Old Bridge in Perth, Scotland

Perth (Scotland), what to do and see in two days. The itinerary I followed, the attractions not to be missed and other practical information

What to do and see in Perth in two days

Staying two days allowed to me to get the most of Perth. As a matter of fact, I did manage to visit several attractions and historical sites in and around the city centre. Not only that, being in Scotland in June means that I can enjoy the longest days of the year. In this way I had the time to explore Perth’s riverside area.

 

The attractions of the first day: Huntingtower Castle and The Fair Maid’s House

Huntingtower Castle is located approximately 2 miles from Perth city centre on the A85 to Crieff. In front of the building there’s a car park and the Huntingtower Hotel is around the corner.

The castle dates back to the 15th century and originally it consisted of two separated towers that were then linked during the 1600s. In 1565, hosted by Patrick – 3rd Lord Ruthven – Mary Queen of Scots honeymooned with her second husband Lord Darnley. Would you expect that in ten years later Patrick itself would have been involved in the murder of Mary Queen of Scots’ secretary, David Rizzio, at Holyrood Palace in Edinburgh? In 1582 James VI, son of Mary Queen, was held captive in Huntingtower Castle by William Ruthven as part of a political conspiracy. After its fail, the King condamned Ruthven family to forfeit the estate that became property of the Murrays.

The tour inside the fortress permits to explore the remainings of the rooms – where today “live” different species of bats – and especially the painted ceiling and plasterwork from 1540. Then you can reach the roof and learn about the so-called Maiden’s Leap, the space between the towers in which a secret love story took place.

I suggest you to dedicate at least one hour for the visit. Huntingtower Castle is open 9:30am to 5:30pm from April to September and 10am to 4pm from October to March. The site remains close for lunch between 12:30pm to 1:30pm.

The admission prices are the following:

  • adult, £5
  • child (5-15), £3
  • concession, £4
  • child (0-5), free

Besides that, Huntingtower Castle is owned by Historic Scotland and the entrance is included in the Historic Scotland Explorer Pass (buy it here), a tourist card that permits free access to 77 historical sites across Scotland.

Sight of Huntingtower Castle in Perth, Scotland Discovering Huntingower Castle, historical site around Perth Visit of Huntingtower Castle near Perth, Scotland The roof of Huntingtower Castle, Perth

 

In the afternoon I returned to Perth city centre to visit The Fair Maid’s House, the oldest secular building in town. It still contains original medieval sections and you will see them during the tour. For example, take a look of the part of the ancient Blackfriars Wall (from 12th to 14th century) on the right of the stairs.

The building was bought by the Glover Incorporation in 1622. This was one of the oldest Perth’s medieval trade guilds and used the house until 1890. Anyway, the Fair Maid’s House – and the city as well – became notorious in 1828 thanks to Walter Scott. In that year he published the novel The Fair Maid of Perth in which the house is the main setting. This fact explains the reason why Perth is even know as the Fair City. Today, the Fair Maid’s House is property of the Royal Scottish Geographical Society which re-opened it to the public in July 2011 as an innovative geographical information and education centre.

Allow yourself a couple of hours to see the several collections displayed on the two floors and the temporary exhibition hosted in the Education Room. The itinerary of the visit includes five different areas:

  • the Reception, in which you can learn about the history of the building and the city;
  • the Education Room, home of exhibitions and it overlooks the Croll Garden, named after local self-taught scientist who first proposed a theory related to predictable glacial epochs through ages;
  • the Earth Room, one of the highlights of the visit thanks to the interactive installation in the centre where you can see the world from the space and discover its history, past… and future;
  • the Cuthbert Map Room, storing about 200.000 maps from past to now;
  • the Explorer’s Room (in which I spent most of my time), full of books to read and useful to plan your next trip. Not only that, you can learn about the famous explorers of the past and their achievements.

The Fair Maid’s House Visitor Centre is opened during summertime, usually 1pm to 4:30 pm from Tuesday to Saturday. The centre is manned entirely by volunteers, entrance is free and any donation is welcome.

The Fair Maid's House in Perth, Scotland The Earth Room at the Fair Maid's House in Perth, Scotland The Education Room at The Fair Maid's House in Perth The Cuthbert Room at The Fair Maid's House in Perth The Explorers' Room at The Fair Maid's House in Perth

 

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