Top 10 Cultural Attractions

1) Perth Concert Hall

Description: Welcoming some of the biggest names in music and entertainment from the UK and beyond, Perth Concert Hall is always abuzz with excitement all year round! The venue plays host to everything from pop concerts to famous events such as Southern Fried Festival and Perth Festival of the Arts – and it looks pretty spectacular too!

Distance from Perth City Centre: Less than 1 mile

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Perth Concert Hall first opened its doors in September 2005, and it’s a modern and elegant space which amazes both locals and visitors alike. The building was opened by Her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth II and is run by local charitable organisation, Horsecross Arts – who also run and operate Perth Theatre.

The main stage in the Concert Hall is based in the 1200-seater Gannochy Auditorium which can accommodate events such as concerts, conferences, sports, fashion shows, dinner dances and even motor shows. The building itself won the Scottish Design Awards for Best Building for Public Use in 2007, and it has hosted many large scale events including political party conferences for the Scottish National Party, Scottish Labour and Scottish Conservatives.

There are events on all year round to suit all tastes, including events for children. There are smaller spaces inside Perth Concert Hall often used for workshops and as more intimate venues during festivals such as Southbank Women of the World Festival – which first came to Perth in 2017 and returns again in 2018.

And there is also the ever popular Glassroom Café to enjoy a fine selection of food and drink. Large glass panels let in glorious sunshine and allow visitors to gaze out onto the wonderful Concert Hall Plaza.

So, if you’re interested in taking in a big show or you simply want to marvel at one of the most iconic and stunning modern buildings in the Perthshire, then make sure you pay a visit to Perth Concert Hall!

2) AK Bell Library

Description: A place where you can kick back, relax and lose yourself in the world of books – AK Bell Library has been a cultural hub in the city centre since it opened its doors in 1995. Named after Arthur Kinmond Bell, a man who has played a big part in Perth’s history, the library boasts a large collection of books and a fantastic café. 

Distance from Perth City Centre: Less than 1 mile

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At a time where technology is booming and kids are busier with computer games and the internet rather than reading books, libraries have had to adapt in order to gain the attention of younger audiences. AK Bell Library is a modern public library which boasts a great range of books but also has computers and internet access, as well as an e-library too. Add to that events such as author talks and discussions – the library has certainly moved with the times. 

After opening its doors in 1995, the multi-million pound facility has become a cultural hub for the city centre and beyond, and is one of the many cultural attractions in Perthshire. In 2016, the library’s services were taken over by Culture Perth and Kinross who have invested time and money into making AK Bell Library even more enticing. 

A great place to study or learn, the library has free WiFi as well as computers with internet access. There are an abundance of books to whet your appetite, whether you are looking to get lost in some fine fiction novels or read up on the many academic titles available. The library encourages people to start their own book groups and is also open to children to join too. 

As well as great books for reading, AK Bell Library also boasts the brilliant Café Culture too. Serving up a host of delicious soups, hot filled rolls, sandwiches and other refreshments, it’s the perfect place to go with one of the library’s books to have a quiet read and a bite to eat. Since Culture PK took over the running of the library, they’ve modernised and revamped the café making it a delightful spot to take a break and enjoy some great food. You can also purchase gifts, cards and stationary from the café too. 

So, while you’re in Perth make sure you visit what is a fantastic hub of culture based right in the city centre! 

3) Birnam Arts

Description: A venue designed for multi-purpose use including art, conferencing and entertainment, the Birnam Arts Centre is a fantastic attraction for all the family. The centre includes the renowned Beatrix Potter Exhibition which celebrates the writer’s links to the local area. 

Distance from Perth City Centre: 14 miles

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Birnam Arts is a community owned and run facility which has charitable status. The centre boasts a 170-seat auditorium, foyer café, meeting rooms and the Beatrix Potter Exhibition – which celebrates the famous writer’s time in the local area which was the inspiration behind her tales of Peter Rabbit. 

Situated in Dunkeld and Birnam in the heart of Highland Perthshire, the centre was set-up with the aim of delivering an arts and community workshop programme with performances and workshops covering a wide range of interests. It’s a not-for-profit, charitable trust and all profits from the areas of the business such as the café, shop or conferences goes straight back into the arts community programme, helping the centre to hire out its facilities to local community groups at a reduced rate. 

The cultural and creative hub welcomes locals and tourists alike to come in at the weekend for creative workshops. There are a host of different workshops run by the centre, including dance, languages, sculpting and singing. 

