Sycamore Lodge Auchterarder

Towns & Cities
Auchterarder High Street

Often referred to as the lang toun due to the length of it’s main street, Auchterarder is a friendly bustling town sitting just north of the Ochil Hills. You’ll find on the High Street numerous independent shops, contemporary art galleries, local butchers, bakery, a great wee fruit & veg shop, well stocked supermarket and a good selection of eateries.  The iconic Gleneagles Hotel & Golf Resort lies to the west of the town and is well worth a visit for golfers and non-golfers alike.  Enjoy dining in one of their restaurants, pop in for a coffee or cocktail, or just enjoy a wander in the beautiful grounds.  It’s a 3 mile drive from Sycamore Lodge, or you can take an enjoyable walk through town in about an hour.   Auchterarder’s location is perfect for exploring Scotland’s beautiful scenic countryside and also gives easy access to it’s main cities, together with the numerous towns and villages close by.  

It started out as simply a bridge over the Allan Water in 1520 to form a route from Stirling to Perth, but now you’ll find the charming town of Bridge of Allan just north of Stirling.  A former spa town, it still retains the feel of one, and numerous independent shop, cafés and restaurants line the main street.  In the 1960’s the University of Stirling acquired Airthrey Castle & grounds which lie to the east of the town. They retained the castle buildings as offices and in the grounds built an entire campus university, one of the most attractive and best landscaped in the country.  Enjoy walking on the network of footpaths and around the loch within the grounds. Picnic areas are also provided.

Bridge of Allan

11 miles NW of Sycamore Lodge, wrapped around the slopes of the Knock of Crieff as they descend to meet the River Earn, lies the town of Crieff.  You’ll find a variety of shops and eateries on the winding main street, and for art lovers there is the wonderful Strathearn Gallery.  Celebrating the town’s history as a cattle droving crossroads, the “leafy coos” sculptures were unveiled a few years ago.  For highland cow lovers these are a must see!  Also, look out for the giant thistles sculpture.  Glenturret Distillery is to be found just outside Crieff.  Advertised as Scotland’s Oldest Distillery, make a visit and you’ll find on offer tours of the distillery, shop and restaurant. The picturesque MacRosty Park lies to the west of the town, take in the natural beauty of the area, stop off for a picnic or take a stroll by the river.   

Comrie lies 5 miles west of Crieff on the banks of the River Earn.  A 30 minutes drive from Sycamore Lodge through the Perthshire countryside will bring you to this pretty village.  The attractive Dalingross Bridge spans the river, which in turn is overlooked by the striking White Church.  Enjoy a picnic by the river or stop for a bite to eat in the likes of The Melville at The Royal Hotel.  Strangely enough Comrie is known to be the earthquake capital of the UK, being subject to more, and more intense, earthquakes than anywhere else.  This may be because it lies close to the Highland Boundary Fault, the line that carves from south-west to north-east right across Scotland. Because of this the village is sometimes referred to as the Shaky Toun.  The Earthquake House which houses sensors was built in 1874 and it can be found at the west side of the village. 

Comrie Perthshire
Dollar Blossom

A 30 minute drive south of Sycamore Lodge will take you to Dollar on the south side of the Ochil Hills.  Take the picturesque road through Glendevon and it feels like your in a wee Highland glen.  The views on the return journey are particularly stunning when the iconic Gleneagles Hotel comes into view with the backdrop of the Grampian Mountains.  The attractive upmarket town of Dollar lies at the foothill of the Ochil Hills.  Visit around the month of May and you’ll see the cherry trees that line the burn in full bloom, a great photo opportunity.  On the main street you’ll find independent shops including a wonderful Delicatessen, contemporary art gallery and several places for a bite to eat.  Castle Campbell sits high above the town at the head of Dollar Glen.  The walk up the glen is fairly strenuous but well worth it for the scenery, being surrounded by deep gorges and cascading waterfalls.  

The attractive town Dunblane lies just 5 miles north of Stirling.  With the Allan Water running through the town enjoy a riverside walk, or a stroll around the charming historic town centre.  The beautiful Dunblane Cathedral is to be admired from the outside, and it’s worth going inside too to appreciate the stunning wood carvings and stained glass windows. Closeby is the Leighton Library, the oldest purpose built library in Scotland.  For historians and bibliophiles it’s definately worth a visit. From the world of tennis, the Murray brothers hail from Dunblane and you’ll find a gold postbox in the town centre celebrating Andy!  A few miles north of the town is Cromlix Hotel.  Owned by Andy Murray it’s secluded in acres of woodland and garden grounds and well worth a visit.  

