Birnam and Dunkeld, Big Tree Country

The little towns of Birnam & Dunkeld are one of Perthshire’s hidden secrets just a few minutes off the A9 and off the maim line railway to Inverness. Nestling beneath thickly-wooded hills, Dunkeld’s Cathedral and beautifully restored 17th Century buildings have an air of timeless tranquillity. Birnam Hill is across the road from the guest house and a 2 hour walk around the circular route, free maps available from the guest house. The Birnam Oak is a mere 5 minute walk behind the guest house down to the silvery River Tay.  Why not compare and contrast the old oak with the younger sycamore? The Hermitage owned by the National Trust for Scotland is one mile away and a lovely pace to see the huge Douglas fir trees, leaping salmon and if you are really lucky an otter.

An ancient oak tree dating back to “MacBeth and Dunsinane Wood” as legend has it.

The Birnam sycamore, a third the age of the oak but still probably the largest sycamore in Scotland?

On the opposite bank of the River Tay from Dunkeld lies Birnam, a Victorian village with the Birnam Institute offering excellent food and entertainment year round.  There are countless walks nearby including Birnam Hill, The Hermitage and The River Tay.

Here you can visit the Beartrix Potter Garden  and the associated Exhibition (she drew much of her inspiration from holidaying in this area).

Dunkeld is an ideal centre for lovers of history and the great outdoors. At the Cross in Dunkeld village centre, where you are surrounded by the beautifully restored ‘Little Houses’ (private homes) a protected and listed historic area.

You can walk down to stately Dunkeld Cathedral, part ruined but still used as the parish church. Stroll by the mighty River Tay (Scotland’s longest river) and cross Thomas Telford’s Bridge, which leads from Dunkeld and the famous musical pub, The Taybank for a swift pint and entertainment.

Telfer’s Dunkeld bridge and Dunkeld with the Taybank.

The Dunkeld area is superb for walks with an integrated network of well-signposted forest trails and designated mountain bike routes. To ensure the full benefit of this part of Scotland we recommend you treat yourself to one of Strathbraans many guided walks, where a professional guide will provide all the experience and knowledge to help you discover some of Scotland’s many hidden natural treasures.

Dunkeld Bridge

Some of Scotland’s finest salmon and trout angling is enjoyed in the Dunkeld area, particularly on the River Tay and you can get some of the best fish in the salmon smokery at Dunkeld. Golfers too will enjoy the challenge of Dunkeld and Birnam golf course. One of the most scenic in Scotland.

There is a children’s activity centre at Dalguise, just to the north of Dunkeld, whilst tennis and bowls are also available to visitors.

Pick up a few quality souvenirs in one of Dunkelds many fine shops and galleries before ending the day with a visit to nearby Loch of the Lowes, where osprey and other birds can be viewed from a hide.Dunkeld is peaceful in the evenings, however there are also summer concerts in Dunkeld Cathedral and traditional Scottish folk music is played most nights of the week in either the Tap Inn, Birnam, or the Taybank Hotel Dunkeld. Birnam now has its own theatre which has a busy schedule of events, concerts and plays. It is also easy to reach the theatres and other entertainments in the larger towns of Perth and Pitlochry. We are also friends of Perthshire Amber, Dougie Macleans folk festival which is extremely popular in Autumn. We also offer wildlife walks as part of the festival.

The Birnam Guest House is the ideal base to relax and enjoy Dunkeld and the surrounding area.