A popular Highland holiday resort with good road and rail links, Pitlochry offers an excellent Scottish experience amid the hills. Lots of shops, as well as pubs, restaurants, distilleries, local walks and a theatre are just some of its many plus points!
Pitlochry – in the heart of Scotland
A favourite stopping-off place for generations of visitors on the A9, the Highland Road, Pitlochry owes its origins to that very fact that it lies on a main route north – ever since the days of General Wade’s military road. Queen Victoria’s doctor was among many who commented on its healthy airs. Then the railway, which arrived in 1863, soon began to bring plenty of visitors to the developing resort.
Today, the handsome Victorian architecture and some long-established hotels are reminders of the Pitlochry of old, and it still carries a holiday air all year round, its main street usually busy with strolling visitors. Overall, the town offers a traditional Scottish holiday experience and also makes a great touring base.
Accommodation in Pitlochry:
The long established Highland resort of Pitlochry offers an exceptional accommodation choice. Hotels include fine Victorian properties, suitably upgraded, that have attracted a loyal following for generations. There are some beautifully situated guest houses and bed and breakfast accommodation in Pitlochry, most within easy walking distance of the main shopping street. Caravan parks likewise enjoy wooded and sheltered settings in the hills here. Many country cottages, close to the town, have idyllic woodland settings.
The famous salmon ladder, part of the Pitlochry Dam, is easily reached from the main street, with Blair Athol Distillery at the south end of the town and Edradour Distillery a little way above it. Edradour claims to be the smallest distillery in Scotland. The woodland walk to the Black Spout waterfall is also pleasant. The Festival Theatre is a popular summer attraction and a little further afield, Killiecrankie, the Queen’s View and Blair Castle are all worthwhile excursions.
There are lochside and woodland walks in plenty here, with the oakwoods and dramatic river scenery by Killiecrankie especially rewarding, especially in autumn. Ben Vrackie, behind the town, makes a fairly testing longer trek, as do the range of high level walks accessed via Glen Tilt. White-water rafting and other demanding outdoor activities are also on offer in the area, and high level 4 x 4 ‘safaris’ are also popular. As well as local bike hire, more traditional holiday activities such as pony trekking, angling and golf – on the local course sometimes described as the most scenic in Britain – are also easily organised from the town.
Opened as part of the Loch Faskally Dam in 1951, Pitlochry’s famous fish ladder allows salmon to migrate further upstream on the River Tummel. A viewing window allows visitors a glimpse of the fish. This is part of the experience at the Scottish and Southern Energy Visitor Centre. Lots more to discover here both about salmon and about the development of hydro-electric schemes in Scotland.
First opening in 1951, Pitlochry Festival Theatre retains a loyal audience and a special place in Scotland’s annual cultural calendar. The theatre produces a summer repertory season of six plays, with famously high production values attracting high numbers of UK and international visitors. The Theatre is also a venue for a variety of cultural events such as workshops and concerts right through the year. Adjacent is the Explorers Garden, taking as its theme the exploits (and the finds) of the famous Scottish plant hunters.
Busy Pitlochry promotes events all year round with highlights such as the Winter Words Festival (ten days in late Jan, early Feb), with the Pitlochry Festival Theatre spring programme following on. Main season highlights include the Etape Caledonia, currently Britain’s first and currently only closed-road timed cycle event open to the ordinary cyclist and, later, the Pitlochry Highland Games. The Enchanted Forest, an award winning outdoor sound and light show is a special October highlight in Faskally Wood near the town.