Explore the green city of Perth with its two Inches: the North Inch and South Inch are Perth’s two spacious parks, where you can take a leisurely stroll and marvel at the River Tay as it passes through the city. Then there’s the Perth Concert Hall and recently renovated Perth Theatre, plus the Black Watch Museum, an impressive array of restaurants and cafes, and a busy shopping area. Perth offers an extraordinary mix of the ancient and the modern; you won’t want to miss a visit to this vibrant, contemporary town which is full of surprises for the Heart 200 traveller.
Looking for a hotel in Perth? The Holiday Inn Express is right next door to the Concert Hall and a great place to stay if you want to be close to all the action.
The city of Perth has a long association with culture and the arts, and Perth Museum and Art Gallery in George Street presents a unique variety of exhibitions including art, natural history and archaeology, as well as temporary exhibitions on a wide range of different subjects. The museum showcases the very best of Perthshire’s long and fascinating history, and admission is free to the public. It is one of Britain’s oldest museums and has a collection of more than half a million artefacts of local, regional, national and international relevance. With its intriguing exhibits and captivating artwork, a trip to Perth Museum and Art Gallery presents the perfect opportunity to learn more about the people and the events that have shaped Perth into the city we know today.
This beautiful and tranquil garden is located just off Dundee Road, and set on the side of Kinnoull Hill with a striking view over the city. Only a short walk away from Perth city centre, the National Trust for Scotland’s two-acre garden area was founded in the 1920s by John and Dorothy Renton after they built their arts and crafts-inspired house nearby. The garden was first established with the use of rare seeds that had been gathered by plant hunters such as Frank Ludlow and George Forrest. One of the most beautiful hillside gardens in Scotland, the serene haven that we see today is testament to Dorothy Renton’s legendary gardening skills. Home to several National Collections of plants, Branklyn Garden is greatly admired by horticulturalists and is the ideal place to unwind in exquisite surroundings.
Opened in the summer of 2005, Perth Concert Hall has become one of the premier arts destinations in Scotland. A successor to Perth City Hall and conveniently located in the city’s Mill Street, Perth Concert Hall hosts a very wide range of stage performances and concerts as well as community events. At various times it has been host to performances of classical music, talks and lectures, musical theatre, ballet, opera, folk music and stand-up comedy. Advance booking is recommended. The building is also home to Threshold, a digital media arts space which has been the setting for some remarkable exhibitions of contemporary art. As well as the main 1200-seat Gannochy Auditorium, the concert hall also features a number of other meeting rooms and conference spaces including the Norie-Miller Suite (which has capacity for 120 people). Visitors to Perth Concert Hall can also visit the Glassrooms Café, which offers menus for different times of day (including pre-show meals).
Built on Perth’s Hay Street in the 17thcentury (though prior construction on the site dates back even further, to the 12thcentury), Balhousie Castle was the seat of the Earls of Kinnoull and overlooks the city’s North Inch. Comprehensively remodelled by architect David Smart in the 1860s, the building was purchased by the Regimental Trustees of the Black Watch in 2009, and from that date onwards it has functioned as the Regimental Headquarters of the Black Watch as well as the Regimental Museum and Archive. Now a five-star visitor attraction, the public are invited to view the story of this illustrious regiment through a series of exhibitions, historical artefacts and interactive displays, incorporating many first-hand accounts of army life throughout the centuries. The museum also features a gift shop and the Castle Café.
One of Scotland’s most popular visitor attractions, Perth Leisure Pool on Glasgow Road was first opened in July 1988, and features no less than five swimming pools – including aquatic features such as flumes, bubble beds and a separate children’s lagoon – as well as numerous other facilities including a health spa, sauna, fitness gym, crèche, and an outdoor playing area for children. The conveniently situated Café Aqua is also on site. Additionally, Perth Leisure Pool is a well-used venue for children’s birthday parties.
History aficionados will be keen to visit this international, multicultural and ecumenical monastery, which is still a working place of worship and service today. The listed building is an admirable example of the 19thcentury Neo-Gothic Revival, and its fine architecture has attracted visitors from far and wide. Completed in 1868, the monastery has had a long history as a place of training and retreat, and even today offers its visitors a period of rest and relaxation. Discover the remarkable story of Our Lady’s Well on the grounds, and find out more about local community services and St Mary’s diverse programme of courses.
Opening on Perth High Street in 1900, Perth Theatre has been renovated and expanded many times in its history. Over the years it has been the venue for countless stage dramas, musicals, revues, pantomimes and variety shows, and the theatre has featured performances by some of the great luminaries of the acting world such as Donald Sutherland, Ewan McGregor, Edward Woodward and Alec Guinness. Since 1966 the theatre has been home to the celebrated Perth Youth Theatre. Reopened in 2017 after a wide-ranging programme of redevelopment, the building now features a new entrance from the city’s Mill Street to mark the restoration of the Edwardian Auditorium. The building also offers a 200-seat studio theatre in the courtyard style, spaces for creative learning activities, and dedicated community areas.
