Feel the crunch of autumnal leaves under your feet, or bask in the sunlight that erupts between the towering Douglas firs as you stroll through the magical, glorious stretch of Perthshire woodland to be found at the Hermitage.
Beautifully looked after by the National Trust for Scotland, the Hermitage is located within Craigvinean Forest and dates way back to the 18th Century, when it was created by the 3rd Duke of Atholl.
Blessed with numerous stunning features – including Ossian’s Hall, a totem pole carved from a Douglas fir, the River Braan, Black Linn waterfall, red squirrels, leaping salmon, and a host of other wildlife – and spectacular walks across its 33 acres, a visit to the forest is a must for lovers of the great outdoors while in Perthshire.
Getting there and things you should know
Located just off the A9 – which connects Stirling and Perth with the Cairngorms before travelling north to Inverness and beyond – and only just over a mile from Dunkeld-Birnam Station, the Hermitage can be reached easily from Perth, Dundee and Stirling, and is also accessible from both Edinburgh and the southern end of Cairngorms National Park, making for a wonderful day trip.
The Hermitage is open daily except between 23 March and 7 June, and has an on-site car park which costs £3. In winter, the roads leading in from the A9, as well as the car park, can get very icy.
Things to see nearby
Walking through the Hermitage is the most obvious – but not the only – reason to visit. While the Hermitage boasts a 1.5mile woodland trail to explore, a longer walk can also be enjoyed by joining one of the trails in the Dunkeld Path Network. To learn more of the area’s history, a private tour can also be arranged with one of the Hermitage’s rangers.
For adrenaline junkies, there are also opportunities to enjoy quad biking and bungee jumping, while for something a little less active but no less enthralling, there is also clay pigeon shooting.
Just a mile away, the picturesque town of Dunkeld is nestled on the banks of the River Tay. Here, you can wander round and admire the restored 17th and 18th Century houses, or pootle in the shops and purchase local produce.
Places to eat and drink nearby
At the Hermitage itself, a takeaway café is located in the car park – ideal for grabbing a coffee or hot chocolate for the walk on colder days, or cooling off with a well-deserved ice cream following a summer stroll.
Locally, the Atholl Arms in Dunkeld is a great spot for sampling some fine malt whiskies, while there are also a selection of other hotels, cafes and takeaway restaurants in the town.
Did you know…
Famous figures throughout history have visited the Hermitage, so a trip to the area will see you following in the footsteps of Queen Victoria, romantic poet William Wordsworth, German composer Felix Mendelssohn and painter William Turner, with the latter three said to have taken inspiration for some of their works.