If, whilst driving through the central belt of Scotland, you should find yourself stuck behind a tractor despite having followed a sign that clearly stated ‘City Centre’, well friend, you just might be in Perth. A town full of history, bars, eateries and bars, Perth certainly has something to offer all pallets that choose to drop by.
With the approach of the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee this year, Perth has seized the opportunity to reapply for ‘city status’, a distinction it lost back in the late ‘90s along with towns such as Elgin in the north east of Scotland. Many residents and members of the business community in Perth feel that regaining its standing as a city would be a great boon for the local economy.
However, just because this Tay straddling town is relatively small, it doesn’t detract from the bounty of options available to the weekend traveller. Vast amounts of spacious countryside within a few minutes of the centralised town of Perth have earned Perthshire the nickname of ‘The Big County’, and its geographical location (an easy drive from both Edinburgh and Glasgow) have made it something of a hub for tourists, particularly those who opt to drive around Scotland. Here’s a quick idea of some of the things on offer for anyone who may experience car troubles on their way to Edinburgh, and need to kill a little time.
Bars and Restaurants
There’s no shortage of places to take a pit stop in the Fair City for the hungry or thirsty pilgrim, whether it be to refuel with a quick sandwich and coffee, take a little time out for a proper sit down meal, unwind with a quick drink, or unwind more thoroughly with eight or nine drinks. The centre is full of establishments just off of – or within a two minute walk from – the High Street. For those looking to wet their whistle, preferably with something that’s been through a process of fermentation, The Foundry located next to the Playhouse cinema is always a popular choice. Or just across the street is the The Wee Bar, a quaint drinking hole which is attached to The Bothy restaurant, though it probably bears mentioning that this option may be more suited on days when your pockets are slightly heavier with coin. This is perhaps to be expected, however, given the excellent reputation of The Bothy restaurant itself, which is a great option for anyone looking to split the difference between casual dining and a slightly more upmarket experience.
For those looking for a more modern interior, Sportsters, is less than a minute away on South Methven Street. With the usual ‘bar and grill’ style fare on offer, Sportsters has an outdoor area allowing for alfresco drinking and dining should you pop in during the day, and with the recent increase in Perth’s student population (via Perth College) this establishment also boasts one of the more popular nightclubs in town in the form of City, located upstairs from the main bar area.
On the other side of the town centre (still only a few minutes of walking) lies the French restaurant Pig’halle, serving – unsurprisingly – French oriented cuisine. This is for those looking to enjoy a proper meal, rather than a pub lunch or speedy bite on the go, and boasts a menu that will appeal to the ‘classical cuisine’ disciples perhaps more than any other dining establishment in Perth. With the usual lunch offers and ever appetising dinner menus, it has, with good reason, become a popular venue on the Perth scene.
Attractions and Landmarks
When the appetite for food and drink has been sated, one can burn off calories by walking around some ofPerth’s more cultural attractions. If you’re in town looking to catch a show, be it music or comedy, the relatively young Perth Concert Hall enjoys a growing reputation amongst performers across the board, though sadly has also been known to host political conferences.
Culture vultures may be interested to know that Perth Museum and Art Gallery claims to be one of the oldest museums in the UK, focussing mainly on Scottish history and art, and displaying the standard array of old weapons, armour, documents, currency and more. Those, however, who are looking to experience a little more of the countryside don’t need to travel too far to involve themselves either in outdoor sports (there’s plenty of good hiking routes around) or some good old fashioned nature watching. Scone Palace sits just a few short miles out of town (less than ten minutes by car) and states a claim to fame which dates back to the Middle Ages when it was known as Scone Abbey. This was where, upon the famous Stone of Destiny (or Stone of Scone), the Scottish kings were crowned.
With as much beautiful scenery as it has history, Scone Palace is open for general viewing through the Spring and Summer months, as well as playing host to many events throughout the year. So enjoy the history and bohemianesque festivals of Edinburgh, and shop till you drop in the city of Glasgow. But take a moment if you can to stray from the beaten track, and you may just find it worthwhile!