As well as spectacular scenery and wonderful history, Perthshire is full of attractions which will interest visitors both old and young. With the ingenious Salmon Ladder in Pitlochry, the vibrant Festival Theatre and the essential shoppers pitstop at the House of Bruar, there is somethng for every day, even when it rains.
Between 1947 and 1951 as part of the Hydro Electric scheme in the Highlands, the River Tummel was dammed, flooding the old Pitlochry recreation field and creating the man-made Loch Faskally. In order to enable the annual migration of 5000+ Atlantic Salmon to pass through the dam wall to spawn upstream the impressive Fish Ladder was constructed - 310 metres in length, it has 34 pools linked together by circular tubes through which the salmon swim. There are two viewing windows in one of three resting pools where the salmon have a short respite before continuing their journey. There is a counter at the side that records how many salmon pass through each season.
Currently under construction and due to open autumn 2016 is a new £4 million Visitor Centre that will chronicle the story of the engineers who brought hydro power to Scotland together with details of the journey made by the salmon, as they return to native Perthshire rivers to spawn.
On a visit to Pitlochry during the war, a gentleman called John Stewart made a promise to himself ‘When peace is declared I shall return to this spot to give thanks to God and establish my Festival’. On VE day, he spoke a silent prayer and vowed to fulfil his promise. Originally established in a weather-proof tent, Pitlochry Festival Theatre opened in May 1951 with the British premiere of Maxwell Anderson’s Mary of Scotland with Joss Ackland as Darnley. It moved to its present site at Port na Craig on the banks of the River Tummel, surrounded by the spectacular scenery of Highland Perthshire in 1981. Fondly known as ‘The Theatre in the Hills’, its unique repertoire system enables visitors to see different shows each night of the week and two on matinee days! Each year more than 60,000 people attend performances known for their high quality and wonderful sets and costumes.
This wonderful six acre wooded garden is open from April through to November. Divided into different parts of the world, it tells the story of Scotland’s successful Plant Hunters from days gone by. Sponsored by the botanical gardens of Edinburgh and Kew, the Royal Horticultural Society as well as private backers, they travelled the world searching for rare and unknown plants and flowers to bring back to our shores. Guided tours are available telling the story of their incredible exploits and wondrous finds
Situated north of Pitlochry on the A9, the House of Bruar is renowned for its excellent range of ladies and gents clothing, quality country wear, tweeds and cashmere. The Food Hall and Delicatessen showcase the best of fresh Scottish produce together with selected gourmet delights from across the globe. A delicious selection of cold snacks and hot meals are also available at very competitive prices in the spacious restaurant.
While Heathergems jewellery and giftware can be purchased in shops throughout the UK, their manufacture is exclusive to Pitlochry. Made from heather stems collected from the surrounding hills and moor, the stems are cleaned, dyed, compressed, shaped, lacquered and finally fitted by artisans into silver and gold. The jewellery and giftware produced is unique to Scotland and makes the ideal present for friends and family.
The Scottish Antique and Arts Centre, located at Abernyte, half way between Perth and Dundee offers a wonderful, eclectic mix of antiques and collectables together with an extensive range of contemporary furniture and soft furnishing. A selection of designer clothing and accessories together with a food hall selling quality produce is also on site. The Café Circa offers delicious homemade food and friendly service making it a perfect venue for a refreshment stop.