There is no shortage of things to see and do in Pitlochry, whatever your interests may be. Your first port of call may well be the Pitlochry VisitScotland iCentre, which is amply stocked with information about the region, its heritage and the many things to do here. Pitlochry is a town famous for its links to the Victorian era, when Queen Victoria and Prince Albert visited the area in 1842 on their way to purchase their Highland estate at Balmoral. Today, it is a popular tourist resort which offers plenty of eye-catching walking destinations as well as its contributions to arts and culture.
The town has become especially well-known for Pitlochry Festival Theatre, a modern glass-fronted structure which offers a wide range of entertainment including live performances – in the summer, the theatre famously presents six plays in daily repertory which means that audiences have the opportunity to see six different plays over six consecutive nights. Pitlochry Festival Theatre is one of the most culturally important organisations in all of Perthshire, so checking their schedule of performances ahead of time, and booking tickets for events in advance, is highly advised.
Just behind the Festival Theatre is the Explorer’s Garden, where visitors can learn stories of the people who risked their lives to find new plants and trees for cultivation and conservation. Several workshops take place here, which include Scottish gin tasting, tea tasting, and ‘How to Grow a Himalayan Blue Poppy’. To find out how to participate, don’t forget to check availability and dates online.
There are many other interesting places to visit in Pitlochry. The town is home to Scotland’s oldest distillery, the Blair Atholl Distillery, and visitors can visit and take a guided tour as well as sampling the fine single malt on the premises. Whisky connoisseurs will also want to check out Edradour Distillery, while real ale enthusiasts may prefer a trip to the compact Moulin Brewery – situated only a short walk away from the railway station.
Pitlochry Hydroelectric Dam Visitor Centre showcases the rich history of hydroelectric power in the North of Scotland, and how it has transformed lives. The centre also features a ‘fish ladder’, where salmon can sometimes be seen making their way back upstream. Visitors also have the opportunity to visit the Wild Space Visitor Centre; operated by the John Muir Trust, this centre offers unique interpretative exhibitions and audio journeys, the Alan Reece Gallery, and a variety of books and other items for sale.
History devotees won’t want to miss a visit to the Atholl Palace Museum. Situated in the old servant’s quarters of Atholl Palace, this is a great place to learn more about Victorian history. The 19thcentury manor house itself has been converted into a hotel with a luxury spa and expansive gardens.
There are many walks and places of beauty to suit walkers and hikers at all levels of experience. Ben Vrackie, Queen’s View, the impressive waterfall at Black Spout Wood and Faskally Wood are all popular walking destinations. Other sightseeing locations in the area include Glen Tilt, Linn of Tummel, the Allean Forest, and Neolithic sites at Croft Moraig and the Pictish Dunfallandy Stone. Additionally, Pitlochry also features a peaceful and beautifully-maintained Memorial Garden surrounding the town’s War Memorial in honour of those who died defending their country in wartime. Walkers will want to note that the town is also at the far eastern end of the Rob Roy Way.
Arts and culture events taking place in Pitlochry include the town’s literary festival, the Winter Words Festival; the Enchanted Forest sound and light show; and Pitlochry Highland Nights – summer music and dance events organised by the Vale of Atholl Pipe Band. Please check with Tourist Information for details about times and dates for these events.
Looking for accommodation in or around Pitlochry? McKays Hotel, Bar and Restaurant is centrally located and a great place to stay and Blairchroisk Cottage is in a rural setting three miles from Pitlochry.