After having spent a couple of days in Perth I went to Pitlochry, the gateway to the Highlands. Even if most of the visitors use it as a base for exploring Perthshire, the town itself offers plenty of things to do and see.
In this article I share with you my experience there together with some useful information for planning your journeys to and from the town.
How to get to Pitlochry
No matter if you will be travelling by car, bus or train, Pitlochry is well connected to the major Scottish cities as well as the other tourist destinations.
By car, the main road A9 crosses Scotland’s central area linking Glasgow and Edinburgh to Inverness.
By bus, with national and local companies that operate bus services in and around the town.
By train, thanks to the Highland Railway Line that connects London to Glasgow and Edinburgh and then to Inverness.
In my case I travelled with Scottish Citylink from Perth. The journey lasted around 40 minutes and I got off in front of the Fishers Hotel in the main street.
Besides that, I travelled with the local company Elizabeth Yule to explore Pitlochry’s nearby attractions.
Accomodations in Pitlochry
Pitlochry has many hotels, B&B, guest houses and hostel where to stay. My suggestion is to book really in advance, especially during peak periods like July and August.
Based on my experience, I personally recommend The Well House, a Guest House located a 2 minute walk from the centre. My en-suite room was simply perfect and comfortable. Beside the reception there’s a wee lounge room where you can find daily newspapers and tourist brochures. Just aside there’s the breakfast area. The buffet includes continental meals as well as the homemade porridge (you must try it!). Coffee and tea are served by John, the owner of the B&B.
WiFi is free and fast though there’s no signal in the breakfast room… so you can enjoy your meal even better 😉
What to do in Pitlochry
I spent the first day exploring this traditional resort town made famous by Queen Victoria who went here in 1842. Located in the stunning scenery of Highland Perthshire, Pitlochry is one of the most famous Scottish tourist destinations. If you’re keen on whisky, walks and history this is the place to go.
There’s just one main street and around it you find most of the restaurants, pubs, local businesses, accomodations and bus stops of the village.
Pitlochry boasts two distilleries (plus another one in its surroundings):
- Edradour Distillery, the Scotland’s smallest as there’re just three men producing limited quantities of hand crafted malts. It’s open throughout the year and it’s also possible to take a short tour inside. This costs £7.50 and includes two drams of Edradour;
- Blair Atholl Distillery, established in 1798 and considered one of the oldest distilleries in Scotland. There’re tours during all the year and the price – £7.50 – includes a £5 discount for the purchase of a 70cl bottle of single malt whisky.
In and around the town there’re several itineraries that permit to discover all the magnificence of the Perthshire’s landscapes.
In Pitlochry I followed the trail to Black Spout Waterfall, a short walk that leads to a waterfall and then to the Edradour Distillery. The path is very easy and it took me around 1 hour to reach the Black Spout Waterfall from Pitlochry town centre. After passing the Atholl Palace Hotel I first crossed the woodland and then I arrived to the timber viewing platform over the imposing 60m waterfall.
This short excursion gifted me an amazing first sight of Perthshire natural beauty and I started to understand the reason why this region is known as Scotland Big Tree Country.
Then I enjoyed a gentle stroll in the town, especially around the Pitlochry Dam. As a matter of fact, I’d suggest you to go there at sunset time to admire the magical lights and reflections over river Tummel. Trust me, the walk is absolutely worthwhile!
The Pitlochry Dam and Fish Ladder
This is undoubtedly the Pitlochry’s top attraction and every year it attracts something like 550.000 people.
Besides that, in January 2017 opened the new Pitlochry Dam Visitor Centre in which exhibitions on the Dam (with its history and impact on local inhabitants’ habits), the green energy in Scotland and the life cycle of the salmons are held. Apart from that, there’s also a bar with a panoramic view over River Tummel and Loch Faskally.
The Visitor Centre is open all the days from 9:30am to 5:30pm – last admission at 5 pm – and the entrance is free.
The Pitlochry Fish Ladder and Dam was erected in 1951 and the ladder was necessary in order to permit the salmons to pass upstream. Today there’re two windows from where the visitors can see the fishes “in action”.
Then, there’s also a walk on both banks of the river that gives impressive sights of the entire area. Not only that, you may notice the Pitlochry Festival Theatre, internationally known for the high quality of its productions.
This is what I experienced during my stay in Pitlochry.
To be said, this lovely and tranquil village has still more to offer and I’d return here willingly to continue discovering its gems as well as exploring the nearby most inspiring places of interest.