Free and low-cost things to do in Perthshire

1) Treasure Trails

Description: Treasure Trails are an inexpensive way to have fun with friends and family while finding clues, or even solving mysteries. 

Distance from Perth City Centre: 0 – 48 miles

Cost: £6.99

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Visit the Treasure Trails website and download a Trail for £6.99, then use the clues and map to explore whichever area of Perthshire you choose.

The trails take on average about 1.5 to 2 hours to complete, so it’s a great morning or afternoon activity! Choose from AberfeldyBlair AthollBlairgowrieCoupar AngusCrieff Town CentreDunkeld and BirnamPerth, Kinross by Loch Leven or Pitlochry.

2) Ice Skating

Description: Sticking with an icy theme, Perth’s Dewars Centre is open for skating between September and April. 

Distance from Perth City Centre: 1 mile

Cost: £3.00-£8.00

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Perth Dewars Centre welcome people of all ages and abilities to come along and step onto the ice. From complete beginners to experienced skaters, they encourage you to strap on a pair of skates and give it a go.

For children, the little penguins make learning fun and easy, keeping them upright while they master the skill of skating.  Snow Babes lessons for 2 – 5 year olds are available and Skating Lessons for aged 5 upwards offer structured, coached sessions for a new generation of Ice Skaters.

3) Boating on the Tay

Description: From May until September, discover the nature and sights of the River Tay with our fantastic boat trips. 

Distance from Perth City Centre: 1 mile

Cost: £15.00 – £70.00

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With different routes to enjoy, and trips on the Tay as far as Broughty Ferry near Dundee, there is simply no better way to soak up everything Perth has to offer than by getting out on the water. And, with different pontoons situated at different points along the river bank, you can enjoy lots of activities to make a day of it too!

The boat trips run from May until September and, due to the tidal nature of the River Tay, will run at different times throughout the day. This means you can enjoy the trips in the morning, during the day, or into the early evening.

Fergusson Pontoon on Perth’s Tay Street is in the heart of the bustling city centre, where you will have the opportunity to visit the fantastic local cafés, bars and restaurants to enjoy some of the famous larder. Perth is also famous for it’s fabulous independent retailers, many of them just a short walk from the pontoon.

Willowgate Activity Centre is on the boat trip route and offers a wide range of exciting outdoor activities both inland and on the water, which can be enjoyed by the whole family. Our trips are also dog friendly, so do feel free to bring your four-legged friends too!

So, to experience Perthshire from the tranquil and beautiful River Tay, make sure you enjoy Boating on the Tay on your trip to the region!

4) Shopping in Perth

Description: Perth is bursting with shops in and around the city centre. With huge varieties of stores, there is something for everyone! Why not spend some time browsing or window shopping!

Distance from Perth City Centre: 0 miles

Cost: £0.00 

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St John’s Shopping Centre offers an extensive variety of shops inside and outside. With so many options, you will be spoiled for choice. 

5) The Fair Maid’s House Visitor Centre

Description: In July 2011, the Fair Maid’s House was opened in Perth, creating a new geographical heart of Scotland.

Distance from Perth City Centre: Less than 1 mile

Cost: £0.00 

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The Royal Scottish Geographical Society’s visitor and education centre in the Fair Maid’s House is a geographical delight housed in the oldest secular building in Perth.

Visitors can watch the planet from space and see the continents evolve in the Earth Room; learn about the hottest and coldest places on Earth in the Education Room; and learn about maps and explorers, or curl up with a book, in the Explorers’ Room.

6) Litter Free Paddle Trips

Description: If you’d like to get outdoors, see Perthshire from a new perspective AND help to keep the waterways clean, then the Outdoor Explore Litter-Free Paddle trips are for you

Distance from Perth City Centre: 20 miles

Cost: £0.00

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The trips are free, and Outdoor Explore provides the boats, paddle gear, gloves and binbags – although you can bring your own if you have them! Find out more about Outdoor Explore Litter-Free Paddle trips.

7)  Noah’s Ark

Description: Renowned for being one of Perthshire’s most loved family visitor attractions – Noah’s Ark is an exciting entertainment centre that the little ones will never want to leave! 

Distance from Perth City Centre: 3 miles

Cost: £0.00 – £6.00

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The kids will be mesmerised by the fantastic soft play area including slides and a ball pit. The fun and friendly staff will make sure your little ones play away to their hearts content in complete safety, creating an exciting and relaxed atmosphere. Play for up to two hours per session, with party rooms available to make those special occasions that little bit more magical.

There’s also the infamous go-karting track which boasts three different types of karts to make sure that everyone can be catered for! Specially adapted twin seaters are ideal for those youngsters aged three and up who don’t quite meet the minimum height requirements to ride on their own but still want to experience the thrill of each turn! Adults can take their youngsters on with them so they don’t miss out on the fun.

