Perth is a city in Perth and Kinross in northeast Scotland. It stands at a point where the River Tay channels between hills, turns sharply and becomes tidal and navigable. It lost its "city" status in the late 20th century but local signage successfully remained in denial about this until 2012 when Perth's status was restored. Its chief attraction is Scone Palace.
Medieval Scottish kings didn't have a fixed capital but their usual abode was "Saint John's Town" at nearby Scone - that name is perpetuated by the local football team St Johnstone. The writer Sir Walter Scott wove the royal dynastic intrigues and adventures into his novel The Fair Maid of Perth, and the place became known as "The Fair City". Perth in Western Australia takes its name from here, as does Perth, Ontario.
The TIC is the Visit Scotland iCentre at 45 High Street, It's open M-Sa 09:30-16:30, Su 11:00-16:00.
Edinburgh Airport (EDI IATA) is usually best option for its extensive connections across Europe and within UK. It's 50 miles / 80 km south of Perth, and west of Edinburgh city so with a hire car you simply turn onto M90 and avoid city traffic. Jet 747 bus runs from the airport to Inverkeithing for the train, or to Halbeath for an onward bus. Otherwise take the tram from the airport to Edinburgh Haymarket for trains and buses towards Perth.
Glasgow Airport (GLA IATA) has a similar range of flights. It's 70 miles / 120 km southwest of Perth, but west of Glasgow so you have to cross city traffic. Take the airport bus to Buchanan Bus Station in city centre then train or bus to Perth.
Perth's own airfield at Scone north of town has no commercial flights, though it's busy with private aviation and flight training.
- Wikivoyage has a guide to Rail travel in the United Kingdom.
Trains run to Perth from Glasgow Queen Street (High Level) hourly via Stirling (one hour), from Edinburgh hourly via Fife (80 min) plus others changing at Stirling, from Aberdeen hourly via Dundee (90 min), and from Inverness every hour or two via Aviemore (2 hr 15 min).
The railway between Dundee and Aberdeen was closed for 12 weeks following a landslide and serious rail accident near Stonehaven on 12 Aug 2020, but it re-opened in November.
There is one direct daytime train from London Kings Cross, taking six hours to Perth via York, Newcastle and Edinburgh, and continuing to Inverness; but it's usually more convenient to change in Edinburgh.
Two Caledonian Sleeper trains run overnight Su-F from London Euston. The Highland Sleeper for Inverness leaves around 21:00 and reaches Perth before 06:00, so you'll be woken by 05:00 and ejected onto a cold platform with no public transport or amenities available. The return train picks up around 23:30 to reach Euston for 08:00. You might prefer to take the Lowland Sleeper from Euston towards midnight, and change to a day train in Glasgow or Edinburgh. Returning south, you need to leave Perth around 21:00 to join the southbound Lowland Sleeper at Glasgow Central near midnight, and reach Euston shortly after 07:00.
1 Perth Railway Station is at the southwest edge of city centre on Leonard St. The station is staffed and fully accessible by wheelchair. There are two entrances, both of which allow car parking. The ticket office, newsagent and café are between platforms 2 and 3. The original main concourse was between the current platforms 4 and 7 and the station was covered by a large overall roof, which still exists in a reduced form. At one time there were nine platforms as it once boasted more services in the past to serve the smaller branch lines running throughout Perthshire.
Perth bus station is on Leonard Street, 200 yards north of the railway station.
Megabus and Citylink buses run from Aberdeen, Dundee, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Inverness and Stirling. There are buses to Oban from May until October. Megabus does not call at the bus station - it drops you at Broxden service area at the A9 / M90 junction, which has a frequent Park & Ride bus into town.
Megabus and National Express Bus NX590 (daytime) / 592 (overnight) takes 11 hours from London Victoria via Carlisle and Glasgow to Perth, continuing to Aberdeen (another 2 hr). The overnight bus also calls at London Heathrow.
From Edinburgh and the east side of England follow M90; from Glasgow and the Midlands follow M80 onto M9 / A9; from Dundee and Aberdeen follow A90 west.
The historic Edinburgh to John O'Groats road passed through Perth but the modern A9 is now a bypass to the west. There's a Park & Ride at Broxden roundabout where the M90 terminates onto A9. There's another on A94 at Scone but you're less likely to approach that way.
