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Perth, which lies elegantly on the River Tay, regained its city status in 2012. Once thought to be the ancient capital of Scotland, Perth built its fortune on weaving, fishing and brewing industries, giving the country two of its most famous whiskies, Dewars and Bells. Often called the ‘Fair City’, Perth is home to beautiful architecture, interesting galleries, vibrant restaurants, an intriguing and unique history and gorgeous surrounding scenery. It takes just over an hour on public transport to get to the city from both Edinburgh and Glasgow. It is only 20 minutes from Dundee by train.
What to See in Perth
One of Perth’s most regal attractions is Scone Palace, a Category A listed historic house built of red sandstone with a castellated roof. The palace is steeped in history – for nearly 1000 years it was the crowning place of Scottish monarchs, making it one of the most important castles in Scotland. This is made reference to in Shakespeare’s Macbeth when, after Macbeth’s death, Malcolm says ‘So thanks to all at once and to each one, whom we invite to see us crowned at Scone.’ The original palace was rebuilt in the mid-19th century in preparation for the visit of Queen Victoria and Prince Albert. With this, it was transformed into the elegant and luxurious Georgian mansion one sees today. The castle is open to the public between April and October, with the option of touring the palace at one’s own speed or being part of a group tour.
Housed in the impressive Balhousie Castle is the Black Watch Museum, a museum which tells the fascinating story of Scotland’s elite military regiment , the Black Watch, whose history stretches back almost three centuries from 1739. The museum looks at the pivotal moments in history which the regiment were a part of from the First and Second World Wars to more recent conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan.
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The Fergusson Gallery is in a circular cast-iron building that was once a waterworks and is home to an extensive collection of paintings by the Scottish colourist JD Fergusson. The art gallery also offers an insight into his relationship with the well-regarded Scottish dancer, Margaret Morris. Morris is regarded as a pioneer of modern dance and the gallery also exhibits photos of her work.
St John’s Kirk is the oldest building still standing in Perth, making it one of the architecturally and historically significant buildings in the city. The original church was built around the 12th-century but there is archaeological evidence to suggest there was a church on the site up to three centuries earlier. The heart of King Alexander III was buried at the church in 1286, after his tragic death (he was killed while riding his horse to Fife, his body was found on the beach at Kinghorn). The church fell into disrepair in the mid-12th century and the majority of the present church was constructed between 1440 and 1500. It continues to be a centrepiece of the city’s skyline today and remains an active parish church of the Church of Scotland. Visitors are welcome to wander around the church whenever a Church Officer is present.
Given Perth’s reputation as the home of Dewars and Bells, a visit to a whisky distillery is a must. Dewar’s Distillery is situated in Aberfeld, in the heart of Highland Perthshire, an hour or so out of Perth. The distillery has been producing single malt whisky since 1898 and there are tours, tasting sessions and a heritage exhibition to be enjoyed. The Glenturret is Scotland’s oldest working distillery and has been making Scottish whisky since 1775. Visitors can experience the traditional whisky making experience, eat at the on-site restaurant and enjoy tasting sessions.
Perth’s city centre boasts plenty of amazing bars and restaurants serving hearty Scottish fare. Expect to enjoy juicy scallops, beef from the Scottish Highlands and delicious fruit and veg thanks to the area’s fertile soil. Perth’s compact size means that it is great city to explore on foot and you can walk around to most of the main sights easily. A wander along the banks of the River Tay is also a pleasant activity.
If you’re interested in seeing Perth, please have a look at our tours that visit the city. Our Scottish Whisky and Other Wonders of Scotland Tour spends two nights in Perth, as does our History of the Jacobites tour.
Articles about Scotland published by Odyssey Traveller
The following list of articles published by odyssey Traveller for mature aged and senior travellers to maximise their knowledge and enjoyment of Scotland when visiting;
External articles about the City of Edinburgh and Scotland for travellers.
- History of Edinburgh castle
- Everything to know about Scotch Whisky
- Overview of Scottish history
- Chronology of the Jacobites
- James Stuart; A pretender
We also publish articles to give more information to our loyal and prospective clients. You can start by reading our our country spotlight on Scotland.
A guided small group tour of Scotland is a day tour collection that includes Edinburgh, the royal mile, Edinburgh castle, and the old town a UNESCO World heritage site Experience and learn about, Kellie castle, St Andrews, Skye, Balmoral castle, Loch Lomond and Loch Ness as well touring the Scottish highlands to finish in Glasgow.