The junior karts are for those over 4ft 4 inches, and are slightly slower than the third type – the Bullits! For budding Formula One drivers of the future, the Bullits have a minimum height requirement of 5ft and these are the fastest ones available at the circuit. The entire experience is carefully overlooked by the experienced karting marshals, ensuring the highest levels of safety. The karting circuit is also available for private bookings ideal for large groups or for birthday parties.

If that’s not enough already to tempt you – the fantastic ten-pin bowling lanes will provide fun for all the family! The four-lane facility is ideal to round off the perfect birthday party, with bumper pads available for the less experienced. The centre also has ample amounts of additional amusements, including pool tables, air-hockey, and simulators, so you really have everything you need for an action-packed, fun-filled day out!

This will almost certainly work up an appetite, so luckily the Noah’s Ark café is on-hand to feed the kids the calories they will have burned throughout the day! Delicious, freshly made food is available daily, prepared by the chef on the premises.

So, for a day packed with fun, excitement and laughter for children of all ages, make sure that Noah’s Ark is on your list of things to do in Perthshire. Your youngsters will create fantastic memories and want to come back here time and time again!

8) Perth College Climbing Wall

Description: If you’ve got kids that are full of energy, then why not head along to the Perth College UHI Climbing Wall and let them reach dizzying heights in the safety of qualified instructors who will set them a series of fun and exciting challenges!

Distance from Perth City Centre: 2 miles

Cost: £4.00 – £9.00

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Kids love adventure and thanks to Perth College UHI’s fantastic climbing wall, you no longer have to worry about climbing trees and broken bones because you can let the little ones clamber to high heights under the constant supervision of trained instructors with ropes and harnesses to keep them safe.

The Climbing Wall is part of the fantastic Academy of Sports and Well-being Building at Perth College UHI and offers experienced and beginner climbers the chance to learn how to scale rocky mountain faces under the safe supervision of experts.

The Perth College Climbing Centre is suitable for new and experienced climbers, as well as performance climbing athletes, ensuring a sustainable progression route for all levels of ability. Climbers will be faced with a feast of unusual and striking features inspired by iconic Scottish rock climbing venues such as Carn Dearg, Mangersta, Strone Ulladale and Etive Slabs.

A visual explosion of vertical walls, slabs, overhangs, soaring curved and stepped aretes, a flared chimney, bomb bay corners and flying grooves await; all subtly and aesthetically merged to create an indoor climbers paradise.

With routes varying in difficulty, and a practice wall to get you warmed up, even the least able climbers are bound to come out of the building with a new-found thirst for hitting the mountains. It is suitable for people of all ages with specialised child classes available too.

What’s more it is situated just outside Perth City Centre meaning you are close to everything else Perth has to offer. In the Sports and Wellbeing Building itself, you will also find a sports hall – catering for racket sports and ball games – and a state-of-the-art gym to keep fit too!

Get adventurous and learn how to hit new heights at Perth College UHI’s fantastic Climbing Wall!

9) Geocaching

Description:We’re big fans of Geocaching at Perth City HQ. it’s a free, fun-packed activity for all the family

Distance from Perth City Centre: Various Locations

Cost: £0.00

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Geocaching can be great fun for the whole family and you’ll have great adventures exploring the towns, villages and countryside as you search for hidden caches (usually boxes of trinkets) and clues. Read our recent article on Geocaching to find out how it all works.

10) Perth Museum & Art Gallery

Description: We’re lucky to have access to so much free culture in Perth & Kinross, including works by JD Fergusson and Margaret Morris 

Distance from Perth City Centre: 0 miles

Cost: £0.00

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Check out this selection of current and upcoming exhibitions and talks: A Contested Land by Document Scotland,  Pantheon: Gods, Spirits and Sacred objects and Jacobite Clans.

They’re all free and an ideal way to get out for a bit of culture!

11) Walking in Perthshire

Description: Isn’t Perthshire one of the best counties to go walking? With everything from munros to gentle strolls, there’s something for all levels and abilities

Distance from Perth City Centre: Various Locations

Cost: £0.00

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 Dog-Friendly Perthshire has great ideas for dog walks or if you are looking for something a bit more challenging, take a look at our Munro guide here.

12)  RSPB Birdwatching and Events

Description: RSPB Scotland’s Loch Leven nature reserve has nature walks for all abilities, as well as wildlife hides. It is open 10am – 5pm daily and there are always activities including nature-spotter sheets and pond-dipping. 