By bus: Stagecoach are the main operator, no surprise as the company was founded and maintains its headquarters here. For the football ground take Bus 15 (for Crieff) or 23 (for Aberfeldy). For Scone Palace take Bus 3 (circular) or 58 (for Blairgowrie M-F only).
Taxis are plentiful around town, with ranks outside the station, the Caledonian Cinema and next to Tesco Metro on South Street. Local firms include Ace Taxis +44 1738 444000, A & B Taxis +44 1738 446688 and Thistle Taxis +44 1738 441122.
Car hire: you don't need a car in town, but you will to explore rural Perthshire. There's a dozen or more agencies, mostly clustered at Inveralmond near the north end of the city bypass. Europcar have a base on Glasgow St 200 yards north of the railway station.
- 1 Scone Palace, Scone PH2 6BD (2 miles north of Perth off A93), ☏ , ✉ email@example.com. Apr-Oct daily 10:00-17:00. From the 9th C Scone was the centre of a Pictish kingdom and the traditional crowning place of kings upon its "Stone of Destiny" or "Stone of Scone". An Abbey and abbott's palace stood here from the 12th C but were destroyed in the Reformation, so only a few stumps of masonry and the title "palace" remain of this. The building you see nowadays is an imposing Victorian mansion, with a replica of the Stone - the original is in Edinburgh Castle. The Palace has an extensive collection of 17th and 18th C ivory in the State Dining Rooms, 18th century French furniture, a big collection of porcelain, and Queen Victoria's' boudoir. It's set in an extensive park, often used for events, and the autumn colours are glorious. Nov-March the palace is closed but the grounds can still be visited free F-Su 10:00-16:00. Adult £14, conc £11.50, child £9.
- 2 St John's Kirk, St John's Place PH1 5SZ. May-Sep M-Sa 10:00-16:00, Oct-April occasional. This is Perth's oldest building, dating back to 1159, but what you see now is 15th-19th C reconstruction. Note the 15th C brass candelabrum, but other medieval treasures are now in the city museum. Church of Scotland services are Su 09:30 and W 13:00.
- 3 St Ninian's Cathedral, North Methven Street PH1 5PP, ☏ . Daily 09:00-15:00. The Episcopal or Anglican Church was revived in Scotland in the 19th C as part of the "Oxford Movement". This cathedral was built by Butterfield and opened in 1850, with further work continuing int the 20th C.
- 4 The Black Watch Museum, Balhousie Castle, Hay Street PH1 5HR, ☏ , fax: . Daily Apr-Oct 09:30-16:30, Nov-Mar 10:00-16:00. Military history of the 42nd / 73rd Highland Regiments, which amalgamated in 1881 to form The Black Watch. They wore dark plaid, but the name probably arose from Gaelic Am Freiceadan Dubh, the hostile "black watch" of government forces over the Highlanders. They saw action in Egypt, South Africa, two World Wars, and modern conflicts; in 2006 they merged with five other regiments to become the Royal Regiment of Scotland. The castle dates from 1422 but was entirely rebuilt in the 1860s, and refurbished as a museum in the 21st century, with paintings, medals, uniforms and weapons on display. Adult £8.50, conc £6.50.
- 5 Perth Museum & Art Gallery, 78 George Street PH1 5LB, ☏ , fax: . Tu-Sa 10:00-17:00. Collection of Pictish Stones, artwork and information about natural history, human history and archaeology. Free.
- 6 Fair Maid's House (Royal Scottish Geographical Society), 15-19 North Port PH1 5LU. Apr-Oct Th-Sa (plus M F in July & Aug) Tu-Sa 13:00-16:30. The oldest surviving secular building in Perth, parts of the structure date back from 1475. The building was used by Sir Walter Scott as the home of Catherine Glover, the title character of The Fair Maid of Perth. It's now the offices of the Royal Scottish Geographical Society; in summer the visitor centre puts on exhibitions about their work. Donation.
- 7 Fergusson Gallery, Marshall Place PH2 8NS. April-Sept M-Sa 10:00-17:00, Su 12:00-16:30. Small but fascinating collection of the works of JD Fergusson, the Scottish "Colourist" and Perthshire local. Free.
