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Pitlochry

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Pitlochry is a town in Perth and Kinross with around 2800 inhabitants. It stands in the valley of the River Tummel, long a major route between the Lowlands and the Highlands and Islands. It grew up as a tourist resort in the Victorian era, especially after the coming of the railway in 1863. Later developments largely passed it by, so it retains its Victorian centre - all the more pleasant since the main road A9 was diverted onto a bypass in 1981.

  • 1 Visit Scotland Pitlochry iCentre, 22 Atholl Road, PH16 5BX, ☏ +44 1796 472215, +44 1796 472751. M-Sa 10:00-16:00. Central, parking available.

Get in

By train

Pitlochry is on the main railway line from Edinburgh and Glasgow via Perth, then north to Aviemore and Inverness, with Scotrail trains every hour or two. Getting here from England usually means changing in Edinburgh, but there is one direct daytime train from London Kings Cross, via York, Newcastle and Edinburgh, taking 6 hours 30 min.

Nightly except Saturday, the Highland Sleeper leaves London Euston around 21:00 to reach Pitlochry by 06:00 on its way to Inverness. The southbound sleeper picks up around 22:45, reaching Euston by 08:00. You might prefer to take the Lowland Sleeper towards midnight and change in Edinburgh for a daytime train. Returning south, you need to leave Pitlochry around 20:30 to pick up the Lowland Sleeper from Edinburgh around 23:30.

1 Pitlochry Railway Station is in the village centre.

By bus

Most of the buses along the A9 bypass Pitlochry, and there's usually only one or two Citylink buses per day from EdinburghGlasgow and Perth.

Get around

  • The best way to get around the local area is by car.
  • Local buses are run by Stagecoach. Some useful routes are bus 24/27 from Perth via Dunkeld to Pitlochry (M-Sa hourly, 3 on Sunday); and bus 87 from Pitlochry to Blair Atholl and Calvine, every couple of hours.
  • 1 Escape Route, 3 Atholl Road, PH16 5BX, ☏ +44 1796 473859. M-Sa 09:00-17:30. Bike hire is available from this bicycle shop on main road. £24 for 24 hours, or £18 until closing time. Hire includes helmet, pump, spare tubes & tyre levers.

See

  • 1 Pitlochry Dam and Fish Ladder, Pitlochry, PH16 5DR, ☏ +44 1796 472680. Pitlochry Dam was completed in 1951, blocking the River Tummel to create Loch Faskally, 5 km long. The dam incorporates a fish ladder (with windows to view underwater) to enable salmon to continue making their way upstream. The dam complex generates hydro-electric power for the National Grid.

Do

  • 2 Festival Theatre, Port Na Craig, PH16 5DR, ☏ +44 1796 484626. There's a programme of theatre year-round, and Pitlochry Festival has been held each summer since 1951 - for its first 30 years in a marquee, now in this theatre. The summer programme runs June-Sept each year.
  • 3 Edradour Distillery, Pitlochry, PH16 5JP (Off A934, 2 miles up hill east of town), ☏ +44 1796 472002. Tours mid-April - Oct M-Sa 10:00-16:00, Nov - mid-Apr M-F 10:00-15:00. Edradour, founded in 1825, produces a range of single malt Scotch whiskies: expert tasters use descriptions like rum, caramel, fruity, sweet. It's said to be the smallest legal whisky distillery in Scotland. The minimum used to be 1800 litres still capacity - anything smaller was likely to be producing moonshine - but a 2009 legal case threw out the minimum and opened the way to micro- or "craft / boutique" distilleries. Adults £10.
  • 4 Blair Athol Distillery, Perth Road, PH16 5LY (On A924 half a mile east of town), ☏ +44 1796 482003. Daily Oct-Jun 10:00-17:00, July-Sept 10:00-18:30. It's owned by Diageo and most of the product is blended, but they do issue a single malt, the 12 year old Blair Athol. The pricier the tour, the more whisky you sample, from the standard at £9.50 up to the "Experience" at £250. As they sagely point out, "please ensure you make suitable transport arrangements." Standard tour £9.50.
  • Walk: lots of routes nearby. The signature hike in Pitlochry is up Ben Vrackie (841 m, a Corbett). The hike starts close to the Moulin Brewery and Hotel, taking 4 hours return through woodland and open heath to the last steep scramble. Easy in summer, in winter it's icy; see Walkhighlands for a route description.
  • Cycle or drive the scenic old road through the Pass of Killiecrankie, B8019. It's especially attractive in autumn.
  • March into Pitlochry is a live music festival for charity in late March. The next event is 27-29 March 2020.
  • Pitlochry Highland Games are held early Sept in the Recreation Park. The next event is Sat 12 Sept 2020.
Strathardle Highland Gathering is in late Aug at Bannerfield Strathardle, six miles east of Pitlochry towards Bridge of Cally. The next event is Sat 22 Aug 2020, adult £6.
  • Enchanted Forest is a sound & light show held in autumn in Faskally Forest, a mile north of Pitlochry on B8019. The next event is 1 Oct - 1 Nov 2020, adult £21.

