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Perthshire, Scotland

Where the Highlands meet the Lowlands!

Situated in the very heart of Scotland, Perthshire boasts some of the finest and most accessible scenery anywhere in the Scottish Highlands. The region represents the perfect place to find all that you'd expect from a great Scottish holiday. Most of Perthshire is little more than one hour by road or rail from Glasgow or Edinburgh, but it's a world apart.

Towns and places to visit in Perthshire include Aberfeldy, Loch Tay and Glen Lyon, Auchterarder, Gleneagles and the Ochils, Blairgowrie and East Perthshire, Crieff, Comrie and Strathearn, Dunkeld and Birnam, Kinross-shire and Loch Leven, the Fair City of Perth, Pitlochry and Highland Perthshire, and some of the most scenic Scottish glens.

Situated in the geographical centre of Scotland the area has played an important part in the nation's long and turbulent history and many well known historical figures have associations with the county - Ossian, Macbeth, William Wallace, Robert Bruce, Mary Queen of Scots, John Knox, Montrose, Rob Roy Macgregor, Bonnie Prince Charlie and Robert Burns.

Perthshire's outdoors is a mecca for botanists and ornithologists, or for those who simply appreciate the majesty of a landscape of mountain, water, farmlands and forest. In Perthshire you'll find some of the most remarkable trees and woodlands anywhere in Europe. The forests, woods and country gardens offer an unrivalled assortment of glorious greenery - all within easy reach.

Known as 'Big Tree Country', the area is home to the world's highest hedge, Europe's oldest tree, the widest conifer in Britain, the sole survivor from Shakespeare's Birnam Wood and many more fascinating champion trees.

Perthshire is also the irrefutable adventure capital of Scotland. This area sits astride the Highland Boundary Fault, the natural phenomenon which fused the Highlands and Lowlands together many thousands of years ago. Today this same 'Fault' provides the area with a terrific mix of terrain that forms the playground for many outdoor pursuits on land, water and in the air.

Options are almost limitless and you'll find world class fishing; walking routes ranging from waymarked forest trails to lofty treks in the mountains; great cycling routes both on and off road and an unsurpassed range of golf courses to satisfy all abilities.

But there's much more to Perthshire than just mainstream activities - you can revitalise your senses with a spin in a sphere; test your nerve with a spot of cliff jumping and canyoning; enjoy an eagle's eye view with a microlight flight; or simply get closer to nature with a relaxing Highland Adventure Safari.

For lovers of history, Perthshire and surrounds will fill your senses to bursting point - ranging from grand castles and the scenes of epic battles to glorious gardens and spectacular islands.

In Pitlochry, where the Highlands meet the Lowlands, you'll find Killiecrankie a spectacular deep river gorge, cloaked in ancient woodlands, where you'll discover the story of the Jacobite victory at the Battle of Killiecrankie in 1689.

From the handsome exterior to the elegant interior, the House of Dun near Montrose is a splendid sight, dating from 1730, it is an inspiration to anyone interested in homes and interiors. The surrounding estate includes a woodland walk and a recreated Victorian walled garden. From here you will also have access to the spectacular Montrose Basin Nature Reserve.

A landmark building in the life of Mary, Queen of Scots, Falkland Palace is set in the gentle scenery of the Royal Kingdom of Fife. The Palace was the country retreat of the Stewart family and is a stunning example of Renaissance architecture with sumptuous interiors from the 16th century. Stroll around the beautiful gardens and visit the real tennis court built in 1539.

Wandering among the old buildings and cobbled streets of Royal Burgh of Culross on the River Forth is like stepping back into the 16th and 17th centuries. You can explore the splendid refurbished palace and gardens dating from 1597. Also not to be missed is Inchcolm Abbey, now the best-preserved group of monastic buildings in Scotland. David I established the priory here which became an abbey in 1235.

Lochleven Castle is a late 14th or early 15th century tower which was the setting for the most traumatic year in the life of Mary Queen of Scots. It was here in 1567 that she was imprisoned and forced to abdicate before her dramatic escape a year later.

Of course, no holiday is complete without at least some time allocated for that number one activity ... shopping! And in Perthshire the bargain hunter is spoiled for choice. Perthshire's towns and villages feature an extensive range of specialty shopping outlets. Local crafts people abound and the regular program of fairs and festivals is where to hunt out some truly stunning handcrafted ceramics, jewellery, woollens, leather goods and local arts.

When nature has blessed a region with fertile soils and a mild climate it is little wonder that Perthshire's food and drink produce is so extensive and of internationally renowned quality. Around Perthshire you'll find farms and smallholdings selling their produce directly to the public. The area around Blairgowrie is Europe's center for soft fruit production and a particular feature of the area are the signs at farms inviting you to 'pick your own' strawberries, raspberries, gooseberries, redcurrants, and tayberries.

Perthshire's eating out establishments put the bounteous local produce to good use in the creation of innovative and award winning cuisine. A long tradition of hospitality ensures that visitors get a real taste of world famous Scottish bonhomie. To round off a day in Perthshire the range of nightlife is perhaps surprisingly extensive. Visit during a festival and the choice of evening entertainment is extensive but whatever the time of year there is much to entertain young and old alike.

Step back in time and surround yourself with grandeur both manmade and natural - a visit to this magical region will never be forgotten.

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