Perthshire is steeped in history and a huge part of this is the sheer number of historic buildings spread across the beautiful countryside. Many castles and their gardens are situated close to the City so why not base yourself in Perth and take a tour of these stunning buildings?
Housing the excellent Black Watch Museum and Copper Beech Cafe – Balhousie Castle is located in Hay Street, Perth. The castle standing today is a Baronial style mansion built in 1862. The entrance is located in the tower. Viewed from the east side, you can make out some the original castle stonework. The Castle is the regimental headquarters and museum of the Black Watch.
The castle was built in 1631 and was the seat of the Earls of Kinnoull. The castle had a walled enclosure with subsidiary buildings and gardens overlooking the North Inch park. The castle fell into disrepair in the early 19th century, and was extensively renovated in 1862-63 and converted to Baronial style by David Smart. No original features survive except for parts of the original walls on the east side. In 1962, the Castle became the regimental headquarters and museum of the Black Watch.
Huntingtower Castle was a lordly residence for 300 years, from the 15th to the 18th century. It is associated with two noble families: the Ruthvens (later earls of Gowrie) and, following their downfall in 1600, the Murrays (earls of Tullibardine and later dukes of Atholl). Prior to 1600, Huntingtower was known as the Place of Ruthven.
Huntingtower has hosted some famous visitors, and been associated with some dramatic events. Mary Queen of Scots stayed here in 1565, during her honeymoon with Lord Darnley. In 1582, Mary’s son, James VI, was held here against his will by the 1st Earl of Gowrie, in a famous episode known as the ‘Ruthven Raid’. With the downfall of the 3rd Earl in 1600, in an equally bizarre episode called the ‘Gowrie Conspiracy’, the Ruthvens were disinherited and their forfeited castle was renamed Huntingtower.
Scone Palace has an exciting and colourful history as one of Scotland’s most important stately homes. Fifteen hundred years ago it was the capital of the Picts.
In the intervening centuries, it has been the seat of parliaments and the crowning place of the Kings of Scots, including Macbeth and Robert The Bruce. The Palace houses an outstanding collection of antiques, paintings and rare artifacts and the grounds are renowned throughout the world, making the stateley home one of the most popular tourist attractions in both Perth and Scotland.
A visit to Scone Palace would be incomplete without enjoying the wider estate and Palace grounds including the stunning open gardens, they are as splendid as the Palace itself and together form a great day out in Perthshire.
Poised above the River Tay in Perthshire, Scone Palace overlooks the routes north to the Highlands and east through Strathmore to the coast. The Grampian mountains form a distant backdrop, and across the river stands the city of Perth.
Elcho Castle is one of Scotland’s best-preserved 16th-century tower houses. It was built around the time of the Protestant Reformation in 1560 by a member of the family of Wemyss of that Ilk. The family could trace their lineage back to the 12th century. A descendant of the builder of Elcho was created Lord Wemyss of Elcho in 1628 and Earl of Wemyss in 1633.
There is little history attached to the castle. It simply served as a fine house in the country for the laird and his lady, their family and servants, who lived mainly at their chief seat, Wemyss Castle, on the coast of Fife. By the mid-18th century, Elcho was no longer being used as a noble residence at all, but repairs carried out by the 8th Earl in about 1830 secured its future, and in 1929 the 11th Earl entrusted it into state care.
Distance from Perth 20 minutes
Website Address http://www.fingaskcastle.co.uk/
Admission Fee: No Admission to general public
Opening Hours Private Bookings – Weddings and Conferences
Now a popular wedding and conference venue . The First mention of the lands of Fingask occur in the Foundation Charter of the Abbey of Scone in 1115 by Alexander I. St. Peters Well, in the dell below the Castle, has been a place of pilgrimage since the days that pilgrims would land at Port Allan on the Tay to walk to the shrine of St. Queen Margaret at Dunkeld.
