Stagecoach’s ‘Clapham Junction’ – perfect Perth and Peter Pan

In terms of our network of routes within the Great Scenic Journeys collection, Perth is very much a major crossroads, or ‘epicentre’ – the “Clapham Junction of Scotland”! No fewer than 7 fun-filled scenic Stagecoach routes converge in this heritage fuelled city with a modern touch of class – the 23,24 and 27 from Pitlochry, 15/15A from Stirling, 36 from Glenrothes and that iconic traverser of the Forth Road Bridge from Edinburgh – yep, you guessed it, the famous X56. It’s also the birthplace and HQ of the ground-breaking, trailblazing Stagecoach bus company, the purveyor of these scenic sojourns and many more routes across the UK! There’s plenty other famous names to be born here too!

It’s definitely no surprise that Perth is a perfect paradisical purveyor of Great Scenic Journeys. The landscape from all parts to this great City is incredible – lochs, forests, mountains climax in Perth, which is an attraction of its own – a hub for culture, architecture and leisurely walks down the River Tay.

Up the Palace!

Start your action-packed exploration at the iconic Scone Palace. The palace is surrounded by beautiful gardens and offers a glimpse into the country’s royal heritage.  This incredible location resonates with regal grandeur and cultural significance. Once the crowning place of Scottish kings, this majestic palace boasts a rich history dating back to the 12th century. Surrounded by enchanting gardens and scenic landscapes, Scone Palace showcases opulent interiors, including the renowned Long Gallery and State Rooms adorned with priceless artifacts. The palace’s expansive grounds feature the celebrated Murray Star Maze and diverse plant collections.

Take to the Tay for a cultural gem

Stroll along the River Tay, the longest river in Scotland (120 miles), and enjoy the scenic views, as well as surreal serene calm that contrasts with the hustle and bustle of what resides either side of the banks! The Tay is renowned for its salmon fishing. The river hosts a significant salmon run, attracting anglers from around the world.  It is spanned by the historic Smeaton’s Bridge. Built in 1771, this elegant stone bridge adds architectural charm to the cityscape and offers picturesque views of the Tay. Wildlife enthusiasts can spot various bird species, including swans and ducks, along with occasional otters and seals. Then, for a bit of historical charm and a taste of the city’s medieval past, we’d recommend a visit St. John’s Kirk, which is believed to have dated as far back as 1026 (!) and has the most intricate architecture and a becalming atmosphere. The Black Watch Castle and Museum is another “must-see”, providing captivating insight into the military history of Scotland’s oldest Highland Regiment. This really is a trip out with contrasts every step of the way!

John and Dorothy’s delights

Nature fanatics will drool at a visit to Branklyn Garden, a National Trust property and horticultural haven, renowned for its incredibly diverse plant collections. This enchanting garden showcases a ‘Wow Factor’ collection of rare and exotic plants. Established in the 1920s by plant collectors Dorothy and John Renton, Branklyn delights visitors with vibrant floral displays, including azaleas, rhododendrons, and alpine treasures, winding pathways and charming vistas. Your head will be soothed by the gifts of Dorothy and John, but for a bit more whirring energy and din, then check out Perth Concert Hall which is a hub for cultural events, featuring live performances and exhibitions. From classic comedy to concerts, family fun and festivals. This is the most eclectic of places for thrills and entertainment in a fabulous auditorium. Peruse the latest listings at What’s On at Perth Concert Hall and Perth Theatre (perththeatreandconcerthall.com)
Now for a bit more culture and Perth Art Gallery, a cultural gem amid the picturesque landscape, entices visitors with its historic charm, military artifacts and diverse artistic offerings. Housed in a Victorian building, the gallery seamlessly blends tradition with modernity, featuring a curated collection of Scottish and international artworks. From classic paintings to contemporary installations, the gallery invites exploration of varied artistic expressions.  But that’s enough culture-vulture activity for now and for a leisurely afternoon, head to South Inch Park, a vast green space perfect for picnics or a relaxing stroll. As evening falls, consider taking a walk along the city’s High Street, lined with historic buildings and charming shops.
Back to tranquillity and this is never far away in Perth, particularly with a meandering sojourn around Kinnoull Hill Woodland Park which is a soothing setting to the east of Perth opened as Scotland’s first official woodland park in 1991. It includes five hills, Corsiehill, Deuchny Hill, Barn Hill, Binn Hill and Kinnoull Hill and an abundance of flora and fauna, as well as roe deer, red squirrels and excellent open viewpoints across the Perth countryside. The park also features grassy paths and waymarked nature trails through fine mixed woodland of Scots pine, larch, oak, birch and Norway spruce.  Kinnoull Hill Woodland Park offers panoramic views of the city and the surrounding countryside, making it an ideal spot for a hike or a leisurely walk.

Poets, Pop and Peter Pan!

Let’s break off for some titbits about this great City. Perth has been the birthplace or home to several notable individuals throughout history. One prominent figure is Ewan McGregor, the acclaimed actor known for his roles in films such as “Trainspotting,” “Moulin Rouge!,” and his portrayal of Obi-Wan Kenobi in the Star Wars prequel trilogy. McGregor was born in Perth in 1971 and has achieved international recognition for his versatile acting career. Another well-known Perth native is the celebrated Scottish singer-songwriter KT Tunstall. Born in Edinburgh and raised in St Andrews and later Fife, Tunstall spent part of her childhood in Perth. Her breakthrough album, “Eye to the Telescope,” featuring hits like “Black Horse and the Cherry Tree,” brought her widespread acclaim.  Back much further in time, meanwhile, William Soutar, a poet and diarist, was born in Perth in 1898. Although he faced health challenges, his works, including poems and journals, have posthumously earned recognition for their literary prowess.

In the 19th century, Perth gained a peculiar claim to fame as the birthplace of the famous “Kailyard School” of literature. This literary movement, which emerged in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, celebrated rural Scottish life and often featured idyllic portrayals of quaint villages and characters. One of the notable figures associated with this movement is writer James Matthew Barrie, born in Kirriemuir, near Perth. Barrie is best known for creating Peter Pan, but he was also part of the Kailyard School. The term “Kailyard” refers to a kitchen garden where cabbages (kail) are grown, symbolizing the simplicity and charm of rural Scottish life. Despite its popularity, the Kailyard School faced criticism for its sentimentalized depictions of Scottish life.

All this is enough to build a hearty appetite for some local scran and there’s fab places to eat in Perth, ranging from 63 Tay Street with its modern Scottish cuisine and the ‘Just Feed Us Frazer’ five course meal, through to the Bothy Restaurant which serves delicious seafood and grilled meats. One of our favourites is The Roost which is more casual dining with a focus on locally produced ingredients and where the customer service is top notch. Cafe Tabou is great too and another to specialise in local recipes as well as French classics.

There’s really so much to do and see in Perth and it’s the ideal hub for a staycation or brilliant day out. With an amazing appeal for everyone, a combo of a scenic trip on a Stagecoach bus to see the sights in the City from nearby or further afield, really is a great choice any time of year. To plan your adventure, be sure to check out any of these wonderful routes…

23/24/27 Perth – Pitlochry – Great Scenic Journeys

15/15A Perth – Stirling – Great Scenic Journeys

X56 Edinburgh – Perth – Great Scenic Journeys

36 Glenrothes – Perth – Great Scenic Journeys