Dunkeld is a village in the Highland part of Perth and Kinross, Scotland, on the east bank of the River Tay (which here makes an S-bend, so it becomes the north bank.) The village of Birnam is on the opposite bank, connected by the Telford Bridge; the combined population in 2019 was 1360.
The original village was near the cathedral, but was smashed up by a battle in 1689. Dunkeld was therefore rebuilt in the early 18th century, and is the best-preserved example in Scotland of the style of that era. In 1809 the Telford bridge was opened across the Tay, and highway and village became re-aligned. Dunkeld and Birnam long stood on the A9 main road north, but were bypassed in 1977, so the main street is now a minor loop road.
Dunkeld's Tourist Information Centre closed down in 2018, so the nearest are now in Perth or Pitlochry.
Dunkeld is just off the A9 main road from the south towards Inverness. Stagecoach bus 23 / 27 runs hourly from Perth via Birnam and Dunkeld (40 min), continuing to Aberfeldy. But most intercity coaches along the A9 bypass Dunkeld, and there's usually only one or two Citylink buses per day direct from Edinburgh, Glasgow or Inverness.
The A923 climbs east over the hills: Stagecoach Bus 60 winds along this road between Dunkeld and Blairgowrie & Rattray 3-4 times a day, M-F only.
By train: 1 Dunkeld & Birnam Railway Station is across the bridge, in Birnam. It has Scotrail trains every hour or two between Edinburgh, Glasgow and Perth en route to Pitlochry, Aviemore and Inverness.
Dunkeld is a small village, so you can walk everywhere. Loch of the Lowes (2 miles) can be reached by the Fungarth Path.
Taxi: Birnam Autocabs are based at Perth Road, Birnam, +44 1350 728828.
- 1 Dunkeld Cathedral, Cathedral Street PH8 0AW. Apr-Sept 10:00-17:30; Oct-Mar 10:00-16:00. Built between 1260 and 1501, the Cathedral is surprisingly large for such a small village.It's partly ruined but still holds services. It has lovely riverside grounds, which connect to the grounds of the Dunkeld House Hotel. The attached Chapter House Museum features relics from monastic and medieval times, as well as an insight into local history. Donation.
- Walks: two easy strolls follow the river. West bank go from Birnam Oak, under the A9, past Inver and onward to the Hermitage; east bank from the cathedral to the Dunkeld House Hotel.
- Golf: Dunkeld & Birnam Golf Club is a mile up A923 towards Loch of the Lowes. White tees 5471 yards, par 69, visitor round £36.
- 1 Loch of the Lowes, Visitor Centre, Dunkeld, PH8 0HH (On A923, two miles north-east of Dunkeld), ☏ . Visitor Centre Mar-Oct 10:00-17:00, Nov-Feb F-Su 10:30-16:00. The largest of the chain of shallow, reedy, peaty "Lunan Lochs", Loch of the Lowes is a wildlife reserve with ospreys (Apr-Aug), beavers (May-Aug), red squirrels (Mar-Nov) and many other resident birds, and migratory birds especially early winter. There's an observation hide (always open) 200 m from the osprey nest. Dogs are welcome on the reserve, but only guide dogs in the visitor centre or hides. Adult £4, conc £3.50, Family (2 adults, 2 children) £7.50, child 50p.
- Going Pottie, 2 Cathedral St PH8 0AW, ☏ . M-Sa 10:00-17:00 (to 16:00 Nov-Mar), Su 11:00-16:00; Jan Feb closed M Tu. Pottery studio, gift shop with range of ceramics. You can paint your own - acrylic for decorative items, glaze for functional items.
- Malt whisky, smoked salmon, fine cheeses, and anything marketed with pictures of misty glens? Okay, but first check the prices and range available in the Perth supermarkets 15 miles south, which you can do online.
- Jeremy Law, City Hall, Atholl Street, ☏ . Sells deerskin and leather goods including moccasins, shoes and gloves. You can also order online.