For the children, there’s always something fun for them to do at the Beatrix Potter Exhibition. A real favourite with the little ones, activities including dressing up to become Mrs Tiggy-Winkle, Peter Rabbit and Jeremy Fisher, or if they prefer, just sitting down to watch the stories unfold. There’s also drawing, colouring and jigsaw puzzles too. There are also baskets full of Beatrix Potter’s much-loved books for the children to spend hours reading. The exhibition really recreates the Victorian world that Beatrix herself grew up in. 

The centre boasts their fabulous Foyer Café, where you can pop in for some delicious breakfast, grab a coffee accompanied by a selection of tremendous home-baking or enjoy a light lunch whilst browsing on the free WiFi. There’s also monthly art exhibitions upstairs in the centre, where you can browse before heading to Potter’s Junction – the centre’s gift shop – to purchase something special for either yourself or your loved ones. 

A cultural hub in Highland Perthshire, Birnam Arts is always busy with things for you and your kids to do. Art, entertainment, workshops and the fantastic Beatrix Potter Exhibition, all accompanied by the fantastic Foyer Café, make sure you pop along for a visit while in Perthshire! 

4) Fergusson Gallery

Description: A gallery devoted to one of Scotland’s most important and influential artists, the Fergusson Gallery is a beautiful building located next to the River Tay with the city’s South Inch a stone’s throw away. The gallery is devoted to the works of Scottish Colourist, John Duncan Fergusson, and his wife, Margaret Morris. 

Distance from Perth City Centre: Less than 1 mile

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The Fergusson Gallery boasts a vast collection of JD Fergusson’s artwork and associated archive, offering a detailed and in-depth picture of the man himself and his wife, Margaret Morris. The building itself was designed in 1830 by then Perth Academy rector, Dr. Adam Anderson, and was built in 1832 as a water works. It was one of the earliest cast iron buildings in the world. 

133 years later, the building became redundant and the water board moved to another premises in Perth. It then became Perth Tourist Centre before once again becoming redundant and then, in 1991, Perth and Kinross Council were gifted the largest collection of work by John Duncan Fergusson. It was then that the building became the Fergusson Gallery. 

In 2010, the Margaret Morris Archive was gifted to the gallery meaning that the creative couple’s works were both on display in the old Watertower. The collections include sketchbooks, costume, correspondence and photography as well as the artwork, and it also tells a touching love story between Fergusson and Morris who were together for nearly fifty years. 

Art-lovers can marvel at the work of one of Britain’s most important and influential colourists in the first half of the 20th century. Fergusson had ancestral links to Perthshire, but was born in Edinburgh and spent most of his life in France. Situated in Perth’s city centre, it’s one of the magnificent cultural attractions run by Culture Perth and Kinross. 

So, when you’re in Perth make sure you absorb some culture and take in a stunning display of art from one of our country’s finest colourists. 

5) Perth Theatre

Description: Having reopened its doors to the public last year following a £16.6m transformation, Perth Theatre is an integral part of Perth’s cultural quarter and is a building steeped in rich history. It is one of Scotland’s oldest and most-loved theatres and has been at the heart of the city since it opened in 1900.

Distance from Perth City Centre: Less than 1 mile

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The category B listed building is operated by Horsecross Arts, alongside sister venue Perth Concert Hall. It’s known for having some of the finest acoustics in Europe and over the years has put on many tremendous productions, historically hosting the Perth Panto which returned to the venue last Christmas with the production of Aladdin.

The theatre has undergone a £16 million transformation and was closed from January 2014 until November 2017. A new entrance has been created on Mill Street, and the original auditorium has been restored to its previous condition.

The building opened in 1900 and over the years Perth Theatre has welcomed some of the country’s finest performers. Perthshire’s very own Ewan McGregor started his career at Perth Theatre, and has gone on to be one of the world’s most famous actors. Other big names such as Donald Sutherland, Alec Guinness and Edward Woodward have also performed at the theatre. It was also home to the Perth Youth Theatre, with Rhod Sharp, Colin McCreadie, Stuart Cosgrove and Sally Reid among its alumni.

As well as fantastic performances all-year-round, Perth Theatre also has a fabulous new café offering up some of the best food and drink that the area has to offer.

Soak up the culture when you’re in Perthshire by visiting our historic Theatre. Take in a play, or just take a look around and grab a bite to eat. And remember to stick around and visit our fabulous local independent retailers too!

6) Library of Innerpeffray

Description: Travel back in time to the 17th century and lose yourself in the history of Scotland’s oldest free, public lending library. The Library of Innerpeffray is a museum where you can quite literally touch the past. Founded in 1680, the library is steeped in history from Roman to more modern times and offers visitors a unique and unforgettable experience of Scottish history and heritage.

