Every group that I have ever guided around Scotland has visited Branklyn Gardens. It's an absolute " must visit." Described as the "finest two acres of private gardens in the UK," Branklyn Gardens are located on the way out of the city of Perth, on the road towards Dundee. The garden was started in 1922 on the site of a former orchard and was taken over by the National Trust for Scotland in 1967. It has a wonderful collection of plants and is particularly colourful in the spring time when the rhododendrons and many alpine plants are in bloom. Botanists come from all over the world to see it. The gardens are open from 9.30am until sunset (which in the summer time can be well into the evening). While we are in the area, we might take time out for a walk in the nearby Kinnoull Hill - there are magnificent views down the Firth of Tay and across to the soaring Friarton Bridge which crosses the river, avoiding the city of Perth (not that you would want to!). And if you are keen on gardens and flowers, the Dundee University Botanic Gardens, 15 miles further down the River Tay, is also well worth a visit.
Other places to visit
Alyth Folk Museum, open only in summer, has collection of agricultural and domestic artefacts.
Secluded and unsignposted village built on private property. Houses overlook village green split by rushing burn.
Remains of Pictish fort on top of hill. Guinevere, King Arthur's queen, is said to have been imprisoned here for loving Pictish prince. View rewards climb.
Village, dating from 19th century, on River Tay. Birnam Wood mostly birch and oak. Terrace Walk along right bank of Tay passes oak said to be last survivor of original Birnam Wood featured in prophecy of Macbeth's death.
Blairgowrie and Rattray
Scotland's largest working water wheel on view at Keathbank Mill. Heraldic crests centre here. Two towns linked by 19th-century bridge over River Ericht. North of town, river rushes through 200ft deep gorge overlooked by 17th-century Craighall.
Bridge of Cally
Peaceful village in sheltered gorge at meeting place of River Ardle and Black Water. Choice of walks through deciduous forests.
Camperdown House and Country Park
European brown bears, wolves, lynxes, arctic foxes, reindeer, raccoons and golden eagles can be seen at wildlife centre. Other activities include golf, horse riding, tennis and Adventure Park. House has golf museum tracing sport's history.
From Law of Dundee, hill of volcanic rock in centre of town, views of surrounding areas including docks. Iron Age hill-fort and War Memorial here. McManus Galleries have displays of history and art including Dutch, French, Italian and British paintings, and oldest known astrolabe -- dating from 1555. Barrack Street Museum has natural history exhibits. Steeple of St Mary's Tower, dating from 16th century, now museum of church and local history. Ruins of Mains of Fintry Castle in Caird Park. Mills Observatory has displays on astrology and space travel, and allows public to use telescopes. Traditional methods of sweet making explained at Shaw's Sweet Factory- Frigate Unicorn, oldest British-built ship still afloat is now museum for Royal Navy. 11115 Discovery, Captain Scott's ship, has displays of ship's history, with actors reliving events on board. In suburb of Broughty Ferry, 4 miles east of town, Broughty Castle houses museum of whaling and local life.
Ruined cathedral dates from 12th century, 14th-century choir now houses parish church. Cathedral and High Streets have restored 17th-century houses, one of which has metal ell, measurement for cloth, on wall. Scottish Horse Museum has memorabilia of one of Scotland's two Highland yeomanry regiments.
Iron Age hill-fort enclosed by strong rampart -- said to be site of Macbeth's castle.
Pictish symbol stone in ruins of Eassie church. Cross and figures carved on one side; elephant men and animals on other.
St Marnock's Church dates from 1453 and has medieval painted panels, bronze alms dish and bell dated 1508. Jougs -- iron collars for tying up wrongdoers -- still hang from oak doors. Nearby Fowlis Castle built early 17th century.
Glamis Castle, childhood home of Queen Mother and birthplace of Princess Margaret, reputed to be most haunted stately home in Britain. Six-storey tower built in 15th century, but wings, turrets and castellated parapets added in the 17th century. Collection of tapestries, paintings, furniture and weapons. Parkland and formal garden laid out by Capability Brown; also 2lft high sundial with 84 dials. Angus Folk Museum in Kirkwynd has collection of furnishings, clothes and tools used by local community over last 200 years housed in 19th-century cottages. Glamis Stone nearby has intricate carvings.
