City Life: At the heart of it
Scotland's core county, well forested Perthshire is loch-filled and landlocked but for the Firth of Tay…
Smack in the middle of Scotland, Perthshire is within a 90-minute drive of 90 per cent of the country's population. It's the county of big trees, verdantly planted with ancient forests and woods. Nature rules in this rugged land of outdoor activity, wild but for the pristine golf courses that dot the landscape 40 times or more. Gleneagles is the famous favourite, accounting for three of the championship courses. This historic heart has had its fair share of antiquated action; Bonnie Prince Charlie stayed with a clan chief at Castle Menzies by Aberfeldy on route to the Battle of Culloden, and the island castle on Loch Leven is where Mary Queen of Scots was imprisoned pre-escape, for a start.
You're in the inner core of Scotland so nipping around to most places will be easy enough. The M90 is the main link to Edinburgh; from Stirling or Glasgow, it's the A90/M90. The drive from the Borders to Perthshire will take roughly two and a half hours. From London, it's a long old eight-hour slog.
The region's air gateways are Dundee and Edinburgh, both within a 30-minute drive of the county. Glasgow is also an option, but the drive to the border will take a little longer (75 minutes).
To arrive due north from across the southern border, chances are you'll need to make a change in Edinburgh or Glasgow. The county's stations include Perth, Invergowie, Gleneagles and Dunkeld. For scenic routes, the Highland Line traverses Pitlochry and Blair Atholl, and the West Highland Line crosses Rannoch, an isolated station in the midst of a moor.
Country code for the UK: +44. Perth: (0)1738. Crieff: (0)1764.
Do go / Don't Go
Most train stations and big cities have taxi ranks. In Crieff, try Strethearn Taxis (+44 (0)1764 652516).
In restaurants, 10 per cent is standard but not obligatory; some places add 12.5 per cent automatically.
Pound sterling (£).
It's likely to rain on you at least once during any Scottish sojourn so pack a mac. In winter, Brora cashmeres will come in handy as the temperatures drop further off the scale. Golfers should come equipped with their Pringle sweaters and checks to tee off in style at Gleneagles and co.
Perth and Pitlochry have theatres with versatile programmes all year. The area is big on crafts, ranging from glass-blowing to whisky-distilling. In Perth, 250 years of military history are documented at the Black Watch Museum on Hay Street (+44 (0)1738 638152). The city is also home to St John's Kirk, the church where John Knox set about igniting the Reformation. At Innerpeffray near Crieff, the oldest library still around in Scotland stands where it did in 1680.
One of the finest views in all the land can be found in Perthshire: Queen's View across Loch Tummel to Schiehallion is a pretty picture of lakes and mountains, stretching as far as the Glen Coe hills when it's clear. It was good enough for Queen Victoria to stop off to take tea back in 1866.
25 January Scotland celebrates its literary hero with a night of haggis, neeps and tatties. May For over a week every May, a festival of all things arty descends over Perth. July The country's biggest music festival, T in the Park, takes place over three days. October/November The Enchanted Forest walk weaves its way through Faskally Wood.