Car-free adventures aroundPerthPerth and Kinross
Visit Scone Palace where Scottish monarchs were crowned. Stroll by the River Tay and see the Black Watch Museum. Ride the bus out of town to one of Scotland’s finest gardens at Drummond Castle. Perth is an ideal place for a staycation and you can get there by train or by bus from Edinburgh and Glasgow. Clean, cool stagecoach buses with free wi-fi also make the journey hourly and all routes from the south start with a spectacular crossing of the Forth Bridge. Scroll to the end for a little more information for people planning a holiday in Perth.
1. Visit Scone Palace
Easily accessible by bus, Perth’s biggest tourist attraction is historic Scone Palace, where Scottish monarchs were traditionally crowned. Once the ancient capital of the Picts, now an opulent stately home the palace has been the seat of parliaments and crowning place of kings including Robert the Bruce. At the end of Shakespeare’s Macbeth, the reinstated rightful heir Malcolm says to everyone still left alive: “So, thanks to all at once and to each one, Whom we invite to see us crowned at Scone.”
- Perth’s bus station, just a few steps away from the train station, has regular buses to Scone Palace. Buses 3 and 58 buses leave roughly hourly Monday to Saturday and at noon and 2pm on Sunday.
- You can also catch the bus from South Street in the middle of town (see 2 below). It takes about six minutes to get to the gates of the palace. Inside, you can tour the lavishly-furnished rooms, stroll in the gardens or have tea in the cafe, of course.
- The palace sees 100,000 visitors a year and nearly half of them have a scone in the tea room!
- In the winter months (November, February, March and the first half of December), there is free admission to the grounds, cafe, shop, playground and maze on Fridays and weekends.
2. Stroll around Town
Perth’s old town is compact and easy to visit on foot. This simple circuit passes gardens and galleries, cafés and castles. See the map below.
- Turn left out of the railway station and follow the road into Hospital Street, passing King James VI Hospital, a chateau-style building founded founded by a Royal Charter in 1569.
- Cross over into South Street and keep straight along it. Turn left into elegant St John’s Street with ancient St John’s Kirk half way along. At the end of the road, turn left onto the High Street and immediately right, just before the Tourist Information Centre, into tiny Skinnergate.
- Here you will find Perth’s neoclassical Museum and Art Gallery – it’s free, open Tues-Sun and definitely worth a visit if you have time. It’s packed with paintings (including a portrait by Millais), wildlife displays and more.
- Cross Charlotte Street towards a statue of Prince Albert and turn left around the huge park. Behind the leisure centre, take a look at Balhousie Castle, housing the Black Watch museum, which dates back to the 12th century and was home to the Earls of Kinnoull. The current mansion, in the Scottish baronial style, was built in 1860s and has a great cafe, open to all.
- Keep going around the park towards the River Tay and follow the tarmac path right, back towards town, past a golf course, along the riverbank, and under many-arched West Bridge.
- Carry on, straight along Tay Street’s wide pavement beside the river. At the railway viaduct, you could cross the River Tay to explore Branklyn Garden on far side. Otherwise, go under viaduct to the domed Fergusson Gallery and turn right onto Marshall Place.
- The railway and bus stations are at the far end of this road.