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Crieff

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Crieff is a small town in Perth and Kinross on the edge of the Scottish Highlands. It's a well-preserved Victorian resort town, along with Comrie to the west. The main reason to visit is to see the terraced gardens of Drummond Castle.

Get in

 Perth is the most convenient railway station, with frequent long-distance connections and onward transport. With a bicycle you could also get off at Gleneagles near Auchterarder, or even at Dunblane.

Stagecoach Perth Bus 15 runs from Perth along A85 to Crieff, taking 50 min, and continuing to Comrie and Dalginross. It runs hourly M-Sa and every couple of hours Sunday.

Docherty's Bus 18 runs every couple of hours M-F from Auchterarder via Tullibardine and Muthill to Crieff. There's only two on Saturday and none on Sunday.

By car follow A9 past Stirling and branch north on A822 at Braco, or from the east take A85 from Perth. If your navigation is good and it's a fine day, A823 is a very scenic route from Dunfermline over Knock Hill to Yetts of Muckart, then through Glen Devon and Gleneagles.

Get around

You can reach the castle and the distillery on foot. You'll want wheels to reach the loch in Glen Turret.

See

  • 1 Drummond Castle Gardens, Muthill PH7 4HZ (2 miles south of Crieff). Easter F-M & May, Sept Oct daily 13:00-18:00, Jun-Aug daily 11:00-18:00. Ornate formal terraced gardens with much topiary, laid out from 1630 and embellished by the Victorians. The castle itself isn't open for visits. Adult £10. (updated Feb 2020)
  • 2 Muthill Old Church is a ruin of a 15th C parish church within the graveyard of the present church. The Tower from the 11th C was originally free-standing. There are many other listed buildings in the village, which is pronounced MOOTH-ull.
  • 3 Millhills Stone Circle is a small ring of stones of uncertain date, off B8062 just west of Pow Water. Half the fun is finding it, as the stones are low and often obscured by crops.
  • Comrie is an attractive little village 7 miles west of Crieff on A85. It sits on the Highland boundary fault line and is the most tremor-prone place in Britain, but they're obviously minor as so many historic buildings stand unscathed. These include the White Church, the grandiose Gothic Parish Church, and a Rennie Mackintosh shop with a turret on the main street. Glen Lednock to the north is a scenic walk, with the river cascading over "The De'il's Cauldron". On B827 a mile south of the village, Cultybraggan Camp is a collection of Nissen huts that once housed the most fervent Nazi POWs, and later became a secret bunker for a post-nuclear command centre.

Do

  • 1 Glen Turret Distillery, The Hosh PH7 4HA (north of town along Barvick Burn), ☏ +44 1764 656565. Daily 10:00-17:00. It claims to be the oldest distillery in Scotland, but if so, it wasn't legal before 1775. They produce Glenturret Single Malt, but much of their output is blended into The Famous Grouse. Nowadays they play down that connection, and seem to be the better for it: tours since the change of focus have been much more enjoyable. There's a restaurant, closed until summer 2020 for refurbishment. Standard tour £10. (updated Feb 2020)
  • "Lady Mary's Walk" is a genteel scenic stroll along the River Earn for a mile or so west of town.
  • 2 Glen Turret is an attractive valley north of Crieff. You can drive up the lane as far as the reservoir dam, which creates the loch. A track leads up the glen and onto a ridge, from where you can reach the top of Ben Chonzie, a Munro of 931 m (3054 ft).
  • Crieff Golf Club is at the north end of town. The Ferntower course is 6091 yards, par 71, £40 a round. The Dornock is nine holes, so two circuits make 6540 yards, par 64.
  • Skydive at 3 Strathallan, which has tandem and beginner courses plus regular jumps for the experienced. Spectators welcome (no pets or alcohol) though you don't see much until the canopies approach for landing. Strathallan Castle opposite the airfield is a private residence and you can't visit.
  • Crieff Highland Gathering is held in mid-August. The next event is Sun 16 Aug 2020.
Blackford Highland Games (a few miles south) are held in late May; the next event is expected to be Sat 29 May 2021, tbc.

Buy

  • 1 Caithness Glass, Muthill Rd PH7 4HQ, ☏ +44 1764 654014. Shop daily 09:00-17:00. Caithness Glass is no longer made in Caithness, and the company of that name went bust. It was bought up in 2006 by Darlington Crystal and nowadays makes glass paperweights and similar artwork at this small factory in Crieff. There's a gallery where you can view the process (M-F 13:00-16:00) and even make your own paperweight with prior notice. (updated Feb 2020)

Eat

  • Yann's at Glenearn House: this Victorian mansion on Perth Road has accommodation, but you come for the excellent restaurant, open W-Su 18:00-21:00 (+44 1764 650111).
  • Gurkha's, 3 East High St PH7 3AF, ☏ +44 1764 650350. W-M 16:30-22:30. Good Indian and Nepalese food, and the servings are huge. (updated Feb 2020)
  • Other Asian sit-in choices along High St are A&M Tarka House and Thai Esan. Royal China and Royal Tandoori are just takeaways, as is Orchid on King St.
  • Other continents' cuisines are at KB's Italian, Craobh, and Delivino. Crieff Food Co is a deli with a cafe.

Drink

  • Bars along main drag are Pretoria, The Quaich and The Square. Station Bar is further south along King St.
  • Tower Gastro Pub at 81 East High St has a restaurant and rooms.

Sleep

  • 1 Braidhaugh Lodge & Caravan Park, South Bridgend PH7 4DH, ☏ +44 1764 652951. Open all year with caravan pitches, wigwams, glamping pods and lodges; they don't offer self-camping. Wigwams £50, pods £90. (updated Feb 2020)
  • 2 Crieff Hydro, Ferntower Rd, Crieff PH7 3LQ, ☏ +44 1764 655555. Opened in 1868, applying a mixture of healthy activity and dingbat spa therapies to jaded Victorians. It still majors on outdoor activities, in a great hillside location. Some areas are modernised, some remain in period and others are frankly tired. It often has groups in, can get noisy. They also run the Hydro in Peebles. B&B double £150. (updated Feb 2020)
  • 3 Knock Castle Hotel, 40 Drummond Terrace PH7 4AN, ☏ +44 1764 650088. Well-run hotel in baronial mansion, comfy and welcoming. B&B double £130. (updated Feb 2020)
  • There's string of B&Bs along the main street A85, while Burrell St A822 has self-catering places.
  • Barley Bree, Willoughby St, Muthill PH5 2AB (opposite Muthill Old Church), ☏ +44 1764 681451. Village inn with excellent rooms and fabulous cuisine. B&B double £90. (updated May 2020)
  • Splurge at 4 Gleneagles Hotel, Auchterarder PH3 1NF (A823 north from A9), ☏ +44 1764 662231. Plush hotel in grand Edwardian building, great comfort, service and food, wide range of outdoor activities. B&B double £420. (updated Feb 2020)

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