Top 10 Tourist Attractions in Perth, Scotland: A Comprehensive Guide (2024)
Also known as the Fair City, Perth sits on the banks of the River Tay. This picturesque Scottish land was once the capital of Scotland and is currently the administrative centre of the Perth and Kinross council area. The history of Perth dates back to the 12th century, and thanks to that, the city boasts quite a few historical landmarks to date. Along with the longstanding history, U.K.’s Perth is also home to several modern attractions, a countryside known for its natural beauty, and an array of recreational opportunities. Exciting right?
10 Popular Places to Visit in Perth, Scotland
Since Perth in Scotland has so much to do, why not plan your next weekend trip there? Join us in this article as we compile a list of 10 Popular Places and Things to do in Perth, Scotland. Perth is one of the best places to visit in Scotland, and a trip here is all you need. Here we go:
1. Scone Palace
Scone Palace is perhaps the best place to visit in Perth, Scotland. This ancient Scottish building was once the crowning place for Scottish monarchs, and this is steeped in royal history. Even today, it serves as the family home of the Earl of Mansfield. However, the Palace is open to welcome visitors with self-guided and guided tours. Standing on a 100-acre landscape, Scone Palace was once home to Stone of Destiny, which is now in the Edinburgh Palace. Today, a visit inside the Palace will introduce you to State Rooms and Mary Queen of Scots’ needlework. Or, explore the outdoors for an impressive garden maze of 2,000 beech trees shaped like a five-pointed star, captivating gardens, woodlands, and walking trails. Scone Palace also hosts overnight stays for a truly royal experience. A visit here (either for a few hours or a stay) will offer you an immersive dive into the regal heritage of Scotland.
2. Black Watch Castle & Museum
Dating back its origin to a few centuries ago, Black Watch Castle & Museum is one of the frequently visited destinations in Perth, Scotland. The museum is housed inside the historic Balhousie Castle, which is equally beautiful from the outside and inside. The castle was once Scotland’s oldest Highland Regiment, but today is home to a museum hosting artifacts, paintings, photographs, personal narratives, and interactive displays. The collection here is all about the remarkable legacy of The Black Watch and its role in the Scottish military engagements. From the battle-worn uniforms to rifles and armor, there’s a lot to see. The museum allows self-guided tours or guided tours across two floors of the building. Exploring the museum will take around an hour. Balhousie Castle isn’t just about the museum, but it is also home to an outdoor garden, a gift shop, and the popular The Bistro @ The Castle.
3. Kinnoull Hill Woodland Park
For a day in the lap of nature, explore the Kinnoull Hill Woodland Park in Perth, Scotland. This beautiful park is nestled on the opposite bank of the River Tay from the town centre. Kinnoull Hill is the largest of five hills on this side of the river, featuring lush woodlands and thriving forest ecosystems. Enthusiasts often climb its cliffside vantage points to enjoy stunning panoramas of the River Tay and the surrounding countryside. It is a popular spot amongst hikers and nature walkers. Kinnoull Hill is also a haven for horseback riding and mountain biking. Bikers can also access the e nearby Deuchny Hill Bike Park, which offers a quieter alternative and less strenuous ride. The five hills at this woodland park comprise abundant flora and fauna, including owls, roe deer, red squirrels, Scots pine, larch, oak, birch, Norway spruce, and more. For spectacular city panorama, locals often recommend ascending the Kinnoull Hill’s summit. The views of the meandering River Tay, the patchwork of local farmlands, and the eastern expanse of Port’s city centre are truly memorable.
4. Perth Museum & Art Gallery
Another popular place to visit in Perth, Scotland, the Perth Museum and Art Gallery, is on the west of the River Tay. This destination for art enthusiasts hosts an array of exhibitions featuring local artifacts and the intriguing history of Perth. A visit here will allow you to discover the display of the heaviest rod-caught salmon, Miss Ballantyne’s salmon, and more such captivating things. The museum dives deep into Perth’s rich history and explores its historical landmarks. It is home to archaeological treasures, local heritage, and contemporary art. It is, in fact, one of the oldest established museums in Scotland. This historic institution is recognizable with its Greek-style columns and can be seen from far away towards the western end of Smeaton’s Bridge. The museum is free to visit, but donations are welcomed. Besides the permanent exhibits, Perth Museum also hosts rotating exhibits to keep the experience fresh and exciting every time.
