Perthshire Winter Activites

Culture

Winter is no obstacle to getting out and staying active, and with a number of great things on offer across the region, you’ll find something that’s perfect for you!

There’s still plenty of adrenalin pumping activities to try in Perthshire over winter, from white water rafting and bungee jumping, to ice-skating, skiing and snowboarding, with most things family friendly too. From Highland Perthshire to Perth City Centre, the activities are widespread and there’ll be something going on near you!

Jump from the Garry Bridge, raft down the River Tay, hurtle down the ski slopes of Glenshee or perfect your skating skills on the ice at Dewars Centre – whatever it is that you fancy, Perth is the perfect place for activities this winter.

Willowgate

 

Willowgate Activity Centre is one of Perthshire’s newest and most exciting outdoor offerings.  Situated on the banks of the majestic River Tay, only two miles away from Perth’s bustling city centre, this purpose built centre is set in 20 acres of beautiful Perthshire countryside, and boasts breathtaking views of the picturesque landscapes of the River Tay and Kinnoull Hill.

Although often considered a summer activity – Scottish rivers aren’t usually a first choice in winter – Willowgate is an ideal choice for outdoor winter fun.  Water babies can slip into a wet suit and enjoy a host of heart-pumping river-based activities, guaranteed to warm you up and get you glowing! Kayaking, canoeing, paddle boarding and aqua zorbing are all available and you’ll find options for both beginners and the more experienced river adventurers.    

For those who prefer their feet to be placed firmly on dry land you’ll find just as much fun awaits you; activities include archery, bush craft, biking and environmental learning activities – to name but a few.   

The centre is open to everyone; from young to old, individuals looking to hone a new skill or groups of friends or colleagues after a great day out – think family days, birthday parties, stag and hen events, puppies go paddling, highland games and much more. 

If you’re a complete beginner, you couldn’t be in safer hands as Willowgate’s friendly and enthusiastic team can talk you through everything, ensuring that you have a great experience.  Do make sure you mention this on booking; similarly, if you’re an expert on the water and are looking simply to hire equipment for some winter water fun, then look no further!

Birnam Arts

Call Willowgate on 01738 637245 or contact them through their website.

EXTRAS

Their classrooms and meeting room also provide a relaxing environment to enjoy team building challenges and games.

LOOK OUT FOR:

  • Plan ahead and book in for Willowgate’s popular Easter and Summer holiday activity weeks.
  • Guided kayak river trips from Willowgate into Perth City, or downriver to Newburgh are also available – and in demand! Our recommendation is to book quickly to avoid disappointment.
  • River Tay boat trips will be operating from May to October 2019 – ask at the centre for more details.

Opening Times: 7 days a week, all year round  Prices: Vary depending on activity  Distance from Perth: 2 miles from Perth City Centre (by Friarton Bridge)

While you’re here:  Warm yourself up on a cold winters’ day by dropping into the Willowgate Café for lunch or coffee and cake. Their log fire, cosy surroundings and great food are sure to put a smile on your face. 

Dewers Ice rink

Glide into winter at Dewars Centre with a choice of two fantastic activities, taking place on Olympic standard ice!

Ice Skating

The extremely popular public skating is open throughout the year, but really comes into its own during the cold winter months.  The schedule is tailored to ensure all levels can enjoy the fun, with skate hire available for causal users and little penguins and snowmen dotted around to help kids find their feet on the ice.

Culture PK

Drop into the open sessions and give it go; you don’t need to be a Dancing On Ice star to experience the thrill of this great winter sport.  You’ll find individuals and groups of friends of all ages and abilities, gliding – or stumbling! – their way round the ice.  For kids who’d like to learn to skate well, there’s a programme of lessons starting with Snow Babies, for the under 5s and Learn To Skate for the over 5s – ambitions of becoming the next figure skating star could start here!

Classes are taken by qualified instructors and teach children the basics of ice skating – they’re suitable for both those who have never skated before, and those who enjoy skating. 

They are structured from the National Ice Skating Association programme, based on 30 minutes of learning skills and techniques, and 30 minutes of learning through practice.

Download the skating timetable here  for public ice and lesson info.