- 8 Branklyn Garden, 116 Dundee Road PH2 7BB, ☏ . Apr-Oct daily 10:00-17:00. Hillside west-facing garden run by National Trust for Scotland. It was developed in the 1920s by John and Dorothy Renton to complement their Arts & Crafts house, with plants from all over the world. Standouts are the rhododendrons, alpines, herbaceous and peat-garden plants. Adult £6.50, NTS / NT free.
- 9 Elcho Castle, Rhynd PH2 8QQ (4 miles east of Perth on south river bank, exit from A912.), ☏ . Apr-Sept daily 09:30-17:30. Z-plan tower house built around 1560, it's been uninhabited for 200 years yet saved from becoming derelict, so it's one of the best examples of its kind. Most of the interior can be accessed though some floors have collapsed. Note also the 16th C dovecot. Adult £6.
- 1 Perth Playhouse, 6 Murray Street PH1 5PJ, ☏ . Seven screen cinema in 1933 Art Deco building. Standard releases.
- 2 Perth Leisure Pool, Glasgow Road PH2 0HZ, ☏ . M-F 10:00-22:00, Sa 10:00-21:00, Su 10:00-17:00. Has training and leisure pools, flumes, slides and an outdoor lagoon.
- Dewars, Glover Street PH2 0TH (next to Leisure Pool), ☏ . Curling and ice-skating centre. The city no longer hosts an ice-hockey team.
- 3 Noah's Ark, Old Gallows Road PH1 1QE (No access from A9, take lane off Fittis Rd), ☏ . Indoor karting, golf driving range, children's indoor soft play, ceramics centre, and ten pin bowling.
- 4 Kinnoull Hill is the abrupt 728 ft / 222 m hill east of the city, around which the river makes a tight left-hand turn. Walk or off-road bike to the top for good views over the city and county. Just east of the summit, Kinnoull Tower is an 18th century folly teetering on the cliff edge.
- Kinfauns Castle east of Kinnoull Hill is privately owned and can't be visited.
- 5 Moncreiffe Hill is the ridge south of the river and city that makes visitors think they've reached the Highlands, as the M90 climbs from lowland fields towards bluffs and woods. At 732 ft / 223 m it's almost the same height as Kinnoull on the other side of the river, but the views are restricted by the trees until you reach the top. Reach it along Rhynd Road off A912 near M90 jcn 10. Elcho Castle is further down this lane.
- Watch football ie soccer. St Johnstone FC play in the Scottish Premiership, the top tier of Scottish football. Their home ground, capacity 10,000, is McDiarmid Park on Crieff Rd PH1 2SJ, two miles northwest of the centre. Take any bus along Crieff Rd A85.
- 6 Perth Racecourse, Scone Palace Park PH2 6BB. National Hunt horse-racing course, with jumps races April to Sept.
- Scottish Game Fair, Scone Palace, ☏ . First weekend in July. Set in the grounds of the Palace, the Fair includes clay pigeon shooting, gun dogs, fishing, ferreting and falconry, plus exhibitions, children's activities, lots of eating and drinking places, and of course plenty of marketing of the relevant equipment. The next event is postponed from July to 2-4 Oct 2020. Adult one day £18, two £32, three £50.
- Rewind is a music festival at Scone Palace in mid-July. The next event is 23-25 July 2021.
- Perth Highland Games are held in mid-August at Scone Palace. The 2019 event was washed out and the 2020 cancelled over coronavirus, so cross fingers for the next on Sunday 8 Aug 2021, tbc.
There is potential for picking up seasonal work in the many restaurants, hotels and tourists attractions, particularly during the summer. There is also the nearby Cairngorms for skiing in the winter. In the rural areas surrounding Perth it is possible to earn money picking fruit or vegetables.
Unemployment is generally lower than the Scottish average, however many jobs are in retail or hospitality and so do not pay great wages. The biggest employers are Scottish and Southern Energy, Perth and Kinross Council and Aviva Insurance.
- The Farmers Market is held first Saturday of every month except Jan, with an extra market third Sat in Dec. It's in King Edward St and High St 09:00-14:00.
- Cairn O’Mohr Fruit Wines, East Inchmichael, Errol PH2 7SP, ☏ . M-F 09:00-18:00, Sa 10:00-17:00, Su 12:30-17:00. The wines are made from local berries, flowers and leaves, all with distinctive flavours, juicy and aromatic. Tours (Apr-Oct W Sa Su) £7.50, children free..
