’s Kettle. Legend has it that this was the favourite haunt of a water elf called Uris-chidh who enticed victims down into the large kettle-shaped pothole and waterfall below. So enjoy the view but watch yerself.
- Visit the oldest living thing in Europe (possibly the world)
It’s incredible to think that this delicate yew tree, nestling in the corner of a churchyard could actually be the oldest living thing in Europe and possibly the world. The Fortingall Yew’s age is estimated at anywhere from 2,000 to 9,000 years old. Legend has it that Pontius Pilate was born in its shade and played in its branches as a child. Whether that’s true or not, there’s no doubt that this tree has seen some action over the years. A few years ago it was found to be changing sex from male to female, when it started producing berries. It’s now protected by a walled enclosure but you can still reach in and touch the branches. It’s pretty magical.
- A day out at Scone Palace
Part stately home, part historic monument, part park. I’ll be honest and say that it was my family who were gunning to visit this place. I thought it was going to be boring and only really agreed to go for the comedy value of having a scone in the Scone cafe. But it turned out to be great, with something for everyone in the vast grounds. If an adventure playground, historical artifacts, tame peacocks, a maze, the Stone of Destiny and royal palaces are your thing then I think you’ll enjoy this very much. The scones are nice too.
- Stirling Castle & Battle of Bannockburn
Nip over the border into the next county, Stirlingshire, to find these two centres of Scottish history. Stirling Castle is a beautifully preserved building, full of ornamental unicorns and ~even rarer~ a cafe optimistically offering £7.50 sausage rolls. The Battle of Bannockburn Centre has gone all out to modernise the appeal of ancient Scottish battles by recreating one as a 3D interactive video game. If you want to trick your younglings into learning more about history then this is the place to take them.
The only down side I would say is that the food in Perthshire was variable to say the least. Mostly it was great, sometimes it was bad, and at other times it was just plain deranged. Witness the evidence:
I rest my case.
Have you been to Scotland recently? Where do you recommend to visit in Perthshire or beyond?