Curling

Perthshire has a rich history of curling – in fact the first Scottish Team to win a World Championship in 1967 hailed from Perth.  If you’re looking for a new hobby to help you keep active in the winter months, then curling is a fantastic option.

There are dozens of curling clubs in Perthshire, each with their own history, traditions and culture. Historically these clubs were formed around the local curling pond, but over time geography has become less important, and 63 separate clubs now call Dewars Ice Rink “home”.   

Clubs are always open to new members and welcome in beginners who are keen to learn this ancient sport. Email curling@liveactive.co.uk for more info.  Experienced players looking to return should check out the Perth Curling website for info on leagues and teams.

Visit Dewars on the Live Active Leisure website.

Opening Times: Open all year round. See website for ice-skating schedule. Distance from Perth: A five minute walk from Perth City Centre. Skating Prices:  Adults – £5.25  Kids – £4.25  Families – £14.75 (2 adults and up to 3 juniors)    While you’re here: Head into Perth City Centre and browse round some of the fantastic indie retailers and enjoy lunch or dinner at the great local cafés and restaurants!

Glenshee Ski Centre

When you think of winter activities in Scotland, skiing at Glenshee in Perthshire is undoubtedly at the top of your list! This thrilling Ski Centre spreads over 2000 acres of Scottish mountainside and offers one of the UK’s most extensive skiing and snowboarding facilities.

3,504 ft. of mountain adventure over 25 miles of piste, beckons skiers and snowboarders from around the world each and every winter. The centre now has 36 runs made up of a good mix of greens, blues and reds with a couple of testing blacks, a terrain park and lots of off-piste options. This makes it ideal for lessons, race training or leisurely fun – and opens up Scottish skiing to both complete beginners and daredevil experts.


Beginner Skiiers

If inviting more adrenalin into your life, learning a new skill or getting fit are on your list of goals this year, then a ski or snowboarding lesson at Glenshee could tick all the boxes! 

Book into an organised class or pull together a group of friends for a shared lesson.  If you prefer, you can head out on a one-to-one lesson with private instruction.  All equipment including skis, snowboards, boots, poles and helmets are available for hire.

Absolute beginners should start at the large nursery area easily accessible at car park level, and after a few lessons, it won’t be long before you can master the lifts at road level, which opens up a much larger area of runs for novices, serviced by eleven lifts.

 

Library of Innerpeffray

Intermediates

Glenshee is ideal for intermediate skiers & boarders, with 26 blue and red runs, varying from the long and exhilarating to the short and steep.

From the wide open pistes of the Thunderbowl and popular sheltered expanses over the back at Coire Fionn and Glas Maol, to the bumps, jumps and natural half-pipe of Meall Odhar to the testing Slalom Race Track at Cairnwell – the choice is unrivalled and is just a one hour drive from Perth city centre!

Advanced

Experienced skiers can test their skills on two excellent black runs at Glenshee including the infamous, mogul strewn Tiger which has been a formidable part of the Scottish ski experience for years.

Venue for the 1985 Smirnoff British Speed Skiing Championships, Glenshee’s other black, on the left hand face of Glas Maol, is still as exhilarating today as it was then.

Apres Ski

While you’re down, grab a bite to eat at the Base Café where you can sit back, soak up the atmosphere and enjoy fantastic views of the Cairngorms and Grampians.

Opening Times: Mid December – April  Distance from Perth: 40 miles from Perth City Centre Prices: Junior Day Pass –  £21.00 Adult Day Pass – £32.00  Family Day Pass – £85.00 While you’re here: Explore east Perthshire and visit Blairgowrie’s lovely shops and eateries.  To keep the sporting fun going, visit Rosemount Golf Club for two of the finest courses in Perthshire.

 

Highland Fling Bungee

drenaline pumping, rope swinging, bridge jumping action is just what you need to warm up even the coldest of Highland winter days!  Highland Fling, the UK’s first purpose built static bungee jump, takes thrill-seeking to a whole new level from its home in the sleepy Perthshire village of Killiecrankie.   

Inspired by history, the story goes that in July 1689, at the conclusion of the Battle of Killiecrankie, a Redcoat called Donald McBane leapt five-and-a-half metres across the River Garry to flee the Jacobites at what is now known as ‘The Soldier’s Leap.’

