things to do in Dunkeld

Dunkeld is a charming Scottish village, nestled on the banks of the River Tay. This guide explores some of the best things to do in Dunkeld.

Things to do in Dunkeld

things to do in Dunkeld

Situated in the heart of Perthshire there are tons of things to do in Dunkeld. The village is situated within close proximity of Glen Tay, Pitlochry, and Creiff with the Cairngorms a further drive away.

Visitors are also close to Perth and Dundee. There are loads of exciting things to do in Dunkeld and the surrounding area.

The Hermitage

The Hermitage: things to do in Dunkeld
Inside Ossian’s Hall with Black Linn Falls behind.

Literally on the doorstep of Dunkeld, you have the hermitage. This short walk is one of the top things to do in Dunkeld.

The Hermitage Walk begins just outside of Dunkeld on the other side of the A9. Follow the well-defined path up to Ossian’s Hall for spectacular views of Black Linn Falls.

Loch Ordie

Loch Ordie: things to do in Dunkeld

The walk up to Loch Ordie is long but easy and straightforward. This is a great woodland walk. If you are looking for things to do in Dunnkeld with kids, then this walk is perfect.

If you’ve still got a bit of steam in you, you can carry on to Deuchary Hill for fantastic views.

Craigvinean Forrest (Pine Cone Point)

Pine Cone Point: things to do in Dunkeld

This walk begins at The Hermitage car park and features one of Scotland’s oldest managed forrests. This is another one of the things to do in Dunkeld with kids.

Follow the paths through the forrest to reach Pine Cone Point. From here you will be rewarded with sweeping views of the Tay and Perthshire hills.

Birnam Hill

Birnam Hill: things to do in Dunkeld

The walk up Birnam Hill is fairly straight forward with a couple of steep bits.

It is worthwhile taking the short detour to Stair Bridge while climbing Birnam Hill.

Dunkeld House Tree Trail

Dunkeld House Tree Trail: things to do in Dunkeld

Once home to one of the “Planting Dukes of Atholl” Dunkeld House’s estates feature fantastic woodlands.

Dunkeld House Tree Trail celebrates the vision of the Dukes. Visiting the tree trail to learn about these woods and to enjoy the walks.

Dunkeld House itself is now a hotel and it’s nice to pop in for a cup of coffee or tea after a walk.

Beatrix Potter Exhibition and Gardens

Beatrix Potter Exhibition Gardens: things to do in Dunkeld

This one caters more towards children.

Beatrix Potter Exhibition and Gardens feature old fashioned toys, tons of information on Beatrix Potter herself and fantastic gardens for a wander.

Visiting this attraction is also a trip down memory lane for some of the older Beatrix Potter fans.

Dunkeld Whisky Box

Dunkeld Whisky Box is a new business in the heart of the town center. Here visitors can discover the best Scottish whisky the country has to offer.

The owner, Will Stockham, also offers tasting sessions, dispensing whisky knowledge gained from years of experience as a Scottish tour guide.

Dunkeld Whisky Box should be top of your agenda on your next visit.

The Birnam Oak

The Birnam Oak: things to do in Dunkeld

The Birnam Oak is all that remains of the great forrest that inhabited the banks and hills surrounding the River Tay.

This forrest was featured prominently in Shakespeare’s play Macbeth:

“Macbeth shall never vanquish’d be until/ Great Birnam Wood to high Dunsinane hill/ Shall come against him.”

Walking up to The Birnam Oak you won’t be confused as to which tree it is. There are several impressive trees leading up to The Birnam Oak, but they are marked with messages like “not me, keep going”.

Birnam Oak itself looks absolutely ancient. Indeed, it is around 600 years old.

Dunkeld Cathedral

Dunkeld Cathedral: things to do in Dunkeld

Dunkeld Cathedral is the main architectural feature in the town. Build over 500 years ago, the cathedral drawls influence from Gothic and Norman designs.

It is said that the relics of St Columba were buried under the chancel for safekeeping after St Columba’s return from Iona. You can still see St Columba’s Dove in the Wast Window.

Inside the Cathedral sits The tomb of the Wolf of Badenoch and The Effigy of Bishop Sinclair.

Telford Bridge

Telford Bridge: things to do in Dunkeld

Telford Bridge, also known simply as Dunkeld Bridge, is the bridge linking Dunkeld and Little Dunkeld and Birnam.

The bridge was built by Thomas Telford in 1809. At the time of its conception, the bridge was the only bridge across the Tay between Perth and Aberfeldy. This simplified the route between Perth and Inverness and replaced the Military Road.

Dunkeld Bridge is considered one of Telford’s finest.

Loch of the Lowes

Loch of the Lowes: things to do in Dunkeld

The main highlight at Loch of the Lowes is a pair of breeding ospreys. These ospreys nest just outside the main observation area.
Check out the osprey nest live cam below:

Visitors to Loch of the Lowes can also take part in beaver spotting walks with park officials. You can also spot red squirrels, woodpeckers and other woodland birds.

