About Perth

Aerial View of Perth

History of Perth

Perth lies at the highest point on the River Tay to which sea going vessels can navigate, and the lowest bridging point, so it was always an ideal place for settlement and trade. There is evidence of Bronze and Iron Age, Pictish and Roman settlement in and around the area and ancient Scottish Kings were crowned at nearby Scone. Today, our location on the River Tay remains important and our City is a vital hub in Scotland’s transport networks. Four main bridges carry motorway, road and rail traffic to all points of the compass, and the still-busy Harbour handles cargoes to and from the UK, the Baltic, Scandinavia and mainland Europe. Sir Walter Scott’s novel, the Fair Maid of Perth was set in Perth’s oldest house The Fair Maid's house, which is now home to the Royal Scottish Geographical Society. Perth has been affectionately known as the Fair City since the novel was published in 1828. Find out more about Perth's fascinating history here.  

A cultural powerhouse

As well as its rich history, Perth has in recent years built up its reputation as a cultural powerhouse in the heart of Scotland. In the centre of the City, Mill Street has become a thriving 'cultural quarter' which includes the fully refurbished Perth Theatre, Perth Concert Hall, and Perth Art Gallery The street and the Concert Hall plaza also provide a focus for some of our most spectacular 'in bloom' displays every summer. This cultural offering is to be enhanced in April 2024 with the opening of Perth Museum in Perth's "Cafe Quarter" which is to house the Stone of Destiny.

Severe floods have caused damage to the City for centuries but Perth has now turned that to advantage; following major floods in 1993 work began on extensive flood defences, which were completed in 2001. The walls and flood gates now in place are not only effective barriers but are also attractive features in their own right. Alcoves carved into the walls along Tay Street highlight Perth's history and natural heritage; interpretive boards tell the story of our relationship with the Tay. There are 25 sculptures and art installations in the River Tay Public Art Trail, which takes visitors on a circular tour from the High Street, along Tay Street then across the river, and through Riverside Park which includes our heather collection, as well as Rodney Gardens and Norrie Milar Walk. Many of the flood gates themselves are works of art, such as these on the North Inch, which were created by local artist David F Wilson. 

Visitors also flock to Perth to enjoy the street markets and events that take place throughout the year. Farmer's markets are held on the first Saturday of every month, there are also craft fairs, food fairs, an annual Festival of the Arts, seasonal events at Halloween and Christmas and much more. To find out what's on, visit the Culture Perth and Kinross and Perth City Centre websites.  

Pictured below (from left): 'Soutar's Menagerie' on Tay Street; 'Eagle of Perth' on Tay Sreet; blooms & market stalls in Concert Hall plaza; 'Benchmark' seating in Norrie Miller Walk. Click on the image to see larger version. 

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