Distance from Perth City Centre: 16 miles

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The Library of Innerpeffray was founded by David Drummond, 3rd Lord Madertie, in the 1680s and was Scotland’s first free public lending library. At that time, making books available to ordinary people free of charge was completely unprecedented and the library was clearly well ahead of its time. 

The library boasts a wide collection of books dating from the 16th and 17th centuries to the modern day. There are a wide variety of subjects such as witchcraft, animals, farming and medicine, as well as books on European history – it truly is an opportunity to actually hold and read historic volumes! 

Visitors to the Library of Innerpeffray are welcome to browse and read any of the books in the collection when they visit and advance notice isn’t required, although it’s helpful for the staff to know beforehand if there are specific books that you wish to look at as sometimes books can be loaned to other museums throughout the year. Many of the books are very old and could also be under repair. 

Perhaps the library’s most treasured book is the original Borrowers’ Register. This is a handwritten record of the names of all the locals who’ve came to choose a book and taken something home to read. People from all over the world visit to try and find their ancestors on the register, and can literally read their handwriting dating back over 300 years and can also hold the very books that their ancestors borrowed. 

Situated in a tranquil, rural environment by the River Earn, the Library of Innerpeffray is a completely unique experience and an opportunity to literally go back in time and explore the books and people of centuries before our time.  

7) Perth Museum & Art Gallery

Description: Based in the city centre just a few hundred yards from the concert hall, Perth Museum and Art Gallery is the main museum and exhibition space in the city. One of Scotland’s oldest established museums, it’s home to a range of inspiring collections as well as welcoming touring exhibitions, talks and events.

Distance from Perth City Centre: Less than 1 mile

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With collections ranging from portraits and photographs to meteorites and fossils, there’s guaranteed to be displays to suit all tastes that will capture the imagination of individuals and families alike. The museum takes you on a journey through time, and helps you to discover Perth’s local and natural history while enjoying yourself in the process. 

The museum’s Natural History section has a large collection of insects as well as fossils, plant collections and the famous Strathmore Meteorite – a must see for anyone interested in space and what goes on light years from planet Earth. The Archaeology section has plenty of ancient objects including a Bronze Age sword, and you can marvel at a mummified body in the Egyptian collection. 

Events are held throughout the year, and the museum also welcomes touring exhibitions at different times too. The changing programme of exhibitions, talks, tours and events are inspired by the very best of the museum’s Recognised Collection of National Significance to Scotland – celebrating the rich culture and history of the Perthshire area. 

Perth Museum and Art Gallery is family-friendly too – with interactive trails, puzzles and games, keeping the youngsters entertained while also helping them to learn. The kids will be fascinated by the different collections and exhibitions on display and will be begging you to bring them back time and time again. 

The museum shop will offer you the opportunity to pick up a memento of your visit, with a range of delightful gifts and souvenirs to choose from. Best of all entry to the museum is free, so you can enjoy the collections and art without being out of pocket. Certain touring exhibitions will have some costs however. The museum itself is located in the Marshall Monument and was opened as a library and museum in 1824. It was made a category B listed building in May 1965. 

So, while you’re in the city centre pop into Perth Museum and Art Gallery for an insight into history and culture – you’ll learn a lot and have a good time while doing so! 

8) Perth Playhouse

Description: An independent cinema situated in city centre, Perth Playhouse has been at the heart of the community since its opening in 1933. There are seven screens, including the brand-new IMAX screen in theatre room one. The cinema showcases some of the world’s biggest blockbusters and is a real hit with locals and tourists alike.

Distance from Perth City Centre: Less than 1 mile

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Perth Playhouse has been a huge part of the community of Perth for almost a century. The cinema regularly shows the biggest movies from across the globe, and within its seven screens boasts the fantastic IMAX system, 3D viewings and luxurious seating. 

The cinema was the first independent cinema in the UK to have IMAX screenings within its facilities, and the fourth cinema in Scotland. Each screen differs in size and capacity, with screen one being the largest and the theatre room which hosts the IMAX screenings. 

As well as showcasing the best films, the Playhouse also host a number of events and competitions. The Big County Small Films competition allows local children from schools throughout Perth and Kinross to enter their own short films, with the best films shortlisted for screening at the cinema and the best receiving prizes.  

Among the cultural events that the Playhouse host are showings from the National Live Theatre, The Metropolitan Opera, and performances from the Royal Opera House season. There are also regular showings from the Royal Shakespeare Company and the Bolshoi Ballet on the cinema’s screens too. 

Aside from the film and entertainment on offer, there’s also the fantastic City Café at the Perth Playhouse. From lattes to modern craft coffee, they choose only the finest beans, with passionate baristas serving every cup with a smile. The café is also perfect for having a casual snack prior to seeing your movie or for a scoop or two of ice-cream! They also stock cakes and treats produced from some of our city’s best independent bakeries. 