 

Since Highland Fling opened in 2011, 40,000 people have followed in his footsteps and taken their own jump into the River Garry – albeit, with quite a few additional safety measures thrown in!  Anyone from age 14 with a sense of fun and adventure can take part in what is sure to be one of the most exhilarating experiences of a trip to Perthshire.

Pitlochry Festival Theatre

Picture the scene – a specially constructed bungee jump platform is suspended below the Garry Bridge over the beautiful River Garry near Pitlochry in Highland Perthshire. It is perched above a dramatic gorge surrounded by ancient trees and some of the most stunning countryside Scotland has to offer.  When you jump, you will free-fall some 40 metres towards the water, taking you on an airborne flight of a few seconds at over 50 mph – before a special Bungee Jump cord springs you back to normal, upright, life.

Bridge Swing Over The River Garry

The expert team of qualified Bungee Jump Masters have developed their offer to include the new bridge swing at the Garry bridge, which is open to kids aged 10 and upwards to enjoy  a safe and unforgettable adrenaline-packed experience using the latest technology and safety equipment, this may well be the stepping stone you need for the big jump!

Both activities are perfect for adrenalin seekers and photographic and video footage of your experience can be purchased – perfect for showing your 007 skills to your friends and family.

Opening Times: Open all year round. Distance from Perth: 30 miles from Perth City Centre
Prices: £79 for bungee jump £69 for swing

While you’re here: Head to nearby Pitlochry and visit the Pitlochry Dam Visitor Centre or take in the winter show at the Pitlochry Festival Theatre!

Make it a full day out and experience a quad biking trek near Aberfeldy with Scottish Quads. Grab a coffee and a lunch of wholesome home-made food at Escape Route in Pitlochry. After your coffee why not pop into their bike shop in the next-door premises. They have a fantastic selection of bikes and outdoor clothing and equipment.

Nae Limits

When you want to get your winter wild on, then Nae Limits based at Ballinluig in Highland Perthshire, is an excellent place to start.  One of Scotland’s longest-standing – they launched in 2000 – and most experienced outdoor activity providers, the company was born out of a love of the great outdoors. 

Still family run, the only difference now is a far larger team.  Each and every person is an expert in their chosen activity and the entire team thrive on the challenge of introducing their guests to some of the more adventurous and extreme pursuits available in Perthshire’s most unique locations.

 

Boasting over 14 water and land adventure activities, there’s something to suit the whole squad, no matter the age or ability. From gorge walking to canyoning, quad biking, whitewater rafting, clay pigeon shooting, adventure tubing and highland games, the adventure activities are unusual, challenging and exhilarating.

Birks Cinema

Nae Limits also run bespoke team building activities and cater for children under 12 with their fantastic Wee Limits adventure activities. 

NEW FOR Winter 2019: Whisky & Water: The Ultimate Scottish Experience Day!

This fantastic new partnership between Nae Limits and Dewars Distillery offers the very best of Scotland, in a full day of activity.

Everyone knows the best way to experience the true beauty of Highland Perthshire is in a wetsuit which is why your day starts with some white water rafting in the fresh waters of the River Tay – you’ll be fully kitted out in the best equipment of course.

All that work paddling will work up your appetite, which is just as well as your next stop is a well-earned tasty lunch in the on-site café Rivers Meet.

Next up, you’ll be warmed through with a wee dram or two on the Connoisseur Tour of Dewar’s award-winning Aberfeldy Distillery.  Discover how they make the beautifully balanced single malt at the heart of Dewar’s Scotch, and enjoy a look into the factory where they double age the whisky for a richer, smoother flavour.

Upon your return to the whisky lounge, you’ll be talked through a whisky tasting, comparing some of Aberfeldy’s oldest and finest.  The Connoisseur Tour also includes a whisky tasting from the cask in the warehouse, and a complimentary crystal glass to take home.

Opening Times:    Open all year round  (Wednesday to Sunday from November to March)   Distance from Perth: 22 miles from Perth City Centre Prices:  Start from £40 per person (Vary depending on activity)

While you’re here: Drop into Dewar’s Distillery in Aberfeldy. Tours of the Highland whisky distillery take place throughout the day, and include options for whisky aficionados.