- Deans, 77 Kinnoull Street PH1 5EZ, ☏ . W-Sa 12:00-14:30, 18:00-20:30, Su 12:00-18:00. Modern Scottish cooking to a consistently high standard.
- 63 Tay Street, 63 Tay Street PH2 6NN, ☏ . Tu W 18:00-21:00, Th-Sa 12:00-14:00, 18:00-21:00. Great food, extensive wine list. It's a small place and rightly popular so you'd better book.
- Bothy Perth, 33 Kinnoull Street PH1 5EN, ☏ . Su-W 10:00-23:00, Th-Sa 10:00-00:30. Bistro with traditional Scottish and European dishes, the haggis earns especial praise. mains £13 - £25.
- Manzil, 13 York Place PH2 8EP, ☏ . Daily 17:00-23:00 plus F Sa 12:00-14:00. Indian restaurant, the buffet is popular but has limited veggie options.
- Cafe Tabou, 4 St John's Place PH1 5SZ, ☏ . M-Sa 10:00-21:00, Su 12:00-20:00. A good value French restaurant in town centre. Changed owners in Oct 2018 but definitely no loss of standards.
- La Serie A, 24-26 Kinnoull Street PH1 5EX, ☏ . Daily 16:30-22:00. Good food at very reasonable prices. The takeaway sits next to the restaurant. The pizzas and pastas are named after Italian football teams.
- Jade Garden, 14 Scott Street PH1 5EJ (within St John's Shopping Centre), ☏ . M-Sa 12:00-14:00, 17:00-00:00, Su 17:00-00:00. Popular Chinese restaurant, also offers Indonesian and Thai.
- Pacos Restaurant, 3 Mill Street PH1 5HZ, ☏ . daily 12:00-22:00. "American themed" they call themselves, but it's more quirky than that. The food usually pleases: pastas, pizzas, seafood, Mexican dishes, burgers and steaks.
- Mae Ping (formerly Krung Thai), 161-165 South Street PH2 8NY, ☏ . M-Th 17:30-20:30, F Sa 17:30-21:45. Usually get good reviews for its Thai food.
- Café Breizh, 28 High Street PH1 5TQ, ☏ . Daily 11:30-21:00. Breizh refers to Brittany, but it's excellent French cuisine not particularly influenced by that region. Pre-theatre menu available Su-F 17:00-18:30.
- The Mexican, 24-26 Atholl Street PH1 5NP, ☏ . W-F 17:00-21:00, Sa Su 12:00-20:00. Good Mexican, menu also has Cajun and Texmex dishes. £15-£20.
- Tabla Indian Restaurant, 173 South Street PH2 8NY, ☏ . Su-W 17:00-22:00, Th-Sa 12:00-14:00, 17:00-22:00. Tablas are hand drums. This place has a wide-ranging menu and gets consistently great reviews for its food.
- The Venue, 38 St John Street PH1 5SH, ☏ . Su-W 12:00-02:00, Th-Sa 12:00-03:00. Cocktail bar rather than a pub, with comfy sofas and a great selection of spirits. Try the Scottish tapas. Live music some nights.
- Kirkside Bar, 9 St John's Place PH1 5SZ, ☏ . M-Th 11:00-23:00, F Sa 11:00-00:30, Su 11:00-21:00. Nice cosy little pub in the town centre, good prices. Run by same group as Greyfriars and Forty Four sports bar.
- Ormonds Bar, 273 High Street PH1 5QN, ☏ . Daily 10:00-23:00. Friendly no-nonsense pub with a nice beer garden. It's named for Willie Ormond (1927-1984) who played with distinction for Hibernian, but is best known as St Johnstone FC's most successful manager and then 1973-77 as manager of Scotland.
- Greyfriars Bar, 15 South Street PH2 8PG, ☏ . M-Th 16:00-23:00, F Sa 12:00-00:00, Su 12:00-18:00. Nice wee pub with cask conditioned ales.
- The Foundry, 3 Murray Street PH1 5PJ, ☏ . Su-W 11:00-23:00, Th-Sa 11:13:30. Built on the site of the old Perth Foundry, and next to the Caledonian Cinema. A Belhaven pub, decent beer but the place is poorly run, staffing insufficient and some disappointing food.
