Trains to Perth

The Fair City of Perth provides the perfect backdrop for a day out or weekend away filled with culture, great food and gorgeous views.

A fair city indeed. Sitting on the banks of the River Tay, the beautiful city of Perth is steeped in history. Once upon a time it was the capital of Scotland, with the country’s monarchs being crowned a short distance away at Scone Palace. Nowadays, you’ll find a buzzing city with great independent shops and cafes, large public parks and lovely spots to enjoy views over the river.

Getting to Perth

Getting to Perth by train is easy, no matter where you’re starting your journey from. Nestled right in the heart of Scotland, Perth can be easily accessed in less than two hours from all our cities - give or take a few minutes more from Inverness. The station itself is right in the centre, making it easy to get around on foot once you arrive.

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Why choose Perth?

Perth is a compact city making it easy to get around on foot from the station. And there’s plenty to keep you busy for a day or two both within the city itself and a little further afield.

One of the best things about Perth are the two fantastic green parks – the North Inch and the South Inch. You’ll find the South Inch a five-minute walk from the station, and the North Inch along the banks of the River Tay, around 15 minutes away from the station. Both parks have paths for walking and fantastic play parks for little ones wanting to burn some energy.

One of Perth’s slightly more unusual claims to fame is that it’s the first city in the UK to be home to a beaver family. If you’re enjoying a walk along the banks of the Tay on the North Inch, be sure to keep your eyes peeled for their den and signs of beaver activity.

Once you arrive in Perth, you can have a brilliant day out without breaking the bank. There are lots of things to do in Perth that are completely free including the museum, public art trail and lovely parks. Plus, remember, when you travel by train, your train ticket gives you exclusive access to great offers including free entry for kids and 2FOR1 admission to some attractions.

Shopping in Perth

Perth is lucky to have a good high street plus lots of fantastic independent shops and cafes. Along George Street, you’ll find lots of these independent shops including the award-winning deli, Provender Brown, freshly baked bread from Casella & Polegato and freshly roasted coffee from The Bean Shop. If there’s warm weather when you visit, we suggest picking up picnic supplies from Provender Brown and heading for the North Inch, just around the corner.

Two ladies wearing masks, shopping at Boo Vake. Image credit VisitScotland and Luigi Di Pasquale

Image credit: VisitScotland and Luigi Di Pasquale

Eating out in Perth

While there are plenty of picturesque picnic spots for some al fresco dining, there are a lot of brilliant independent cafes and restaurants enticing you with delicious food and comfy outdoor seating. For coffee connoisseurs, or just those that love a really good cup of coffee, Hinterland on St John’s Place has to be your first stop. Whether it’s breakfast, morning coffee or lunch you’re after, the friendly team have plenty to tempt you. There’s outdoor seating here too, overlooking St John’s Kirk making it a lovely spot to stop.

The George Street Tea Room on (you guessed it) George Street is another must visit. Their homemade scones are incredible! Coupled with a fresh pot of tea, an outdoor seat and some sunshine makes it the perfect spot to while away an hour before enjoying a stroll along the river.

As well as cosy cafes, Perth has plenty of restaurants ranging from delicious cosy pub food to fine dining and everything in between.

See Visit Scotland's 9 must-try Perth restaurants and places to eat

Two females eating a meal at Hinterland Perth - Image credit VisitScotland and Luigi Di Pasquale

Image credit: VisitScotland and Luigi Di Pasquale

Outdoor things to do in Perth

Due to Perth’s pretty location, it really is a city that lends itself to enjoying the outdoors. The River Tay runs along the bottom of the High Street and has plenty of viewpoints from either the banks or one of the bridges to enjoy the views over the river, city and surrounding greenery.

For an easy wander, cross the River Tay using the Railway Bridge. You get brilliant views from the bridge of the river and of any passing trains. It’s quite a thrill when one thunders past! Once you’re over the river, take a left and follow the sculpture trail. The striking sculptures are placed throughout the riverside gardens with some nestled amongst the colourful flowerbeds. The trail takes around an hour at a leisurely pace.

For a more strenuous walk, but one with big rewards, lace up those hiking books and head across the river to Kinnoull Hill. The route, outlined on Walk Highlands, starts in the city centre, before crossing over the Tay using the Railway Bridge. Once over the bridge, follow the signs for Kinnoull Hill.

Make sure your phone is charged or you have a camera because the views from the top of the hill are stunning. On a clear day you’ll see for miles across stunning Perthshire countryside.

If you’ve got a mountain bike with you, there are lots of biking trails up Kinnoull Hill too. Pack up some goodies from George Street to enjoy at the top!