Distance from Perth City Centre: 22 miles

Cost: £0.00 – £5.00

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Access to most of the reserve is free (there is an admission charge for the Wetland Trail and hides). Expect to see species such as lapwings and redshank in the spring, and pink-footed geese and whooper swans in autumn and winter. There’s a visitor centre with award-winning café and shop, and a picnic area with a natural playground. 

Find out more about RSPB Scotland Loch Leven Check out free or low-cost events at RSPB Scotland Loch Leven.

13) Get On Your Bike

Description: Perthshire’s a great county to cycle in – check out our recent cycling article, featuring Mark Beaumont, on the best places to get on your bike.

Distance from Perth City Centre: 0

Cost: £0.00

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If you’d like to cycle in a group, you could join Breeze, a Perthshire/Angus women’s group offering free, regular bike rides, or Tay Titans, for 8-16-year-olds across Perthshire. Find great mountain-bike trails at Comrie Croft, which are free for all!

14)  Perth Playhouse

Description: Experience movies in IMAX at Perth’s independent cinema. Home to 7 Screens which show all the latest releases and old favourites. 

Distance from Perth City Centre: 0.3 miles

Cost: £1.75 – £8.50

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Perth Playhouse is Perth’s independent cinema showing a variety of new releases and old favourites. A variety of screenings make the Playhouse a great day out fit for everyone!

The Playhouse also offer maximum accessibility and strive to provide facilities that meet the requirements of customers. Relaxed and Dementia screenings and screenings for both sight impaired and hearing impaired guests are also facilitated at Perth Playhouse.

 

15) Table Tennis

Description: Table Tennis is a great sport for everyone to enjoy. The outdoor table tennis table at the North Inch is a good opportunity to get out and enjoy the sport in a unique outdoor location.

Distance from Perth City Centre: 1 mile

Cost: £0.00

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The outdoor table was donated to the Council by Table Tennis Scotland. Members of the public are able to play for free. Bring along your own equipment to use the table or bats and balls can also be borrowed from the Starters Hut at the North Inch Golf Course free of charge.

The table is located next to the Petanque area of the North Inch (near the bowling green).

16)  Perth’s Medieval Fayre

Description: Celebrate Perth’s ancient roots with an exciting day of free events and activities in the city centre for Perth’s Medieval Fayre!

Distance from Perth City Centre: 0

Cost: £0.00 

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The streets of Perth will be alive with Medieval Re-enactment, Medieval crafters, puppets and story tellers and the return of the famous Ye Olde Perth Dunk Tank.

King Edward St will be the location for the Combat Zone where Knights will shows their skills in medieval combat.

17) Petanque

Description: Petanque is a sport which falls into the category of Boules. The game is simple to learn and can be played at the North Inch where the game is open to all ages and skill levels.

Distance from Perth City Centre: Less than 1 mile

Cost: £0.00 – £14.00

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The North Inch welcomes all ages and skill levels to play Petanque. It is a simple game to learn and allows you to enjoy some good company and friendly competition. There is also a Petanque club that welcomes new members at all times!

18) Perth Leisure Pool

Description:  Perth Leisure Pool is one of Scotland’s most popular visitor attractions and offer hours of fun for families of all ages with leisure water, kids play and flumes being some of the great reasons to visit!

Distance from Perth City Centre: 1 mile

Cost: £2.50 – £5.50

More On Perth Leisure Pool

The outdoor table was donated to the Council by Table Tennis Scotland. Members of the public are able to play for free. Bring along your own equipment to use the table or bats and balls can also be borrowed from the Starters Hut at the North Inch Golf Course free of charge.

The table is located next to the Petanque area of the North Inch (near the bowling green).

19) River Tay Public Art Trail

Description: The River Tay Public Art Trail is formed from thought–provoking sculptures that are placed alongside the river which draw their inspiration from the river and its wildlife, the city, its history, its poets and its life. 

Distance from Perth City Centre: 1 mile

Cost: £0.00

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The River Tay is the longest river in Scotland and the most powerful river in Britain.  It flows through the City of Perth and it is to the river that the city owes its existence!

The sculptures form the River Tay Public Art Trail which, consisting of outstanding artworks positioned in some of the most beautiful settings in the City of Perth, recalls the artistic, historical and natural heritage of the City of Perth and its river.

Sculptures on the map are numbered, but you needn’t follow all the numbers in sequence to enjoy the trail.

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20) Love On The Rocks

 

Description: Love on the Rocks Scotland, which is open to all, involves painting a rock with a picture or phrase, then hiding it somewhere for someone else to find. 

Distance from Perth City Centre: Various Locations

Cost: £0.00

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Once someone finds your rock, that person then posts the find on Facebook and may keep your treasure or re-hide it for someone else to find.

It’s free to take part, and very exciting to know who found your rock and where they end up.

Over to you!

Now you know where our favourite free and low cost activities 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 the activities mentioned above.

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