Pitlochry is the perfect location for a Scottish holiday. Based in Highland Perthshire in central Scotland, Pitlochry is one of the most beautiful and sought after destinations in the area due to its rich history, culture and picturesque landscapes.
The town of Pitlochry is surrounded by mountains such as Ben Vrackie and Schiehallion, with the River Tummel flowing nearby. Due to its "must Visit" surroundings, Pitlochry is a popular tourist destination for those seeking a relaxing break or a more adventurous holiday. Whatever you come to Pitlochry for, it is the ideal springboard for exploration, near and far.
Wine, dine and relax in Pitlochry
Just a few minutes’ walk from The Birchwood Hotel is the main street in Pitlochry, Atholl Road. This is the hub of the town where you will find most of the shops, cafes, bars and restaurants.
Pitlochry history and architecture
Pitlochry is largely a Victorian town, and became a popular tourist attraction after Queen Victoria visited the area in 1842. Pitlochry Station, on the London to Inverness railway opened in 1863 encouraging visitors and the town has become a favoured destination for all types of holiday-makers.
The town has kept many of its stone Victorian buildings, and the main street has kept its period character. Easily accessible from the main street is the new visitor centre, which looks over the Pitlochry Dam and Fish Ladder, which was constructed between 1947 and 1951. The dam was the first in the world to incorporate a ‘fish ladder’ to allow the 5,000 odd salmon that pass up the river each year to reach their spawing grounds. The centre tells the story of the record-breaking Tunnel Tigers who built the hydroelectric system in the 1940s.
Along with Victorian heritage, Pitlochry and Perthshire are home to many ancient sites including stone circles and standing stones. The most well-known standing stone is the Dunfallandy Stone, a Pictish cross stab that stands about a mile south of the centre of Pitlochry. The standing stone is thought to have been carved in the 700s.
Culture and things to do in Pitlochry
There are plenty of things to do in Pitlochry, On the other side of the River Tummel is Pitlochry's Festival Theatre, which was founded in 1951. The theatre is of great cultural importance to Perthshire and it brings in thousands of tourists every summer; there is an ever-changing line up of dramatic arts, comedy and first-class writing so be sure to see something whilst you’re here.
The town of Pitlochry regularly receives Britain in Bloom awards for its splendid public and private gardens. There is a well-planned network of marked walks giving access to the best of the surrounding countryside, and visitors have the choice between river and lochside walks, woodland, hills overlooking the Tummel Valley, moorland and to one of the two distilleries of the area. Pitlochry is popular with hikers, walkers and camera-enthusiasts of all abilities; it is an incredibly photographic area and there are many ways to discover Perthshire with a camera.
There are also a number of churches in Pitlochry; you can find more information on things to see and do in Pitlochry in our online visitor’s guide.
Pitlochry and beyond
Pitlochry is surrounded by equally beautiful and interesting towns; just ten miles south of Pitlochry is the royal town of Dunkeld, which boast an ancient Cathedral dating back to the 12th century, situated on the picturesque banks of the River Tay.
On the opposite side of the river you will find the village of Birnam and the ‘Birnam Oak’. Perthshire is known as ‘Big Tree Country’ due to its extensive volume of large trees, and some people believe that the magnificent Birnam Oak tree was alive in Shakespeare’s time; Birnam Wood plays a part in ‘the Scottish play’, Macbeth. The witches in Macbeth predict that Birnam Wood will march to Dunsinane, leading to his downfall.
Another literary attraction in Birnam is the Beatrix Potter garden, which commemorates the period the writer spent her summers in nearby Dalguise. It is thought that the nearby woodlands and her countryside walks were the inspiration for her much-loved tales of Peter Rabbit.
Great transport links
Pitlochry has fantastic transport links; many tourists arrive in Pitlochry by coach, but there are multitudes of ways you can get here, and there are many excellent transport links to nearby towns and cities.
The town of Pitlochry is just 26 miles north of Perth, and the area is served by the main A9 Perth to Inverness road. The roads around Pitlochry are generally quiet and free of traffic.
If you prefer to travel by bus, there are coaches to and from Glasgow and Edinburgh in the south and Inverness in the north. You can find more information on coach services here. Local buses run from Pitlochry to the rest of Highland Perthshire so you can easily navigate yourself around the area.
The Pitlochry train services are excellent; there is a direct train from London King’s Cross, and an overnight sleeper service from Euston. In total, there are four direct trains from central London. Since the railway station was built in 1863, passengers have enjoyed the scenic route which takes you through the East Coast, passing through Edinburgh, Newcastle and York.
For local routes, there are frequent trains linking Pitlochry to Perth, Edinburgh, Dundee, Aberdeen, Glasgow, Inverness and Stirling. There is a limited train service to Blair Atholl, Dunkeld & Birnam, Kingussie and Newtonmore.
If you are arriving by air, Pitlochry is within easy driving distance from three of Scotland’s main airports: Edinburgh Airport, Glasgow Airport and Inverness Airport.
Despite visiting Scotland for the past 30 years this was our first visit to Pitlochry and our stay in this hotel proved a good choice. A warm welcome by the owners who were happy to help.
All the facilities were of a high standard and we could not fault either the service or the food. A neat touch was making the choice for the evening meal after breakfast. Gave the feeling of being personally prepared. Beautiful peaceful setting, very large comfortable room and friendly hosts. Much to see in the area and only minutes from the town centre. Booked to stay longer next year.
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