- The Scottish Deli (formerly Robert Menzies), 1 Atholl Street PH8 0AR, ☏ . Tu W 09:30-18:30, Th-Sa 09:30-22:30, Su 10:00-22:30. Long-established well-stocked delicatessen with cheeses, cakes, jams, chutneys and meat. Also with restaurant.
- Dunkeld Smoked Salmon, Brae Street, ☏ . Daily 10:00-17:00. A small shop, selling wild and farmed salmon smoked on site, as well as various accompaniments. You can also order online.
- Atholl Gallery, 6 Atholl Street PH8 0AR, ☏ . Daily 11:00-17:00. Contemporary art gallery, selling paintings, ceramics and sculpture. You can also buy online.
- Dunkeld Fish Bar, 12 Atholl St, ☏ . Daily 12:00-21:00. A traditional fish & chip shop, serving fish suppers, smoked sausage and pies.
- [dead link] Country Bakery, 26 Atholl St, ☏ . Open 7 days, but closed in January. Available to sit in or take away, The Country Bakery offers a range of rolls, baguettes and light meals. Cakes, pastries and pies made fresh every day.
- [dead link] Darjeeling Restaurant, 3-5 Atholl St, ☏ . W-M 17:00-23:00. Indian / Bangladeshi cuisine, made with local produce when possible.
- Scottish Deli (listed above) has a cafe open shop hours, plus restaurant 18:30-22:30, daily in summer, winter evenings vary.
- Spill The Beans Cafe, 6 Cathedral St, ☏ . Th-Tu 09:30-16:15. Child friendly, offering breakfast, lunch, brunch, or coffee and cake.
- The Taybank, Tay Terrace, PH8 0AQ, ☏ . Su-Th 11:00-23:00, F Sa 11:00-00:00. Welcoming pub with good range of drinks and hot meals. Outdoor seating on the terrace and riverside beer garden. Live music usually W & Th evenings.
- The Perth Arms, High St, PH8 0AJ, ☏ . Pub with decent food.
- There are public bars at the Atholl Arms and Royal Dunkeld hotels, listed below.
- Atholl Arms Hotel, Bridgehead, PH8 0AQ, ☏ . Small 3-star hotel, with public bar and Riverview Restaurant (daily 12:00-21:00). B&B double from £80.
- 1 Dunkeld House Hotel (formerly Hilton), Blairgowrie Road, Dunkeld PH8 0HX (Turn left through Baronial archway at top of village main street), ☏ , ✉ email@example.com. 24-hour service. Check-in: 15:00, check-out: 11:00. 4-star In large forested estate on banks of River Tay just west of Dunkeld. Rooms in new part fine: well appointed but not large. In old part, may be larger and river views. Good breakfast & dining, pleasant atmosphere. Free wifi internet access. Lots of shooting, hunting and fishing opportunities in the grounds and nearby. Or walks in the splendid scenery. No dogs in main hotel, but they're welcome in the two adjacent blocks, "General Wade's" and "Fisherman's Cottage". Doubles from £100.
- Dunkeld Cottages, Bakehouse Cottage, St Ninians Wynd, PH8 0AT, ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org. Off road parking for one car. Pets welcome at owners discretion.
- Royal Dunkeld Hotel, Atholl Street PH8 0AR, ☏ . 3 star in centre of village. Also with restaurant, public bar and beer garden in the rear courtyard. B&B doubles from £60.
Dunkeld has 4G from all UK carriers, which extends to Birnam and along the A9 through the Tay valley. As of Sept 2021, 5G has not reached this area.
- Take a walk around Pitlochry, a small town about 14 miles north of Dunkeld, with its dam and fish ladder, and festival theatre.
- Go to Aberfeldy, with its small local cinema, and see the Birks of Aberfeldy, a waterfall made famous in a poem by Robert Burns.
|Routes through Dunkeld|
|Inverness ← Pitlochry ←||NW SE||→ Perth → Edinburgh|