For a family day out or for a trip to see some of the world’s biggest blockbusters – Perth Playhouse is the ideal location for movie fanatics or culture seekers alike! 

9) Pitlochry Festival Theatre

Description: Set into the hills of Highland Perthshire, Pitlochry Festival Theatre holds a unique place in Scottish culture, with a talented cast and crew producing shows all-year-round guaranteed to entertain their audiences. They draw over 100,000 visitors each year from throughout the UK and abroad and their unique repertoire system allows theatre goers to enjoy a different show every night of the week!

Distance from Perth City Centre: 27 miles

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Pitlochry Festival Theatre is famous for its large scale productions, beautifully detailed sets and delightful costumes – with performances delivered to an international standard. The perfect place for those seeking culture and those who simply love theatre! 

The setting couldn’t be any more stunning, situated in amongst the hills of Highland Perthshire; it truly is a picturesque and unique location. PFT stage their shows throughout the year, with their Summer Season running from May to October, followed by their autumn and Christmas programmes.  

As well as fantastic, home-produced shows, PFT also have a year round programme of tours, talks, concerts, events, music and workshops – so it’s always busy at Scotland’s ‘Theatre in the Hills’. There’s something to suit everyone’s tastes, from comedies to period dramas, and fabulous musicals and concerts to thought provoking talks and tours. 

Pitlochry Festival Theatre first opened in 1951 in a tent, and the first show was a British premiere of Maxwell Anderson’s ‘Mary of Scotland’ – it’s certainly come a long way since. In 2009, it underwent a £1.25m expansion after a highly successful fundraising campaign. Since its birth in a tent, PFT has evolved and plans are in place to further expand thanks to a new project – Vison 2021 – which was launched in 2014, and is a brand new vision for the picturesque Perthshire theatre. 

PFT makes for the perfect day or nights entertainment for those who’re theatre regulars or those who’re new to it all. And with lots of great shows spread over different days of the week, it’s natural that many will stay in the area for a week just to see their favourite productions. With great walks, independent shops and golf courses nearby too – locals and tourists alike can enjoy all of this as well as fantastic performances by the cast at Pitlochry Festival Theatre. 

So, for something truly rich in culture, in a very unique, picturesque setting among the hills of Highland Perthshire, make sure you pay a visit to Pitlochry Festival Theatre – you’re sure to be entertained! 

10) The Birks

Description: A fantastic rural cinema, steeped in history and situated in the scenic Highland Perthshire town of Aberfeldy – The Birks Cinema plays a massive part in the local community. A cultural hub for lovers of film and the arts, the cinema shows the latest blockbusters as well as live broadcasts of ballet and opera concerts.

Distance from Perth City Centre: 31 miles

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The Birks initially opened in 1939 in the Square of Aberfeldy, and was enjoyed by the local community right up until its closure as a cinema in 1982. It was used as an amusement arcade afterwards but officially closed in 2004. The local community came together and raised the funds to resurrect the cinema which officially reopened in April 2013. 

Boasting a state-of-the-art, 100-seat digital 3D cinema, the community owned Birks Cinema offers up a mix of new releases at the top of the box office charts, to timeless classics and special interest screenings, including the likes of the Heartland Film Society. They also regularly broadcast live events such as The Met Opera, NT Live, Bolshoi ballet, live concerts and sporting events. 

They also love to see youngsters enjoying film at their cinema, and every Saturday they host their ‘Little Birks’ film programme, with films especially for the kids. The Birks is a family friendly cinema with discounted family tickets available and it’s easily accessible for buggies too. There’s even a quiet area for breast-feeding, baby changing facilities, and high chairs and bottle warming available too. 

And while you’re there to watch some great films, The Birks also has a fantastic and spacious café which looks out onto the square. With freshly prepared coffee and tea, as well as delicious scones, cakes and biscuits – you can treat yourself to something tasty before or after the show. There’s also an outside area to enjoy your refreshments outside on the sunnier days! 

There’s also a fully stocked bar offering up fine wines from across the world and also some of the great-tasting beers that are brewed right here in Perthshire. Drinks from the bar can also be enjoyed in the auditorium while you watch your film too. 

For the latest Hollywood blockbusters, live broadcasts of cultured performances including ballet and opera, as well as a fabulous café and fully stocked bar – make sure you pop along to The Birks Cinema in Aberfeldy during your visit to Perthshire! 

Explore Attractions in Perth!

Now you know where our favourite cultural attractions in Perthshire are, it’s time to get out and explore! In case you aren’t familiar with Perthshire, here’s a map to help you find all of the attractions mentioned above.

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