Buy

  • 1 Moulin Brewery, Kirkmichael Rd, Moulin PH16 5EW, ☏ +44 1796 472196, ✉ enquiries@moulinhotel.co.uk. A small brewery next to the Moulin Hotel; its brews are Ale of Atholl, Braveheart, Old Remedial and Light Ale.There are free tours M-F 10:00-16:00.
  • The Co-op supermarket is in town centre at the foot of West Moulin Road (A924). It's open daily 06:00-23:00.

Eat

  • 1 Cafe Biba, 40 Atholl Road, PH16 5BX, ☏ +44 1796 473294. Daily 09:30-20:30. Traditional fare.
  • 2 McKays, 138 Atholl Road, PH16 5AG, ☏ +44 1796 473888. McKays has a restaurant, pub with bar food & live music and TV sport, fish & chips takeaway. It's also a 3-star hotel, doubles from £60 pn. They own Caffe Scozia opposite.
  • Caffe Scozia, 113 Atholl Road, ☏ +44 1796 472469. M-Th 10:00-21:00, F-Su 12:00-21:00. Pizzeria in the former Strathgarry Hotel, now run by McKays. Pizza & pasta dishes £12.
  • The Auld Smiddy, 154 Atholl Road, PH16 5AG, ☏ +44 1796 472356, ✉ info@auldsmiddyinn.co.uk. From 11:00, bar from 12:00. An old forge that has been refurbished and is now a cafe. Sandwiches and traditional fare. Wheelchair accessible.
  • For Asian food, there's Prince of India at 5 Station Rd (daily 12:00-23:00), and Bamboo House takeaway at 48 Atholl Rd (Su M W Th 15:30-23:00, F Sa 12:30-23:00).

Drink

  • The Old Mill Inn (see "sleep") usually has live music Fridays and Saturdays.

Sleep

  • There's a series of small guest houses dotted along the main road.
  • 1 Pitlochry Backpackers Hotel, 134 Atholl Road, PH16 5AB, ☏ +44 1796 470044. Twin, double and dorm rooms are available plus a wonderful sunny lounge, overlooking the main street. From £20 pp.
  • 2 Fishers Hotel, 75-79 Atholl Road PH16 5BN, ☏ +44 1796 472000, ✉ gm.fishers@crerarmgmt.com. Central reliable 3-star. B&B doubles from £80.
  • 3 Scotland's Hotel, 40 Bonnethill Road, PH16 5BT, ☏ +44 870 950 6276, ✉ Scotlands@crerarhotels.com. 3-star, usually reliable but showing its age. Double B&B from £60.
  • 4 Pitlochry Youth Hostel, Knockard Road, PH16 5HJ, ☏ +44 1796 472308. Great 62 bed hostel near the town centre in a fine stone mansion. Dorm beds from £22.
  • Dundarach Hotel, Perth Rd PH16 5DJ. Gothic but welcoming, central. B&B double from £130.
  • 5 The Old Mill Inn, Mill Lane PH16 5BH, ☏ +44 1796 474020. 4 star hotel with bar. The restaurant gets good reviews. B&B double from £60.
  • 6 Atholl Palace Hotel, PH16 5LX (Drive entrance is just north of rwy bridge), ☏ +44 1796 472400. Splendid 4-star Victorian pile in woodland east of town. B&B double from £120.
  • Killiecrankie Hotel, PH16 5LG (On old road B8079 3 miles north of Pitlochry), ☏ +44 1796 473220, ✉ enquiries@killiecrankiehotel.co.uk. 4-star hotel surrounded by gardens and woodland. Dogs welcome. B&B double from £200.

Go next

  •  Dunkeld and Birnam — to see a tree from Shakespeare's Birnam Wood
  • Blair Atholl — for the Falls of Bruar



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