From gentle, forested slopes around village of Clova, glen narrows to wild mountain home of red deer, wildcat and ptarmigan.
River Isla runs through picturesque valley for 17 miles. Loch fishing, horse riding and cross-country skiing. Highland Adventure Centre at Knockshannach, east of Kirkton of Glenisla.
Roadside cairn in memory of Captain Scott and Dr Wilson, who planned their Antarctic exploration at Dr Wilson's home in the glen. Walks through birch woods along glen.
The Hermitage Woodland
Walk leads through wooded area containing numerous exotic trees, beneath 19th-century railway bridge, along River Braan, past 18th-century bridge to folly over-looking waterfall.
Highland Motor Heritage Centre
Classic and vintage cars, costumes and accessories displayed in authentic period settings. Driving game, free slot-car racing and motor heritage videos.
Remains of castellated mansion consisting of two medieval towers, linked by--another tower in 17th century. Ceiling timbers carved with scrolls, fruit and the faces of dragons and other animals. Fragments of colourful wall paintings remain.
Ramparts and ditches of timber fortress built by Roman general Agricola in AD 83.
Three-storey house is the start for Victorian walk which passes wooded river bank where Queen Victoria once took tea, then 4 mile climb up Kindrogan Hill where surrounding mountains are indicated on circular map.
Village overlooking Carse of Gowrie, River Tay and Ochil Hills. Kinnaird Castle dates from 12th century -- restored in 1855 and now private home.
Kirkton of Glenisla
Ruined Forter Castle stands 4 miles north-west of village. The village itself is on River Isla.
Birthplace of author and playwright J.M. Barrie, creator of Peter Pan. His home now houses Bane Museum. On hill behind the graveyard where Barrie is buried is cricket pavilion with camera obscura. Views north towards highlands and south across Strathmore Valley.
Loch of Kinnordy
Freshwater loch with large numbers of nesting water birds. Observation hides.
Loch of the Lowes
Loch is part of Scottish Wildlife Trust reserve. Hide allows for viewing of water birds and pair of nesting ospreys. Visitor centre has wildlife exhibition and several small aquaria. Woods surrounding centre populated by roe and fallow deer.
Megginch Castle Gardens
The grounds of this 15th-century castle have a physic garden, 16th-century rose garden, astrological garden and 1000-year-old yews.
Meigle Museum contains 25 Pictish and early Christian carved stones, found in churchyard.
Beech hedge, 100ft high and 580yds long, forms eastern border of Marquis of Lansdowne's home
-- said to be largest hedge of its kind in world.
Ancient city, made Royal Burgh in 1210, though few old buildings remain. St John's Kirk conse-crated in 1243, but now mainly 15th century. From here, John Knox preached his sermon on idolatry that resulted in church wrecking throughout Scotland. Restored mill from 18th century produces flour and oatmeal in the traditional way. Fair Maid of Perth's House, once home of Catherine Glover, heroine of Sir Walter Scott's novel, now a craft shop. Black Watch Museum and Gallery holds treasures of High-land regiments. Perth Art Gallery and Museum has displays of local history, art, natural history and archaeology. Whisky blending explained at Dewar's distillery. Walk up Kinnoul Hill to folly at top, views of surrounding area.
Village of 18th-century cottages and houses. North-east stands a prehistoric burial mound.
Impressive waterfall where River Isla cascades into deep gorge.
Pink-stone castellated mansion, enlarged in 1803 around 16th-century and earlier buildings. Place where kings of Scotland were crowned. Interior reveals china, ivories, clocks and exquisite French furniture -- including Marie Antoinette's writing table. Grounds include pinetum, wood-land garden, children's play-ground and picnic area. Elaborately decorated chapel on Moot Hill in front of palace.
Well-preserved example of Iron Age earth house, comprising pas-sage, long gallery and small inner chambers. Close by is dovecote shaped like house, built 1595.