The oldest part of the Castle was built by Partick Bruce in 1594. The Threiplands first came to Fingask at the end of the 16th Century, when Partick Threipland married a Miss Bruce. The Bruces had lived at Fingask since at least the 14th Century. During the 18th Century Fingask was plundered and occupied by Government Dragoons.
It was confiscated by the Crown as one of the forfeited estates as a result of the Threipland family’s support of the Jacobite cause. It was repurchased by Sir Stuart Threipland in 1783 and remained in the Threipland family until the early 1920’s when it was purchased by Brian Gilroy who was responsible for extensive renovations and restoration work.
The Castle returned to Threipland ownership in 1968. Eminent visitors have included James VIII in 1716, Bonny Prince Charlie in 1745 and Sir Walter Scott. The Threipland’s unwise political choices and the oddities of life have meant that the Threipland family have bought Fingask four times in the last 400 years!
The island fastness of Lochleven is associated with many colourful events and has been visited by countless distinguished personalities during its history. Some of those taking the boat across Loch Leven came of their own accord, including King Robert Bruce (in 1313 and 1323). Others were held prisoner within the castle’s walls – such as Robert, the High Stewart, in 1369, two years before his coronation as Robert II, the first of the royal house of Stewart.
But the castle will be forever associated in the memory with another Stewart sovereign, Mary Queen of Scots. She first visited in 1561 as a guest of the owner, Sir William Douglas. But her last stay, in 1567–8, was as his prisoner. It was at Lochleven that she was compelled to abdicate her throne in favour of her infant son, James VI. The castle walls held her for less than a year. In May 1568 she escaped across the loch and before that month was out she was in exile in England. She never saw her native land again.
Distance from Perth 30 minutes
Website Address http://www.strathallancastle.co.uk/
Admission Fee: Weddings, Corporate Entertaining, Team Building and Private Dining
Strathallan Castle is a unique Scottish castle venue nestling in the stunning vale of Strathearn, just a stone’s throw from Gleneagles and an hour from Edinburgh and Glasgow. Set amid the picture-perfect Perthshire countryside, at the heart of a 1000-acre estate, this impressive 19th century Baronial castle has been home to our family for over 100 years.
As you emerge from the attractive woodlands and parklands that flank the mile-long, secluded drive, the castle rises elegantly and impressively behind the sparkling waters of a private lochan. Yet there’s no need to stand on ceremony at Strathallan – indeed guests are quick to praise the relaxed, easy charm which rapidly makes them feel just as at home here as we do.
During the 13th century, Strathallan Estate was the seat of the Viscounts – a branch of the Drummond family, three of whom were arrested and charged with being Jacobites.
In 1910, the Viscounts sold the estate to our ancestor Sir James Roberts, and during the First World War Strathallan was used as a Red Cross convalescent hospital for wounded soldiers. The attractive gardens and fresh Perthshire air were no doubt a welcome relief for exhausted, injured soldiers after their appalling experiences in the trenches. Apparently the Scottish troops took great delight in teaching the nurses traditional reels, so dancing at Strathallan is nothing new.
700 YEARS OF SCOTTISH HISTORY ACROSS 30 ROOMS
Discover Blair Castle and go on a journey into the fascinating past of the Dukes and Earls of Atholl. Unique amongst Scottish castles, the story told here will take you from a visit by Mary Queen of Scots to the Civil War, and from the Jacobite cause to the disaster of Culloden following Bonnie Prince Charlie’s own stay in the castle. You’ll hear how the lucky inheritance of a smuggler-infested island helped turn the castle into a comfortable home, and learn how Queen Victoria’s famous stay led to the creation of Europe’s only private army, the Atholl Highlanders.
Dating back to 1269, the castle has been transformed through the ages, from its cold medieval beginnings in a strategic position during political struggles to become a fine Georgian mansion and finally a Victorian castle in the barionial style. These influences can still be seen today across the 30 rooms on full display.