Idyllic village that's heavy with history

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The pretty village of Dunkeld lies among rolling wooded Perthshire hills as they rise to become the Highlands, which made it a stop-off for cattle drovers for generations.

The village’s strategic significance also drew military attention in what became the 1689 Battle of Dunkeld. History buff’s will enjoy a free audio tour of the battle: playable and downloadable here. It recounts a day of much bloodshed between Jacobite and Union forces, which proved a pivotal setback for the Jacobites and near-Armageddon for the village. All but a handful of houses were burnt to the ground, making today’s rows of pretty white-washed houses the result of early 18th-century rebuilding.

Much of the battle took place among the idyllic lawns and trees around the impressive 14th-century cathedral (daily: April–Sept 9.30am–5.30pm; Oct–Mar 9.30am–4pm; free).

It’s on the east bank of the River Tay, and from it you can see Dunkeld’s sister settlement Birnam spread out on the opposite bank. They’re joined by a grand seven-arched 1809 bridge from which a pretty 5-minute signed walk along the Tay takes you to a twisted old Oak. Propped by crutches it’s claimed to be a survivor from William Shakespeare’s time, when his character Macbeth stood on Dunsinane Hill, to the southeast, and declared:

I will not be afraid of death and bane/Till Birnam Forest come to Dunsinane”.

At A Glance

Visitor Centre: The Cross
Dunkeld PH8 0AN
44 1350 727688
Visitor Centre Fri-Sun 11am-4pm (Aug-Oct also Mon-Thur 10.30am-4.30pm)

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