Splash Rafting

Based in Highland Perthshire, in the picturesque town of Aberfeldy, Splash White Water Rafting offer some of the best rafting, watersports and adventure experiences for thrill seekers and family groups alike.  As one of the UK’s long-established outdoor adventure activity providers, they have a wealth of experience and this, coupled with attention to detail, guarantee that you and your group are in safe hands.

As the name suggests, they are famed for their white water rafting and will encourage you to get out onto the rivers of Perthshire all year round – in winter though, it is the exhilarating call of the River Tay at Aberfeldy that they love most.   To capture your thrill-seeking adrenalin side, Splash provides every white water rafting trip with free professional rafting photography – SMILE!

Pitlochry Festival Theatre

Like most quality outdoor activities providers, the fun doesn’t stop there! Splash have successfully moved on land and their offer now includes canyoning, duckies, river bugs, stand up paddle boarding, paintball, quad bikes, trekking, mountain biking and much more.

In the past 20 years, they have introduced over 150,000 people to adventure activities in Scotland and such is their expertise, that they have made the cut onto TripAdvisor’s Hall of Fame for being graded as ‘excellent’ for over five consecutive years!

Splash welcome experienced players and complete beginners, and will happily recommend activities suited to your level of adventure!  They recommend that participants are aged 12 and over, and encourage family groups to book in and enjoy a day of bonding unlike any other.

Unlimited Adventure

If you’ve started 2019 with a desire to experience more of Scotland, then do check out their unlimited activity membership deal suitable for ages 12 and over.  For only £150 Splash Adventure Tribe Membership will give you a year full of unlimited action-packed activities including:

  • River Duckies – Two person inflatable canoes
  • Stand Up Paddle Boards. A fun way to experience the river.
  • Paintball – Lots of games, a great team activity. 400 balls per session.
  • Rafting – River Tay – Family Rafting – Fun , Games & Rapids 
  • River Bugging – Fun one person inflatables.
  • Rafting – River Tummel – Grade 3 & 4 Summer rafting at its best.
  • Canyoning – Jump, Swim, Slide – Fun, Fun, Fun!

Opening Times: All year from 9am– 9pm, 7 days a week Distance from Perth: 31 miles from Perth City Centre Prices: Start from £30 per person, While you’re here: While in Aberfeldy, there are lots of things to see and do. Visit the Crannog Centre on Loch Tay, or take in a movie at the famous Birks Cinema.

 

 

Stride for Life 

The wonderful -and FREE! – Stride for Life walks can be found weekly throughout Perthshire, all year round and are a great way to enjoy the beautiful surroundings of Perthshire in winter.  Run in partnership between Live Active Leisure, NHS Tayside and Paths For All, the walks are led by local, fully trained volunteers.

The Stride for Life walks are suitable for everyone and are an easy way of chalking up some of your recommended 150 minutes of activity. There’s no need to book, simply turn up at the venue at the right time, dressed for the weather, and off you go. Make sure you’re comfortable and as well as getting in your 30 minutes of activity, you’ll enjoy fresh air, a stroll, and a natter – and in most areas, a cuppa at the end!

Stride For Life health walks are open to everyone, and although many have built up a following of regular local walkers, visitors of all ages and walking abilities are most welcome. There are walks just for men or women, walks that offer two or three ability options, city walks, town walks and walks further afield for the people who like to breathe in the fresh country air.

Birks Cinema
Arranged Walks Around Perthshire

 

Group

Day & Time

Meeting Point

Walk Information

Kinross

Monday

2pm

Kinross Church Centre

High Street

Short 45 – 60-minute walk on flat ground

Crieff

Tuesday 10.30am

Strathearn Campus reception

Maximum 1 hour on flat ground

Perth

Tuesday

11.00 am

Moncrieffe Church Hall, Perth

Max. 1 hour with mixed terrain

Alyth

Tuesday

1.30pm

Airlie Street Hall, Alyth

Short 30 – 45-minute walk on flat ground

Comrie

Wednesday

10.00 am

Field of Refuge Car Park, Comrie

Max.1 hour with mixed terrain

North Muirton

Wednesday

1.30 pm

Riverside Church, Bute Drive, Perth

Short 30 – 45-minute walk on flat ground

Birnam

Wednesday

1.30pm

Willowbank Lounge,

Servite Housing

Short 30-45-minute walk

Bankfoot

Thursday 10.30am

Bankfoot Church Centre

45-60-minute walk on flat ground

Men only Walkers

(MOW)