The Canyoning Company

The above video shows instructors from The Canyoning Company at the Bruar Falls. This video shows the instructors completing the canyon in 15 minutes. However, these are experienced canyoners. The tour usually takes 2+ hours.

Something for those looking for thrilling things to do in Dunkeld.

The Canyoning Company offer guided gorge walks with all equipment included.

Canyoning includes gorge walking, trekking around rock pools and behind waterfalls, abseiling down waterfalls and cliff jumping into water pools.

Visit The Canyoning Company website to book.

Tay Forrest Park

Tay Forrest Park: things to do in Dunkeld
Queens View is part of the Tay Forrest Park

Tay Forrest Park is a whopping 120 square miles of Forrestry and Land Scotland managed woodland. An area this size justifies a page of it’s own! Indeed, a few walks mentioned in this post sit inside the Tay Forrest Park.

Highlights of the Tay Forrest Park include the Queen’s View, Allean Forrest, Faskally, Craigvinean, Caire and Drummon Hill (phew, that was a mouthful!).

Tay Forrest Park is also home to a vast network of Iron Age structures. 

Highland Offroad

Another one for those looking for thrilling things to do in Dunkeld.

Highland Offroad offers quad trek adventures as well as 4×4 Land Rover experiences.

They even offer a 4×4 experience for 11-17-year-olds!

House of Bruar

House of Bruar: things to do in Dunkeld

The House of Bruar is an iconic retail outlet showcasing local product and outdoor clothes.

It is as far from the typical tacky tourist and souvenir shop found elsewhere as possible.

The outlet has a lovely wee cafe but honestly, I love going to the food shop and looking at all the excellent local produce. Yummy!


Distilleries in Dunkeld

Another one of the amazing things to do in Dunkeld is visit the surrounding area’s distilleries.

Dunkeld sits right in the middle of some of Scotland’s most celebrated distilleries.

Within an hour radius, give or take, you have Edradour, Blair Atholl Distillery, Dewar’s Aberfeldy Distillery and Glenturret Distillery. If you like whiskey, make sure you stop by one of these fantastic distilleries for a dram. Even if you’re not that big a whiskey fan, distillery tours are fascinating and usually include lessons on the brewing process.


Erdradour Distillery: Distilleries in Dunkeld

Edradour was once renowned as the smallest traditional distillery in Scotland. The distillery lost this title in 2013 when the smaller Strathearn Distillery opened their doors.

During the tour, you will get the chance to taste Edradour whiskey.

You will also be shown around the distillery by a knowledgable guide and gain insight into how whiskey is produced in this small distillery.

The best time to visit is between April and October but there are still tours available from November to March.

Blair Atholl Distillery

Blair Atholl Distillery: Distilleries in Dunkeld

Blair Atholl Distillery sits in the heart of Pitlochry (not Blair Atholl).

The distillery has been on the go since 1798. That’s over 2 centuries of whiskey expertise.

Tous vary in price. The most affordable tour is the £10 standard tour which includes a dram of Blair Athol Single Malt. The premium option sits at £250 with a meet and greet with the manager, a guided tour with a distillery operator, lunch and a 6 malt tasting session.

Dewar’s Aberfeldy Distillery

Deward's Distillery: Distilleries in Dunkeld

Deward’s Distillery was founded by John Deward in 1896.

The distillery sits in Aberfeldy, a short drive away from Dunkeld.

Distillery tours start at £10.50 and all options include a wee dram.

Glenturret Distillery

Glenturret Distillery: Distilleries in Dunkeld

Situated in Glenturret, a few miles away from Crieff and a short drive from Dunkeld, Glenturret Distillery sources their water from Loch Turret.

Tours here let visitors learn all about the full whiskey process.

And, of course, include a dram at the end.

Highland Safaris

Highland Safaris: things to do in Dunkeld

Visiting Highland Safaris is one of the most exciting things to do in Dunkeld.

Highland Safaris has a ton of things to do and is situated on half an hour away from Dunkeld.

The list of things to do here includes;

  • Biking
  • Walking
  • Bike Trax
  • The Red Deer Centre
  • Gold Panning
  • Discovery Trail
  • Drop At The Top
  • Children’s Play Area

Visit the Highland Safaris website for more information.

Hillwalking in Dunkeld

hill walking in Dunkeld
Looking towards the summit of Ben Lawers from Beinn Ghlas.

One of the best things to do in Dunkeld is hillwalking.

Dunkeld is situated within failry close distance to some excellent Munros and Corbets.

A Munro is a Scottish mountain over 3000ft high and a Corbet is a Scottish mountain between 2500ft and 300ft high.

To The North you have Beinn a’Ghlo and Ben Vrackie. Further north you have the Drumochter Munros and the Eastern Cairngorms.