Dunblane Cathedral
Dunkeld & Birnam

Linked by a bridge over the River Tay lie the town and village, Dunkeld and Birnam.  Both are equally attractive, but totally different in atmosphere and appearance.  From Sycamore Lodge the quickest route is 30 mins north on the A9 or, take a slightly slower journey through the scenic Sma’ Glen and you’ll be there in just under an hour.  Sleepier Birnam has abit of a Victorian feel, with substantial grey stone buildings.  The Arts & Conference Centre features displays highlighting the links with the author Beatrix Potter who spent her childhood holidays there.  Across the river in Dunkeld the buildings are mainly whitewashed.  A great selection of independent shops, hotels and eateries line both sides of Bridge Street and High Street.  Continue further along High Street and you’ll come to Dunkeld Cathedral.  With the river on one side and open land leading to the hills, the setting is idyllic.   

It feels a little bit like time stood still when you arrive in the pretty village Doune, around 30 mins drive from  Sycamore Lodge.  The Mercat Cross stands at the intersection of the main streets where you’ll find a small range of independent shops intermingled with cottages.  Walkers, cyclists and cartophiles may be surprised to find Harvey Maps here in this sleepy wee village.  Pop into their shop and Map Bothy to find out how their maps are made.  The Buttercup Café is lovely for a bite to eat.  If the weather is fine they also have outdoor seating in an attractive courtyard where you’ll also find Doune Chic, a collection of boutiques  located in pretty chalets.  Doune Castle sits just outside the village and film buffs may be interested to know it featured heavily in Monty Python and the Holy Grail, Outlander and Game of Thrones.  

Doune, Scotland

With a surprisingly compact city centre, Scotland’s capital Edinburgh is small enough to be explored on foot.  Built on and around hills the geology adds to the beauty and attractiveness of this city.  Views and photo opportunities are abound at every turn but, for a birds-eye view its definitely worth making the effort to scale Arthur’s Seat, on a fine clear day.  From the medieval Old Town to the elegant New Town built during the Georgian era, you will not be disappointed by the stunning architecture.  Starting at the Castle, walk The Royal Mile, passing many attractions along the way, and you’ll end up at the Palace of Holyroodhouse, the principle royal residence in Scotland.  Both the Palace and gardens are worth a visit.  Over in the New Town, the old villages of Dean Village and Stockbridge are worth exploring.  Both sit on the Water of Leith and it’s a lovely walk between them.  Bear in mind there are no restaurants or facilities in Dean Village, but plenty on offer in Stockbridge.  Scenic and tranquil, it’s easy to forgot your actually in a city.  Don’t forget your camera!  From Sycamore Lodge you can reach Edinburgh city centre in just over an hour.  You’ll cross the Firth of Forth on the way, a chance to see the impressive 3 bridges.  If time allows stop off at one of the villages on either side of the Forth, South Queensferry, Port Edgar Marina or North Queensferry, for a great photo opportunity.  

Glasgow, Scotland’s largest city, and one of europe’s most vibrant and cosmopolitan.  In contrast to Edinburgh, few ancient buildings have survived the industrial era, apart from the Cathedral and Provand’s Lordship, Glasgow’s oldest house and now a museum housing a selection of 17th-century historic furniture and royal portraits.  Situated along both banks of the River Clyde where you’ll find the Riverside Museum, The Tall Ship and Glasgow Science Centre, Glasgow is renowned as a hub for media, art and culture.  With stunning architecture Kelvingrove Art Gallery & Museum is  worth a visit.  The city has an abundance of parks and green spaces, with Glasgow Green being the oldest. Here you’ll find the largest terracotta fountain in the world, the Doulton Fountain, and the beautiful McLennan Arch. Also set within this expansive park is the People’s Palace, a museum dedicated to the social history of Glasgow, and one of the city’s most unusual buildings, Templeton on the Green, which has a detailed design based on the famous Doge’s Palace in Venice.   Drive from Sycamore Lodge and you can be in Glasgow in an hour.

Perth Scotland

Perth is the closest city to Sycamore Lodge, only 13 miles east and you’ll be in the centre in 20 minutes.  It became Scotland’s seventh city in celebration of the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee in 2012.  Also known as The Fair City since the publication of the novel Fair Maid of Perth by Scottish writer Sir Walter Scot in 1828, Perth sits by the banks of the River Tay.  It’s a small city but has alot to offer in the way restaurants, bars, cafés and independent shopping.  For arts and culture make a visit to Perth Museum and Art Gallery, with its iconic copper domed roof and striking external columns, it’s one of the city’s most photographed buildings.  Enjoy a stroll along the banks of the river and follow The River Tay Public Art Trail, featuring a variety of sculptures themed around some of the most notable achievements of the city and its people. For entertainment Perth Theatre is one of Scotland’s oldest, and Perth Concert Hall plays host to some of the biggest names in music and entertainment from the UK and beyond.