Tuesday 12.30pm

Bells Sports Centre

45-60-minute walk on flat ground 

Aberfeldy

Thursday 11am

Outside the Birks Cinema

45-60-minute walk around the town

Auchterarder

Friday 11am

Auchterarder Health Centre

45-60-minute walk around the town

Women Only Walkers (WOW)

Wednesday

11.30am

Outside Bells Sports Centre, Perth

Short 30 – 45-minute walk on flat ground

Invergowrie

Thursday

10.00am

Peter Arbuckle Sheltered Housing Complex Invergowrie

Short 30 – 45-minute walk mixed terrain

Stanley

Friday

10.00am

The old Post Office on Percy Street

Short 45-60-minute walk on flat ground

Bridge of Earn

Friday 9.30am

Servite House, Muirmont Place

Short 30-45-minute walk around the town

Errol

Friday 10.30am

Servite Housing Complex

Short 45-60-minute walk on flat ground

Blairgowrie

Thursday 10.30am

Wisecraft

Short 45-60-minute walk around the town

Kinloch Rannoch

Friday 10.30am

Riverside Café

Short 45-60-minute walk around the village

Western Edge Perth

Friday 10.15am

1st and 3rd Friday of each month

Perth Baptist Church, Almond View

Short 45-60 minute walk around the town

 

Opening Hours: Various days and times   Distance from Perth: Various different locations   Prices: Free!

While You’re here : Spot local wildlife and take some photographs from some of the best local outdoor beauty spots!

The Glenturret Distillery

What better way to warm the cockles of your heart this winter than with a dram of the water of life?

Spend some time at the award-winning Glenturret Distillery in Crieff, and not only will you enjoy a drop of the good stuff, you’ll also be able to choose from a range of tours that give a fascinating insight into how whisky is made, and how a distillery works. You see, Glenturret is not just any distillery – they’re the oldest working whisky distillery in Scotland – and the only one where you’ll see whisky ingredients still being hand mashed, just like they were hundreds of years ago. 

Follow the journey from the mash tuns to the traditional copper washes where the ingredients are mixed and then distilled, before visiting the specially built sample room within the warehouses, where you’ll find out exactly what goes into ageing the whisky.

There’s also the choice of a guided nosing and tasting session, so you can impress your pals next time they’re having a dram.  Talking of which, you can bottle your own whisky in the distillery gift shop, where you’ll get to fill, seal and label your very own bottle straight from the cask.

Whether you’re looking for a unique tasting experience, to see where the whisky sleeps, or to learn the art of making a blended malt for yourself – there are a whole host of exciting and unique whisky experiences at Glenturret.

Pitlochry Festival Theatre

Opening Hours: Open 7 days

November-March – 10am-5pm (first tour 10.30am, last tour 3.30pm)

April-October – 10am-6pm (first tour 10.30am, last tour 4.30pm)

Distance from Perth : 20 miles from Perth City Centre

Prices: Experiences from £10

While You’re here: Head into Crieff and visit Action Glen at Crieff Hydro Hotel where you can go quad biking, tree climbing and more!

 

Winter Words – Pitlochry Festival Theatre
 

One of the highlights of Perthshire’s winter calendar of events, Pitlochry Festival Theatre hosts its annual Winter Words Festival with an impressive 30 events all to be held between 2nd and 17th February 2019.  Bursting the nation’s literary year into new life, the 2019 Festival will celebrate stories, Scotland, the natural world and includes, as always, the stunning Banff Mountain Film Festival.

To find out more about these and many more events during the Winter Words Festival, or to book tickets, call the Box Office team at PFT on 01796 484626 for the brochure, or visit their website here.

