The historic town on the edge of the Highlands
Pitlochry is the ideal base to explore the highlands and whisky trail on a driver-guided tour of Scotland.
In the geographical centre of Scotland and set against a backdrop of pine forest hills, Pitlochry is close to the Tummel and Tay rivers' meeting point and spreads along the eastern bank of the Tummel. Water is an important feature of the town, which has distilleries, a hydroelectric power station and plays an essential part in the local salmon's life.
Described by Queen Victoria, following her visit with Prince Albert in 1842, as "one of the finest resorts in Europe." Impressed were she and Prince Albert, they bought a highland estate, Balmoral, around 50 miles away on the Aberdeen road. Balmoral Castle is privately owned by the Queen and is not part of the Crown Estate.
The classic Victorian resort
A brief history of Pitlochry
Initially, little more than a crossing point for a ferry that used to operate over the River Tummel, the town grew in popularity after Queen Victoria's favourable comments. The addition of a railway station brought about a significant increase in visitor numbers.
In 1947, a dam forming part of a hydroelectric power scheme began construction, resulting in an artificial loch, Loch Faskally. Four years later, the Pitlochry Festival Theatre was born, initially in the form of a tent. John Stewart, whose theatre club in Glasgow had closed down. Conceived the theatre idea, but, unable to obtain permission from the authorities to build a theatre, he decided to overcome this hurdle by using an all-weather tent.
The tented theatre operated for some 30 years. It needed substantial renovation, and the decision was then taken to replace it with a permanent structure. The foundation stone was laid by Lord Home in September 1979 - opening exactly 30 years after the first performance in the tent. It is today an important cultural feature in the Perthshire area. It stages a whole host of shows during the summer season.
What to do and see
Pitlochry's stunning setting within lochs, rivers, mountains, and forests is, in itself, a significant attraction. The town retains a fine Victorian charm and is a popular visitor destination with many attractions within both the town and the surrounding area.
Both the towns two whisky distilleries are popular attractions, each being an example of entirely different production methods. The Edradour is the last example of a genuinely traditional distillery. It employs just three men and produces just 12 casks per week. The other, the Blair Athol Distillery, produces some two million litres a year and features the latest whisky production methods. It is owned by Bells, part of the mighty Diageo group.
The Whisky Trail; Please note that the Whisky trail is an easy day tour from Pitlochry. Our Tour-Designers can book private or public tours at most of the distilleries. In any event we will tailor the day to your requirements and make all the arrangements.
Blair Castle has been a home of the Atholl family for seven hundred years. The castle has had a dynamic history, experiencing both turbulent and peaceful times, enlarged and adapted over 700 decades. Home to politicians, soldiers, agriculturalists and a private army. Blair Castle is a 15 minute drive from Pitlochry.
The Power Station Visitor Centre is another top-rated attraction for information on the operation of the hydroelectric generator and the fascinating 'fish pass.' In early summer, visitors can watch the salmon making their way up the ladder to their spawning grounds upstream in the River Tummel.
The summer season of the famous Festival Theatre features a programme that changes daily and is well worth attending.
Within easy access of Pitlochry are several other locations also worth a visit. Among them; Drum Castle, a 13th century keep given to Robert the Bruce; Crathes Castle and Gardens, a 16th-century castle near Banchory; Muir of Dinnet Nature Reserve, an ancient mixed woodland area and Ballater, an old railway and spa town.
Touring and accommodation
Pitlochry sits in centre of Scotland allowing you access to most of the Highlands, the Whisky Trail, St Andrews and Stirling Castle are within reach. For those with limited time is makes sense to stay in Edinburgh and Pitlochry only. This will allow you to tour the Highlights of Scotland. For any itinerary Pitlochry is a town which is useful as a launch pad to exploring large swathes of Scotland including the magnificent Cairngorms National Park and to the south The Trossachs National Park.
Experience 4x4 Off-Road Driving in Scotland, choose between various picturesque sites, including the Pitlochry area.
Within the same region of is Scotland’s greatest resort, Gleneagles Hotel. Our recommended Pitlochry Hotel is Fonab Castle Hotel - Fonab is a short walk from the town centre, and has all the amenities you would expect from a five star property.
Your Highland Touring Base
Easy access to the Whisky Trail and the Highlands
- Festival Theatre
- Stay at Fonab Castle
- Tour Local Historical Sights
- Tour the Whisky Trail
- Enjoy Activities at Blair Castle
Help us make your trip exceptional
Our UK, EU and US office-based staff will listen to what you want to see and experience.
Whether you are a honeymoon couple, a family or a corporate incentive group, our team’s collective resources will be brought together to build the experience that’s right for you.
We will require your arrival and departure dates, details of your personal preferences and places that you would like to visit as well as the events you would like to experience.
We will then prepare a draft itinerary and send it to you by email for your approval. Once agreed, we will send you a Booking Confirmation with Personalised Itinerary and Information Pack via email.