Find out more about Kinnoull Hill and Tower, Perth

The North and South Inches are two large green parks right next to the city centre, with the North Inch being slightly bigger. Both have lots of paths for walking, with the North Inch going alongside the River Tay providing gorgeous views. There are large play parks for children in both parks and lots of space to enjoy a picnic.

Leaving Perth city centre and taking a short walk across the river brings you to the beautiful Branklyn Garden. This two-acre hillside garden, owned by National Trust Scotland, is filled with an abundance of fragrant, colourful flowers all year round. After a wander, take a seat at the café to enjoy a cup of tea with views over the garden.

It takes around twenty minutes to get from the train station to Branklyn Garden. There is an admission charge to visit the Garden.

Public Art On Tay Street - credit Visit Scotland and Kenny Lam

Image credit: Visit Scotland and Kenny Lam

Indoor things to do in Perth

While Perth has plenty to enjoy outside, there are also some fantastic things to enjoy inside too. Perth and its surrounding area is rich in culture and history so the museum is a great place to start finding your bearings on how this little city makes a big impact.

The Fair Maid’s House dates back to the 1400’s and is regarded as the oldest secular building in Perth. It’s received a few renovations in its time but parts of it still date back to the Medieval times. It is now home to The Royal Scottish Geographical Society’s Visitor and Education Centre. The visitor centre is filled with large collections of maps, atlases, books, journals and photographs to name a few. The Earth Room, Education Room and Explorer’s Room provide lots of fascinating exhibits to learn about the world around us. It’s a brilliant place to spend an hour or two, whatever your age.

The centre is run by volunteers so it’s worth checking their website before you travel to make sure they’ll be open. Admission is free but donations are welcome.

Perth Leisure Pool is one of the best leisure complexes in Scotland, for every age. There are flumes, a kid’s water play area, wild water, bubble beds, lane swimming and even an outdoor lagoon pool which can be enjoyed all year round. It’s a brilliant place for a family outing before enjoying lunch or a picnic in the city. Admission fee applies.

The Black Watch Museum, easily accessed from the North Inch, is filled with the rich history of the Black Watch Regiment. You’ll find uniforms, paintings, medals, photographs and much more on display. Admission fee applies.

A couple of miles outside of Perth city centre you’ll find Scone Palace, an important place in Scotland’s history. You can reach Scone Palace from Perth by hopping on the number 3 or number 58 bus from the city centre. You can add a bus ticket onto your train ticket using PlusBus – find out more about that here.

The Palace has a rich history as one of Scotland’s most important stately homes. It has been the seat of parliaments and the crowning place of Macbeth and Robert the Bruce. Take time to explore the Palace and enjoy a wander of the beautiful gardens, including trying to find your way to the centre of the Murray Star Maze.

Please visit their website to plan your day out before you travel. Admission fee applies.

Scone Palace - Credit Visit Scotland and Kenny Lam

Image credit: Visit Scotland and Kenny Lam

Days out from Perth

Highland Perthshire

As well as being known as the Fair City, Perth is also known as The Gateway to the Highlands. From Perth station, you can take the train to Dunkeld, Pitlochry and Aviemore to enjoy all the outdoor activities you can imagine from hiking and biking to white water rafting and even skiing in the winter.

Dundee and Aberdeen

The train journey from Perth to Dundee (approx. 25 minutes) and onwards to Aberdeen (approx. 1 hour, 35 minutes) is beautiful. As you leave Perth, the train follows the Tay, providing gorgeous views, before arriving into the newly rejuvenated city of Dundee. It’s rapidly becoming Scotland’s cultural centre – with the V&A museum and a leading programme of arts and culture. Further up the east coast you’ll find Aberdeen (approx 1 hour 35 minutes from Perth), with its busy harbour, imposing architecture, and links to Orkney and Shetland.

Train tickets from Perth

Staying in Perth

If you’ve got the time, there is plenty to keep you occupied in Perth for a few days, particularly if you fancy also venturing out into the beautiful Perthshire countryside. In the city itself, there is a variety of accommodation options available, ranging from luxury townhouses to comfortable hotels. A few of Perth’s most popular hotels, all within walking distance of the train station, are The Parklands Hotel, The Townhouse and The Mercure. Visit Scotland has some fantastic information here on where to stay.

The Perth Arms Hotel - Credit Visit Scotland and Kenny Lam

Image credit: Visit Scotland and Kenny Lam

Find out more about visiting Perth

Image at top of page - Credit Visit Scotland and Kenny Lam

Ways to save...

  • Spirit of Scotland travel pass: 1-2 weeks of train, ferry and coach travel covering the whole country
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