Free and low-cost things to do in Perth and Perthshire
It’s that time of year when we’re all trying to live on a budget after Christmas. But we still want to get out and have fun, don’t we? So we’ve compiled a cracking list of 20 – yes, 20! – free or low-cost activities for you and the family to do over the coming weeks. Hope you enjoy them!
It’s the activity that gets everyone outdoors on a winter evening – and it’s absolutely free! Perth Riverside Light Nights 2019 (26 Jan – 10 Feb) promises to be the best yet, with beautiful and imaginative light displays and a host of characters popping up around the park. This year’s themes include: Dinosaurs, Robert Burns, Dr Who, Chinese New Year, Comic Con and Wizardry. There are also food and drink stalls and a photo booth!
Riverside Lights Nights FAQ 2019
Planning on popping along to the Perth Riverside Light Nights this year? ✨To help you make the most of your trip, we have answered some of the most frequently asked questions we are asked about the event.Take a look at the video below! 👇Find out all about the Riverside Light Nights here: https://www.perthcity.co.uk/riverside-light-nights/Posted by Perth City Centre on Friday, 4 January 2019
2. Treasure Trails
Treasure Trails are an inexpensive way to have fun with friends and family while finding clues, or even solving mysteries. 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 Aberfeldy, Blair Atholl, Blairgowrie, Coupar Angus, Crieff Town Centre, Dunkeld and Birnam, Perth, Kinross by Loch Leven or Pitlochry.
3. Scottish Curling Championships
Perthshire is rightly famous for our curling teams, having produced many champions such as Eve Muirhead and her team. On Saturday 16th February, the Scottish Curling Championships Finals Day is happening in Perth, and you can get discounted tickets for youngsters, free child places, a hot buffet lunch option, and an all-round fab day out for all the family.
4. Ice skating
Sticking with an icy theme, Perth’s Dewars Centre is open for skating between September and April, with prices for age 2-5s at £3.40 (special Sunday sessions) and prices for kids aged 5-16 starting at £3 with a Live Active Card. The penguins and snowmen are free to use!
5. Roller Discos
If you prefer roller skates to the icy kind, why not try a Roller Beats disco? Bring your own skates or hire some there, and enjoy a completely new kind of party.
Discos are held at Bells Sports Centre every month, with the next one on Saturday 9th February. But get your “skates” on as they book up quickly!
6. Cafés to play in
The new Café Play in Perth’s Princes Street offers adventurous play areas, a cosy den for babies and arts & crafts for older kids – and tasty, healthy food of course! They also offer workshops and special events including parties and even free yoga for kids. Check out Café Play here
At the Madoch Centre Café in St Madoes, for a suggested £1 donation, your little ones can enjoy safe soft play, while you have a coffee and a catch-up. There’s an outdoor play area too, for those sunnier days! The Centre, a community hub run by the local church, also offers low-cost activities and sports classes for kids and adults.
7. Birnam Library Community Day
Pop along to Birnam Library on Saturday 26th January for a fun-filled family community morning, including a Bookbug song/story session, under-5s messy play session and dragon-themed stories and activities with children’s author Judy Hayman (suitable for primary-aged children).
8. Menopause Festival
It was a world first when it launched last year, and the “FlushFest”, aka Perth’s Menopause Festival, is back! This year it’s even bigger and better with presentations, marketplace, creative workshops and panel discussions, many of which are free to attend.
9. Litter Free Paddle Trips
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. 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.
10. Snowdrop Festival
Every February, Scone Palace celebrates the little white flower that tells us spring is around the corner, with their A Celebration of Snowdrops Festival. Pop along on any Friday, Saturday or Sunday until 10th March (free admission) and enjoy walking through the drifts of enchanting snowdrops throughout 100 acres of grounds.
We’re big fans of Geocaching at Perth City HQ. it’s a free, fun-packed activity for all the 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
12. Climbing the walls
If you have a head for heights and fancy a new perspective, why not pop along to Perth College’s Climbing Centre and try out their fantastic climbing lines and bouldering area? At £5.50 for a whole-day climb for the under-16s, it’s a low-cost way to keep them amused and healthy. Find out more on the Perth College website
Tiso Perth also has a climbing wall and, for an optional charity donation, you can climb to your heart’s content after 5pm any day! (Please note – it’s unsupervised at this time so you or someone with you must be able to “belay”, i.e. handle the rope for a partner.) Or go during daytime hours for a small fee. Contact Tiso Perth
13. Art, dancing and spirits at Perth Museum & Art Gallery and Fergusson Gallery
We’re lucky to have access to so much free culture in Perth & Kinross, including works by JD Fergusson and Margaret Morris. Check out this selection of current and upcoming exhibitions and talks: Margaret Morris and Her Dancing Children, Iconic Fergussons, Connected Landscapes, Collective Memories of Perth Museum & City Hall, Pantheon: Gods, Spirits and Sacred objects and 100 Years of the Women’s Vote in Britain. They’re all free and an ideal way to get out for a bit of culture!
14. Walking Perthshire
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. Dog Friendly Perthshire has great ideas for dog walks and The Courier publishes a weekly walk. Check out our recent Perth City / Dog Friendly Perthshire guide to walking in Perthshire.
15. An inspired concert
The Inspiration Orchestra is a group of disabled musicians who are able to perform music in public for the first time, thanks to the Inspiration Orchestra – and their own hard work and determination! Come to a free concert in Perth on Thursday 7th March, and/or St Madoes on Wednesday 13th March, and be inspired and entertained. (Voluntary collection taken at the end.) Find out more about the Inspiration Orchestra.
16. RSPB birdwatching and events
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. 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.
17. Get on your bike
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. 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!
18. Chapelhill Inn Gin contest
The Chapelhill Inn, a cosy inn at Logiealmond, has its annual Sloe Gin Competition on 8th February from 7pm. Everyone is welcome to a very community-spirited evening and any entries are welcomed too! Find out more about the Chapelhill Inn Gin contest.
19. Cinema tickets – two for £10
20. Love on the Rocks
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. 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.