Heading east you have easy access to the Tay Valley, with the Ben Lawers range easily accessable. Eastward you also have access to Ben Vorlich and Stuc a’Chroin and Ben Chonzie.

Below are a few suggestions for hikes near Dunkeld.


Schiehallion: hill walking in Dunkeld
Atop Schiehallion. The mostly flat surrounding area gives superb views across the Rannoch Moor towards Glen Coe. The majority of the Cairngorms can be seen as well as the Glen Lyon group of Munros and Ben Lawers Group.

Schiehallion translates from Gaelic into English as ‘Fairy Hill of the Caledonians’.

This Munro is iconic in Scotland. Due to flat expanse of moorland to the North of Schihallion, the mountain is very easy to distinguish from other surrounding peaks.

The hike is fairly straightforward. View the full route at Walkhighlands.

Ben Vrackie

Ben Vrackie: hill walking in Dunkeld
Me early 2019 about to start the assent to Ben Vrackie

Ben Vrackie sits behind Pitlochry, 20 minutes away from Dunkeld.

This is another straightforward hill. This hill is a Corbett.

From the summit, climbers are rewarded with impressive views North across to Beinn a’Ghlo and the Cairngorms. To the East, Schiehallion silhouettes the skyline.

View the full route at Walkhighlands.

Beinn a’Ghlo

Ben a'Ghlo: hill walking in Dunkeld
Looking over to Beinn a’Ghlo from Ben Vrackie’s Summit

One of the more challenging routes on this list, Beinn a’Ghlo includes 3 Munros that are all climbed in one day.

The walk starts near Loch Moraig, a 30 minutes drive from Dunkeld.

Hikers are rewarded with views of the head of Glen Tilt.

View the full route at Walkhghlands.

Carn Mairg Circuit from Invervar

Meall Garbh: hill walking in Dunkeld
A very sunny day climbing the Carn Mairg Circuit. I think this is atop Meall Garbh, the second Munro in the circuit. I also think that is Schiehallion to the left.

One of the more challenging routes, the Carn Mairg Circuit includes no less that 4 Munros in a single day.

There are no real technicalities to overcome on this Munro, save a fairly steep descent form Carn Marig.

The challenge lies within the distance covered in a single day. Your fitbit will thank you!

Hikers are rewarded with views across to the Ben Lawers group, and Schiellion. On a clear day you can look across the Rannoch Moor into Buchaille Etive Mor, at the head of Glen Coe and Glen Etive.

View the full route at Walkhighlands.

Ben Lawers and Bheinn Ghlas

Ben Lawers: hill walking in Dunkeld
A very old picture of me and a friend atop Ben Lawers. This was one of my first hill walks as an adult. I had done loads when younger.

Ben Lawers is the 10th highest Munros in Scotland. However, you start this climb at around 400 meters, so a lot of the actual climbing is minified by the high starting point.

Bheinn Ghlas is also included as part of the natural ascent, although there is nothig particularly noteworth about this Munro.

Climbers are rewarded with views across to The Tarmachan Ridge, the Glen Lyon Hills and the Crianlarich Hills.

View the full route at Walkhighlands.

Meall nan Tarmachan (The Tarmachan Ridge)

Meall Nan Tarmachan: hill walking in Dunkeld
The Tarmachan Ridge in Winter

Meall nan Tarmachan is a fairly straightforward hill to climb.

It starts at the same location as the Ben Lawers walk. Subsequently, a lot of the ascent is already taken care of.

The top of the Munro can be climbed within a couple of hours. However, the real reward is The Tarmachan Ridge that stretches off behind the summit.

The Tarmachan is a straight forward, yet excellent ridge due to it’s accessibility.

As well as the fantastic ridge, hillwalkers are rewarded with views across to the Ben Lawers group. Views also include Glen Lyon and across to the Crianlarich Hills.

View the full route at Walkhighlands.

Ben Vorlich and Stuc a’Chroin

Ben Vorlich Stuc a'Chroin: hill walking in Dunkeld
Me and Heather atop Ben Vorlich with Stuc a’Chroin in the background to the left. Very sunny day!

To the east sits Ben Vorlich and Stuc a’Chroin.

Ben Vorlich an be tackled alone for a, easy, straightforward hike.

Including Stuc a’Chroin, translated into ‘Peak of Danger’ isn’t as difficult as it sounds. It does pose some challenges and is suitable for more experienced climbers.

From the summit walkers are rewarded with views of the Tay Valley Hills and other hills.

View the full route at Walkhighlands.

Ben Chonzie

Ben Chonzie: hill walking in Dunkeld
Me and my dog Milo atop Ben Chonzie 2015.

Ben Chonzie is a fairly featureless Munro.

However, this is an excellent climb for beginners to hillwalking as there are no real challenges or verticle obstacles to overcome.

The hill can be climbed in 4 hours.

View the full route at Walkhighlands.

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