Popularised by Sir Walter Scott’s novel The Fair Maid of Perth, the Fair Maid’s House at North Port is thought to be the oldest surviving secular building in the city, and is now home to the Royal Scottish Geographical Society visitor and education centre focusing on the fascinating subject of earth sciences. Visitors can learn about continental formation, environmental variations and cartography, amongst many other topics, with informative exhibitions and interactive presentations. Sightseers are recommended to check the centre’s opening times ahead of their visit, to make sure that access will be available during their stay in Perth.
Situated on the east side of the River Tay, close to the city centre, Norie-Miller Park is an amazing attraction where natural beauty and artwork come to life. Named after famous Perth figure Sir Stanley Norie-Miller (son of the similarly-eminent Sir Francis Norie-Miller), this beautiful park is a popular venue for walks thanks to its combination of the beautifully maintained Rodney Gardens and a unique art trail featuring sculptures from artists such as David Wilson, Kenny Munro and Phil Johnson which tells the story of Perth through the accomplishments of its people. The park has also been popularised thanks to its seasonal ‘Light Nights’, where the riverside walk is enhanced by beautiful artificial lighting in the evenings for the perfect romantic stroll.
Not to be confused with Edinburgh’s Greyfriars Kirkyard (now immortalised due to the fame of a certain Greyfriars Bobby), Greyfriars Burial Ground in Perth’s Tay Street contains the final resting place of many honoured people from the city’s long and illustrious history. A cemetery since the 16thcentury, the peaceful grounds are now also a biodiversity bank with wildflowers, butterflies and other insects making their home on the premises. Follow the footpaths to discover the sights of the famous Buchan Stone, the weeping lady of the Kennedy Monument, and the remarkable 1782 Adam and Eve Stone.
Outdoors enthusiasts will be keen to visit Perth’s two Inches; famous green spaces at the heart of the city. The North Inch is the larger of the Inches, and has an area of around 54 hectares. It is situated between the Bell Sports Centre, the River Tay and a nearby residential zone. Often used for outdoor events such as festivals, the park includes sporting facilities and a children’s play area as well as a number of memorial statues. The South Inch is a smaller park at approximately 31 hectares. It can be found between Perth railway station (a short walk away) and the River Tay. Like its larger counterpart, it is used to host outdoor events, and also features a skate park and sports pitches as well as a play park for younger visitors and a scenic pond.
Just to the west of Perth, and formerly known as the Palace of Ruthven, Huntingtower Castle is a 14thcentury castle which has been restored and renovated over the centuries. The building has a long and colourful history, including times where it housed inhabitants who were accused of royal kidnap; was a destination of Mary Queen of Scots during her honeymoon with Lord Darnley; became the home of the 1stDuke of Atholl in the 18thcentury; and its modern-day role as a family home until 2002. Today, Huntingtower Castle is in the care of Historic Scotland, which invites visitors to view the Eastern Tower’s wonderful 16thcentury ceiling paintings (thought to be one of the earliest examples of its kind to survive in Scotland), learn about the various periods of restructuring that the castle has undergone, and discover the numerous entertaining legends associated with the building over the centuries.
For visitors wanting to stretch their legs and take an energetic walk, the trip up Kinnoull Hill will afford great views looking down onto the city as well as the River Tay stretching out to the east as the estuary widens on its way to Dundee and the North Sea beyond.
If you want to experience Scottish Premiership football, then a visit to McDiarmid Park to watch St Johnstone could be on your itinerary. Or, if you want to be in the action, rather than watching it, the Perth parkrun on a Saturday morning or Perth junior parkrun on Sunday morning might be just what you’re looking for. Any parkrun tourists out there?
If watersports and adventure activities are what you are looking for, then head over to the Willowgate Activity Centre on the River Tay, just downstream from Perth.
Elcho Castle, four miles south east of Perth, is a remarkably well preserved 16thcentury castle at Rhynd on the banks of the River Tay. Boasting three soaring towers, this fortified mansion house (which once belonged to the Wemyss Family) is a must-see destination; visitors can explore its interior and take in the astonishing views from its upper levels. Elcho Castle has also become well-known for its expansive orchard, which contains many traditional varieties of fruit. The castle provides a matchless chance to learn more about the lives of the Perthshire gentry in the late 16thcentury; the interior retains a number of authentic period features including decorated plasterwork. A visit is highly recommended, though it is advisable to call ahead in order to check that the site is open as it may be closed at short notice at times of harsh weather conditions.