- The Twa Tams, 79 Scott Street PH2 8JR, ☏ . Su-W 11:00-23:00, Th-Sa 11:00-00:15. Fun place but not for a quiet chat, there's live music most nights.
- Sandeman, 14 Kinnoull Street PH1 5EZ, ☏ . M-W 10:00-23:00, Th-Sa 10:00-00:00, Su 11:00-23:00. This handsome building is the former Sandeman Library, converted into a modern pub. Nice for a drink but the food is worth a miss.
- That Bar / Loft Nightclub, 145 South Street PH2 8NY, ☏ . Bar W Th Su 21:00-00:00, F 17:00-00:30, Sa 13:00-00:30. The bar is the antechamber and liquoring-up place for the nightclub upstairs, gets a lot of hen and stag parties. The nightclub is open W-Su 23:30-02:30.
- Old Ship Inn, 31 High Street PH1 5TJ, ☏ . M-Th 11:00-23:00, F Sa 11:00-00:00, Su 12:30-23:00. The smallest pub in Perth, in an alley off High Street. Human- and dog-friendly.
- 1 Almond Villa Guest House, 51 Dunkeld Road PH1 5RP (Main road a mile north of centre), ☏ . Little gem of a B&B in Victorian house, lovely owners, great reviews for comfort, service and cleanliness. B&B double £70.
- Best Western Queen's Hotel, Leonard Street PH2 8HB, ☏ . Check-in: 16:00, check-out: 11:00. Tired old hotel, good location by railway and bus stations though this does mean noise. 51 en suite bedrooms, the leisure club and pool have closed. Pets not accepted, use standard public parking. B&B double £105.
- Salutation Hotel, 34 South Street PH2 8PH, ☏ . Showing its age, and some rooms not accessible with restricted mobility, but clean and comfy. B&B double £85.
- Lovat Hotel, Glasgow Road PH2 0LT, ☏ . Tatty dingy place, offhand service. New owners since Sept 2019, they need to get a grip fast. On main road half a mile west of centre near Infirmary. B&B double £100.
- Mercure Perth Hotel (City Mills), West Mill Street PH1 5PQ, ☏ . Set in a 15th century watermill, you can still watch the water trickling through the original water wheel from the garden, reception area and Lounge Bar. Beautiful gardens and a medieval function room. Accommodation and service reflect a slick chain offering. Main customer gripe is the limited hotel free parking, late arrivals often have to use the public pay and display. B&B double £120.
- Sunbank House Hotel, 50 Dundee Road PH2 7BA, ☏ . The hotel, built in 1853, is in its own grounds with a large private car park, a short walk to city centre. Gets great reviews for comfort, service, cleanliness and location. B&B double £100.
- 2 Perth Skylodge, Perth Airport, Scone PH2 6PL, ☏ . Basic hotel at the airfield 4 miles east of town centre, limited bus service so you need your own transport. B&B double £50.
- 3 Leonardo Boutique Huntingtower Hotel (formerly Best Western), Crieff Road PH1 3JT (four miles NW of centre), ☏ . Country house hotel, clean, spacious and welcoming. B&B double £120.
- 4 Murrayshall Country House Hotel, Murrayshall Rd, Scone PH2 7PH (A mile east of Scone village), ☏ . Upscale hotel and golf resort. Double (room only) from £120.
- 5 Ballathie House, Kinclaven, Stanley PH1 4QN, ☏ , ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org. Splendid place built in 1880 for aristocratic Dundrearies to shoot fish in the adjacent Tay. Mixture of modern and traditional decor in the main house, riverside annexe and lodge. Scottish cuisine to a high standard. B&B double £75.
Perth is mostly safe even at night.
- Go east to rejuvenated Dundee, then explore the coast towards Aberdeen.
- Southwest brings you via Gleneagles and Stirling to Glasgow.
- The Highlands start a few miles north at Birnam. The road leads through Pitlochry and Blair Atholl then climbs over the bleak moor to Aviemore.
|Routes through Perth|
|merges with / ←||N S||→ Dunfermline → Edinburgh|
|Inverness ← Birnam ←||NW SW||→ Dunblane → Glasgow|
|Aberdeen ← Dundee ←||NE SW||→ merges with|