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Pretty Perfect Perthshire

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What's new in Big Tree Country. A comprehensive round up of this beautiful part of central Scotland.

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Pretty Perfect Perthshire

  1. 1. Take a Land Rover tour around the county with the Highland Safari Experience With spring now upon us, it’s time to get out and about again and enjoy Scotland as it awakens from its winter slumbers. As the Easter holidays are around the corner, and summer isn’t far off either, I’d like to suggest a visit to an area that for most of you should be fairly easy to get to, since it’s slap bang in the middle of our country. At this point I’ll admit that I’m biased. I moved to this region over three decades ago and became an ardent fan — much as I still love my native Edinburgh. But it’s Perthshire that I want to tempt you to explore — a region that encapsulates all that’s best about Scotland: breathtaking scenery and landscapes, rich history and thriving culture. Often referred to as “big tree country”, it has the tallest, biggest, widest specimen trees, not just in Britain but Europe. The natural beauty of Perthshire makes it popular with hill walkers and those keen to discover wild Scotland, and it’s also home to some of the country’s most spectacular wildlife, from ospreys and red squirrels to majestic red stags and golden eagles. Golf is exceptionally well catered for, and for white- knuckle experiences there’s everything from white water rafting on the Rivers Tay or Tummel, canyoning, gorge- walking, and even bungee jumping at Killiecrankie. With charming towns and quirky villages, and some of the UK’s finest hotels and restaurants, there’s a lot to commend it. TOP 10 THINGS TO SEE AND DO IN PERTHSHIRE SCONE PALACE This place just oozes Scottish history. About 1,500 years ago, Scone was the capital of the Picts. It has since been the seat of parliaments and the crowning place of the Scottish monarchs, including Macbeth and Robert the Bruce, and was the home of the celebrated stone of destiny. The palace houses an outstanding collection of antiques, paintings and rare artefacts, and within its grounds there’s a pinetum, maze, play park and 100 acres of gardens and woodland. scone-palace.co.uk HIGHLAND SAFARI EXPERIENCE Take a Land Rover safari across Highland Perthshire, to enjoy breathtaking views of the countryside and discover Scotland’s wildlife in its natural environment. Spring sees the launch of Loch Tay safaris, a unique trip by boat to explore the rich history, heritage and mythology of the largest loch in Perthshire and one of the deepest in Scotland. highlandsafaris.net THE FAMOUS GROUSE EXPERIENCE AT GLENTURRET DISTILLERY There’s no better place to sample a traditional dram than Glenturret, Scotland’s oldest, most visited whisky distillery. Take a tour of the spiritual home of The Famous Grouse, and see first-hand the DISCOVER P E RTHS H IRE 2 / ATTRACTIONS ADVERTISEMENT FEATURE The ancient county, which straddles the highlands and lowlands, has day trips to suit the whole family, writes Katie Wood A historic tale round every corner Big draws: Lochleven Castle, top; Mary, Queen of Scots, above; and the shopping mecca House of Bruar, below The food hall at House of Bruar is bursting with fresh produce for gourmands making this an ideal chance to discover the fascinating history of the Atholl Highlanders, Blair Castle’s private army, alongside the spectacle of a traditional highland games. blair-castle.co.uk HOUSE OF BRUAR Widely acknowledged as Scotland’s most prestigious independent store, House of Bruar’s picturesque location, at the foot of Bruar Falls in Blair Atholl, is just one reason to pay a visit. As well as the knitwear hall, which specialises in pure cashmere, there’s top quality mens’ and ladieswear, an impressive array of home and garden goods and a food hall and restaurant bursting with fresh and local produce. houseofbruar.com THE BLACK WATCH MUSEUM Perth’s Balhousie Castle, the 12th-century ancestral home of the Black Watch, houses its museum, which was redeveloped in 2013. The collection holds thousands of treasures, including uniforms, paintings, medals, diaries and weapons from Scotland’s oldest regiment. theblackwatch.co.uk LOCHLEVEN CASTLE, KINROSS This tower house, on an island that’s accessed by boat, dates back to about 1300. It welcomed Mary Stuart, Queen of Scots, as a guest and later — in 1567 — incarcerated her as a prisoner, and it was here that Mary was forced to relinquish her reign before her daring escape. On September 2-3, the castle will stage the Mary Queen of Scots Festival 2017 as part of the 2017 Year of History, Heritage and Archaeology. historicenvironment.scot traditional production methods that are still employed today. theglenturret.com PITLOCHRY DAM VISITOR CENTRE Learn about the history of hydroelectricity in the north of Scotland and then enjoy lunch with a spectacular view “floating” over Loch Faskally at the new Pitlochry Dam Visitor Centre. Its cutting-edge cantilevered design offers stunning views of the dam. It’s a must-see for 2017. THE SCOTTISH CRANNOG CENTRE Experience life in Iron Age Scotland as this unique reconstruction of an ancient loch dwelling transports visitors back 2,500 years. The distinctive roundhouse brings to life ground-breaking discoveries made by divers from the Scottish Trust for Underwater Archaeology. The award-winning centre is a fantastic day out for explorers of all ages. crannog.co.uk PITLOCHRY FESTIVAL THEATRE As well as its international standard repertory theatre, the Pitlochry Festival Theatre offers a programme of tours, talks and concerts. Its restaurant, with views over the River Tummel, is a favourite. Pay a visit to Explorers — the Scottish Plant Hunter’s Garden; laid out over six acres, this woodland garden celebrates the stories and results of plant hunters whose work affects how our gardens look today. Don’t miss Scotland’s “theatre in the hills” — it’s a much- loved landmark. pitlochryfestivaltheatre.com BLAIR CASTLE Dating back to the 13th century, Blair Castle is one of Scotland’s most historic castles, home to the dukes and earls of Atholl. Its celebrated guests include Mary Queen of Scots and Bonnie Prince Charlie. On May 28, Blair Castle will play host to the Atholl Gathering, 26.3.2017 / 3

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