 

Winter Words Festival
The fifteenth Winter Words Festival brings together authors, adventurers, broadcasters and TV personalities in one beautiful place – nestled beside the mighty River Tummel and beneath the majestic gaze of Benn Vrackie. There’s also a book fair, signings, literary lunches, music and more, to engage and inspire. Featuring in this year’s stellar line up is Neil Oliver – archaeologist, historian, conservationist, author and broadcaster – who is best known as presenter of the BBC documentary series, A History of Scotland, Vikings and, most prominently, Coast. 

Birks Cinema

Banff Mountain Film Festival
Last year’s sell-out, Banff Mountain Film Festival, returns for 2019 with two new programmes of adrenaline-packed, extreme action sports and stunning scenery from around the globe. Films include ‘RJ Ripper’, which sees world-class mountain biker Rajesh (RJ) Magar exploring his homeland Nepal, along with, ‘This Mountain Life’, a multi-award-winning film where Martina and her 60-year-old mother, Tania, embark on an epic ski traverse from Vancouver to Alaska.

Something Old, Something New 
Something Old, Something New sees Liz Lochhead – former National Poet of Scotland – team up with Steve Kettley – musician, composer and occasional actor – to create Something Old, Something New, a fusion of bittersweet, polemical, comical, in-character monologues, theatre pieces and performance poems with bluesy, soulful and playful saxophone sounds.

The Truth About Life And Death 
Prof Dame Sue Black, known the world over for her work as a forensic anthropologist and anatomist, and Dr Richard Shepherd, who has performed over 23,000 post-mortems, and has been involved in some of the most high-profile cases of recent times, discuss how they manage to separate life and work – and what happens when the lines blur.

How Not to be a Disaster Chef
What do you get when you mix two panellists from Loose Women, Masterchef-winner and Eastenders actor, Nadia Sawalha, and current affairs journalist and STV and BBC broadcaster, Kaye Adams? An engaging chat about quick and easy recipes and how not to be a Disaster Chef, borne out of their book of the same name! Obviously.

Literary Lunches
Each day of the festival presents the opportunity for a Literary Lunch where a selection of speakers – this year Polly Pullar, local writer, photographer and field naturalist; Chris Townsend, Hillwalking Ambassador for the British Mountaineering Council; Rosemary Goring, Literary Editor and columnist for The Herald; and Christopher Fleet, Senior Map Curator in the National Library of Scotland – each speak on their particular passion around a delicious two-course lunch.

Opening hours: Performances at various times

Distance from Perth: 27 miles from Perth City Centre (41 minute drive)

Prices: From £8.50

While you’re here: Visit the Highland Chocolatier for an award winning sweet experience!

 

 

Perth Riverside Light Nights

Back for a third year, Perth Riverside Light Nights brings yet another stunning light-show experience to the heart of the city centre from 26th January to 10th February 2019.  Lighting up the famous Norie Miller Walk by the side of the River Tay, this is a magical show of beautifully twinkling proportions – and to make it even better, it’s free for everyone to attend.  

Some of the themed nights will start with a parade from Perth City Centre over the bridge to Norie-Miller where the entertainment will begin – think music, poetry, storytelling, comedy, themed lighting displays and more! 

Over 50,000 people attended in 2018, and even more are expected this year. Organisers have ensured you’ll find plenty of reasons to visit again and again with the fantastic themed nights including Robert Burns, Comic Con, Dinosaurs, Harry Potter, Chinese New Year and Valentines. 

Although these themed evenings are amongst the most popular, the event is open every night and you will be dazzled by wonderful colours filling up the winter sky and reflecting onto the waters of the Tay below.

There will be food, drinks and lots of other great surprises to delight the whole family. This is a free event and no booking is required; just wrap up warm and head down to the river to enjoy a glorious celebration of Scotland in winter. Find out all about this years event here.

Pitlochry Festival Theatre

Opening Hours: Nightly from 26th January to 10th February 2019. 18:00 to 22:00

 

Distance from Perth: A short walk from the city centre

Prices: Free

While You’re here: Head into the Perth City Centre and enjoy the fantastic food and drink offering in Perth.  From cocktails to tasting menus you will be spoiled for choice!

 

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