From legendary battles to ancient kings and queens, the chance to explore the rich and fascinating history of the Scottish Highlands serves as one of the more compelling reasons why guests choose to stay with us near beautiful Pitlochry on their holiday in Scotland.
At every turn, the areas surrounding this beautiful Perthshire town tell their own captivating tales of Highland heroes, valiant explorers, and intrepid adventures, all through the countless historical landmarks that have stood tall and proud around these parts for centuries.
Yet whilst you could easily lose your entire holiday to exploring all the castles, monuments and age-old memorials of the Perthshire Highlands, doing so would deprive you of the opportunity to enjoy everything that this vibrant region has to offer.
To help you really make the most of your holiday in Scotland, the team at the Dunalastair Hotel Suites near Pitlochry have put together this guide to the five historical Highland landmarks that are an absolute must for your itinerary.
Blair Atholl, Pitlochry PH18 5TL
Located deep in the heart of Pitlochry itself, few landmarks can offer quite as many compelling tales as Blair Castle, the ancient seat of the Dukes of Atholl and home to Europe’s last remaining private army, the Atholl Highlanders.
There are 30 magnificently designed rooms to visit, each with its own story to tell. Whether it’s the castle’s role in the legendary Civil War and the Jacobite Rising, or the lives of Bonnie Prince Charlie, Mary Queen of Scots, and Queen Victoria (all of whom stayed here at some point), this 700+ year old venue is literally teeming with history.
Dating back all the way to the 13th century, the castle today looks as bold, brilliant, and beautiful today as it did back then, with its truly inspiring architecture worth the visit alone.
Our top tip – the castle faces northeast so visit early morning to catch the sun in the right position for the best photographs.
Scottish Crannog Centre,
Kenmore Loch Tay, Loch Tay, Aberfeldy PH15 2HY
A short, 25 minute drive from Pitlochry to the picturesque village of Aberfeldy brings you to the The Scottish Crannog Centre. Here, you’ll find a unique, highly accurate reconstruction of an Iron Age loch dwelling.
Though it may be a reconstruction and not an actual landmark itself, there is nowhere else in the Perthshire Highlands that comes close to offering such a fascinating insight into the deepest recesses of Scotland’s long, storied past.
Here, you’ll experience what it was like to live in Scotland over 2,500 years ago, and to discover ancient Scottish skills like traditional pottery making, weaving, and the always popular fire making.
A popular outing for those on a family holiday in Scotland, children and grown-ups alike will find much to love about this one-of-a-kind attraction.
The Manse, Cathedral St, Dunkeld PH8 0AW
Often referred to as ‘The Gateway to Highland Perthshire,’ Dunkeld is a peaceful, pretty little village located about 40 minutes from our hotel, just the other side of Pitlochry.
Yet it hasn’t always been that way. In 1689, The Battle of Dunkeld took place between the Jacobites and the covenanters, one of the bloodiest and most violent battles of the Jacobite Rising.
Dunkeld was considered the centre of Christianity during the 7th century.
As the Church grew in power and wealth, Dunkeld Cathedral (dating from 1325) became extremely important in ecclesiastical terms, although it only stood for around 100 years.
Destroyed during the Reformation of 1560, most of the cathedral is now in ruins but is preserved as an Ancient Monument. The Choir has been preserved, and now serves as the parish church for regular Sunday worship.
The cathedral also famously serves as the final resting place of Alexander Stewart, Earl of Buchan, better known as the Wolf of Badenoch, son of King Robert II.
Pass of Killiecrankie
Killiecrankie, Pitlochry PH16 5LG
Another historical landmark which played a prominent role in the story of the Jacobites, Killiecrankie Pass and its surrounding areas served as the site of the The Battle of Killiecrankie, which took place just one month before the aforementioned Battle of Dunkeld.
It was here at this incredible wooded gorge that one soldier famously made his escape by leaping right across the River Garry, at a spot today revered as Soldier’s Leap.
Today this stunning wooded gorge is a popular beauty spot, offering easily accessible walking trails. The Pass of Killiecrankie Visitors Centre also offers a wonderful insight into the natural history of this truly stunning part of the Perthshire Highlands.
Weem, Aberfeldy, Aberfeldy PH15 2JD
Last but by no means least, this stunning, sixteenth century castle serves not only as a perfect example of Renaissance period architecture, but also a solid reminder of Scotland’s troubled past.
For over 400 years, the castle remained the seat of the Chiefs of Clan Menzies, and famously hosted Bonnie Prince Charlie as he journeyed to Culloden in 1746.
Today, Castle Menzies has been lovingly restored and serves as one of the most iconic visitor attractions in Perthshire with lots to explore both inside and in the surrounding area. It is also a popular venue for weddings near Pitlochry.
Explore all of these fascinating historical highland landmarks on your next stay at the Dunalastair Hotel Suites near Pitlochry. Book your stay online today, or call now on +44 (0)1882 580444.