Crieff, Aberfeldy, Dunkeld, Pitlochry, Perth and Kinross - Perthshire, Scotland
Perth itself is a wonderful town - read Walter Scott's The Fair Maid of Perth for a great introduction. The setting is lovely and the history fascinating. The Perth Art Gallery and Museum has some interesting displays and a new international Concert Hall is about to open next door to it. The Fergusson Gallery shows some of the artist's finest works and St John's Church dates from the 15th century and has a chapel designed by Robert Lorimer. Perth has some very good shops and excellent cafes and restaurants. A few miles away is Scone Palace - fabulous French furniture and great gardens to explore.
Kirriemuir, north east of Perth, was a jute manufacturing town where J M Barrie was born (his birthplace is now a museum maintained by the National Trust for Scotland). Blairgowrie and Alyth have lots of self-catering cottages available to rent - this is a great part of Perthshire for walking holidays. If you want to ski in Perthshire, Scotland, then Glenshee is a great resort - the skiing facilities have improved enormously in recent years.
Dunkeld is a charming town on the banks of the River Tay. Dunkeld Cathedral is a substantial ruin in an idyllic setting - the choir has been restored as the parish church and it contains the tomb of the Wolf of Badenoch - rather ironic as he was a great destroyer of churches. Dunkeld's Little Houses are owned by the National Trust for Scotland and add to the beauty of this historic town.
If you are on a bird-watching holiday in Scotland then you will want to visit Loch of the Lowes - a nature reserve where you can watch ospreys from a hide. Pitlochry has been a very popular Scottish holiday town since Victorian times. The Pitlochry Festival Theatre has excellent plays - remember to book your theatre tickets once you've booked your holiday cottage in Pitlochry as they are often sold out. Pitlochry Dam and Fish Ladder is open all the year round and is very popular with children as well as adults - it is fascinating to watch the salmon jumping up the ladder.
Blair Atholl is north of Killiecrankie and Atholl Castle is a busy tourist attraction in Scotland - Queen Victoria visited the castle in 1844 and granted the Duke of Atholl the privilege of retaining the only private army in the UK, the Atholl Highlanders. Beyond Blair Atholl is the House of Bruar - a great place to stop (for shopping and eating) on your journey to the north of Scotland - their food hall is great if you want to stock up for a self-catering holiday in the Highlands - there is an excellent deli so you can save yourself from too much cooking!
Loch Tummel, Loch Rannoch and Rannoch Moor have some breathtaking scenery, dominated by the peak of Schiehallion. Aberfeldy is another popular area for Perthshire holiday cottages. This pretty, small town has the last working flour mill in Scotland and the Aberfeldy Distillery is a popular visitor attraction. Castle Menzies is a 16th-century tower house which has been restored and is open to the public. Loch Tay (with plenty of watersports) is dominated by Ben Lawers - worth climbing on a clear day for the fabulous views. Kenmore is at the head of Loch Tay and is a conservation village with plenty of idyllic cottages to rent. Fortingall has the oldest yew tree in the UK, over 300 years old, and the thatched cottages are picturesque. Going south through the Sma' Glen is a lovely drive down to the holiday town of Crieff. Glenturret Distillery is the oldest distillery in Scotland and has an excellent visitors' centre. West is Comrie, a pretty conservation village with a well-known Hogmanay festival - the Flambeaux Procession takes place on New Year's Eve with villagers parading around Comrie in a torch-lit procession. In the far west of Perthshire lies St Fillans, on Loch Earn - a holiday centre if you want to sail, waterski or windsurf.
South of Crieff is Drummond Castle Gardens - amazing Italianate, formal gardens with a lovely kitchen garden too. Near to Auchterarder is Gleneagles Hotel with Scotland's premier golf courses - you can play here if you are staying in a holiday cottage, but do book your tee times early. Nearby Braco is the site of an enormous Roman fort - now just grass-covered ditches but fascinating if you are interested in the Roman period in Scotland. Perthshire encapsulates all that is great in Scotland and is a fantastic location for renting a luxury holiday cottage for families, or a large highland holiday home for larger groups on vacation in Scotland.