Perched around the River Tay, Perth is a relatively small Scottish city that’s lovely to visit for a day trip. That being said, there are heaps of the best things to do in Perthshire that you can’t really visit in one day alone.
You see, it’s not just Perth that makes ‘Perth’ great. It’s the surrounding area. The wider area is steeped in history; and the city also has a fair few foodie spots and hotels, too. This makes it the perfect city in Scotland to base yourself whilst exploring wider Perthshire and beyond.
So, to help you get the most out of your visit to the city. I’m sharing my top places in Perth to visit once you arrive. Have an amazing trip to Scotland.
1.) Perth Art Gallery
Not too far from Smeaton’s Bridge, the City’s Art Gallery is well worth a visit when you’re in Perth. Although small in comparison to galleries in, say, Edinburgh, it still has heaps of exhibitions and rooms to explore.
Once inside, make sure to explore the main rooms where art from Scottish artists is housed. You’ll get to see works by the likes of; Calum Colvin, Alison Watt and so many more.
Oh, and it’s great for kids, too. They have a fantastic area teaching about dinosaurs and the natural history of the area.
Best of all, entry is totally free.
2.) Dewar’s Aberfeldy Distillery
Dewar Distillery is located in the beautiful town of Aberfeldy, about 40 minutes from Perth. This in itself will require a little bit of planning; especially when it comes to driving.
Now, to give you a bit of context, the Dewar family distil some incredible whiskey this side of Scotland. The founder, John Dewar, was born just a few miles away and started the distillery in the 1800s.
Nowadays, Dewar’s produces some of the best whiskey in Scotland. Best of all is a tour to see how the distillation process works and learn how the whiskey is given its unique flavours.
Just be sure to book the tour on their website. Spaces can fill up on certain days.
3.) Kinnoull Hill
If you’re fancying a ramble, then heading to Kinnoull Hill is one of the best things to do in Perth. You see, it’s a relatively large woodland park that hugs the eastern edges of Perth.
Not only that, the area is steeped in history. It’s said, that William Wallace (a crusader fighting for independence in the 1200s) once hid within these very hills.
Now, as walking through the woodland, you’ll want to head to Kinnoull Hill Tower. This is a pretty gorgeous folly that was built back in the 1700s. From here, you’ll get to see some stunning views down the River Tay. It’s gorgeous.
Just be aware, you will need to walk uphill for a little while. This means it’s not suitable for all with accessibility needs.
Oh, and make sure to take a jacket. It can get blustery at the top of the hills.
4.) Stanley Mills
Nestled on the edges of the River Tay, Stanley Mills was established during the Industrial Revolution. This was when UK industry boomed (back in the 1700s) and isn’t just specific to Perth.
That being said, Stanley Mills produced textiles for over 200 years and still stands to this day.
Around a 15-minute drive from the centre of Perth, you can visit between April and September to explore. You’ll get to see the Bell Mill, which is considered one of the oldest factories in all of Scotland (if not the world).
Just make sure to give yourself around 90 minutes to stroll around and explore.
5.) Central Perth
The area around George Street is easily the best place to stroll if you’re wanting to wander around and explore. You see, this area has heaps of stores, Scottish retailers and cafes that are well worth visiting whilst in Perth.
After dinner, head for a stroll (north) down Tay Street and follow the route of the River Tay. You’ll wander through North Inch that’s a huge green space that’s lovely on a sunny day.
6.) Rodney Gardens
Perched on the other side of the River Tay, Rodney Gardens is one of the best parks in all of Perth. After arriving, take a stroll around the grounds and see the installations that line the waterfront, too.
you’ll easily spot Millais’ Viewpoint, River Arch and the Vortex whilst strolling through the gardens and the banks of the River Tay.
7.) River Tay Rafting
Speaking of the River Tay, it’s worth remembering that you can join some pretty cool activities on the river itself. After all, it is the longest river in Scotland, which is great to explore.
For an action-packed trip; book this rafting experience on the River Tay. It’s so much fun and takes a few hours; making it a great afternoon activity.
Plus., you can easily partner this up with your trip to Dewar’s Aberfeldy Distillery. Both of which are around 40 minutes from Perth city centre.
8.) Scone Palace
Visiting Scone Palace is easily one of the best things to do in Perth when you visit. This incredible Gothic-style mansion is just so beautiful to see.
Once inside, you’ll get to explore the rooms where the likes of Queen Victoria and Queen Elizabeth once visited. Plus, you’ll get to learn more about the Murray Family and the rebuilding of the home in the 1800s.
Now, you can easily take a taxi from the centre of Perth and buy tickets to either explore the gardens or the palace. Heck, why not do both? You might even see some peacocks too.
The only time I’d say to skip the gardens is if you’re unlucky with terrible weather.
9.) Black Watch Castle
After walking up the River Tay, beyond Northinch, you will come across Black Watch Castle. Here, you’ll get to explore the largest highland regiment in all of Scotland.
After getting inside, you’ll learn all about Black Watch and its history in military operations since the 1700s. It’s well worth a gander if you’re interested in military history.
Visits will take around 45 minutes and you will pay a small fee (around £10) to enter.
10.) Drummond Castle Gardens
Around a 30-minute drive west of Perth, Drummond Castle is great to visit as you leave Perth for the west of Scotland. That being said, if you have a car, it’s really easy to visit for a morning trip, too.
Now, what makes Drummond Castle so special is the gardens. You see, these were first planned in the 1600s and have now matured into one of Scotland’s most iconic formal gardens.
Once here, keep your eyes peeled for the beech trees. These were planted by Queen Vitoria when she visited in the 1800s.
Oh, and just remember, you can’t visit Drummond Castle interiors. These are closed off to the public.
11.) St. John’s Kirk
There’s been a church on this very site in Perth for almost 1,000 years, with St. John’s Kirk being built in the 1400s. To this day, it’s the oldest surviving structure in all of Perth.
Although you won’t spend long at St. John’s Kirk, it’s really easy to visit. This is especially true if you’re already walking around Watergate or St John’s Street.
Also, you’ve got St Leonard’s-in-the-Fields that overlooks South Inch. It’s another one of Perth’s famous churches that has stood for centuries.
Plus, it’s within walking distance of the train station; making it nice and easy to see if you’re arriving by train.
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