5. Perth Concert Hall
Whenever you are in Perth, do not miss a chance to watch a performance at the Perth Concert Hall. This premier performing art destination in Perth is known for its music and comedy shows. This state-of-the-art venue boasts cutting-edge technology and exceptional acoustics that make it a hub for major tours and top international acts. The concert hall begins with a grand glass foyer that further leads to a 1000-seat auditorium. Perth Concert Hall boasts some of Europe’s finest acoustics and is thus visited by people from near and far. Throughout the year, a diverse array of acts graces the stage, including classical music, orchestral ensembles, solo performances, comedy gigs, pop sensations, and a vibrant mix of local talent. If visiting Perth Concert Hall, do take some time to check out the Perth Theatre.
6. Branklyn Garden
Branklyn Garden, on the opposite bank of the River Tay, is a captivating botanical gem. Once a private garden, this outdoor gem is the work of John and Dorothy Renton in 1992. Currently, the garden is managed by the National Trust for Scotland and is popular amongst both locals and tourists. The garden covers two acres, featuring winding paths all across. Throughout the year, Branklyn Garden hosts year-round delights, including some rare and unique plants that often bloom, except during the winter months. An impressive collection of rhododendrons, magnificent magnolias, and a profusion of alpine plants are some of the notable features here. A visit to the gardens also allows enthusiasts to explore the on-site Tearoom for a hot beverage and freshly baked treats. The Tearoom extends onto a terrace, offering a picturesque view of the surroundings. This botanical paradise also has an on-site gift shop offering gifts, seeds, and unique plants to purchase.
7. Huntingtown Tower Castle
Towards the west of Perth is Huntingtower Castle, a remarkable historical site. Known for its distinctive architectural design, this castle is known for its significant role in Scotland’s history. During a tumultuous period of rebellion, it was the base camp for Mary Queen of Scots and Lord Darnley. The castle stands out with its tower houses closely positioned. A visit here allows enthusiasts to explore the walls and uncover the hidden nooks of the castle. The architectural uniqueness and historical intrigue set the castle apart. While a ramp provides access to the first floor for all visitors, reaching the second floor requires climbing stairs, as there is no lift available. The castle opens through the week for long hours during the summer season, whereas the visiting hours are reduced during the winter months.
8. Perthshire Countryside
Whenever in Perth, do not miss the chance to explore the Perthshire countryside. Five minutes outside the city, the countryside boasts the most picturesque landscapes of Scotland. The area features rolling hills, pristine lochs, and dense woodlands and thus is equally popular amongst nature lovers and outdoor enthusiasts. Hiking trails crisscross the region, inviting opportunists to wander through lush forests. A highlight here is the Hermitage, a stunning forested walk along the River Braan leading to the mesmerizing Black Linn Falls. Fishing enthusiasts can access numerous rivers and lochs in Perthshire to catch salmon and trout. Or, enjoy a quiet picnic in the serene escape of Loch Leven or Loch Tay. The Perthshire countryside is also popular for elusive red deer and myriad bird species and thus is often visited by wildlife enthusiasts.
9. River Tay Walkway
For an evening in Perth, take a walk along the River Tay in Perth, enjoying a delightful experience. With immense tranquillity and scenic beauty, this experience is a must to do. River Tay is one of the longest and most iconic rivers in Scotland. As you stroll along its banks, you’ll be treated to picturesque views of the water, which can range from gently flowing to more dynamic depending on the season. The walking paths along the River Tay are well-maintained, making it accessible to both locals and visitors. It is common to spot some ducks and swans gracefully gliding on the water. The calming sound of the river’s flow adds to the serene atmosphere, creating a peaceful escape from the bustling city life.
10. Perth Farmers’ Market
Another popular thing to do in Perth is to visit its vibrant Farmer’s market. Hosted every Saturday, this bustling marketplace is a haven for food enthusiasts and those seeking fresh produce. This weekly market is all about Perthshire’s agricultural offerings and is quite a draw for both locals and tourists. A visit here will allow you to shop for seasonal fruits and vegetables, artisanal cheeses, artisan bread, handcrafted chocolates, and an assortment of meats and fish. Beyond groceries, the market also features stalls offering crafts, flowers, and handmade goods, creating a lively and welcoming atmosphere.