ESTATE TOUR

We offer a 3 hour tour of the estate that commences at the river and will lead you up to some of the highest points with breathtaking views of the highlands.  During the tour you will see many of the estates farm animals, old ruins and woodland, The wildlife is unpredictable and very dependent on the time of year but you will almost inevitably see red deer, roe deer and grouse.  Sightings of short eared owls, kestrels, curlew, lapwing, buzzard and mountain hare are commonplace but cannot be guaranteed. The very fortunate few might see a hen harrier, merlin or perhaps even a hobby.  Eagles have been seen overhead, but only once in a blue moon…

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ARCHEOLOGICAL TOUR

This unique tour takes in a variety of standing stones, castle ruins, ancient bridges and very old and unusual grave stones.  This escorted tour starts with a 25 minute drive in a very comfortable 4×4 vehicle to the see the Dunfallandy stone, after which the tour winds itself back to Balvarran stopping at much less well known and rarely visited sites.   After visiting several ‘hidden’ Pictish stones and two graveyards celebrated for their notable headstones, the tour ends with a trip in a special off-road buggy to see some ancient archeological sites in the Perthshire hills…

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LOCAL TOWNS

Balvarran has that middle of nowhere feel yet within twenty minutes you can reach either Pitlochry or Blairgowrie.

Pitlochry (11 miles) lies on the River Tummel and ever since Queen Victoria’s visit it has developed into an increasingly popular place for visitors.  The town has retained many attractive stone-built Victorian buildings and a good number of the shops benefit from unusual cast iron canopies which enable comfortable window shopping whatever the Scottish weather hurls at you.

Blairgowrie (14 miles) offers just about everything from a large superstore to small delicatessens.  Country sports enthusiasts will find it hard to pass by without popping in to James Crockart & Son…

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VILLAGE SHOP

The Kirmichael Village Shop, situated just one mile away, provides the glen with valuable services including excellent essential groceries and fuel.  It’s a great meeting point and home made cakes are served at the shop’s little cafe.  For those staying at Mill Cottage or Coachman’s Roost the shop is happy to take an order in advance and have it ready for your arrival in the glen. We can even arrange for it to be ready for you in your accommodation.

The shop is a Community Interest Company managed by Debbie Holland and Pat Townsend, both of whom live at Balavarran, which of course make it especially good!..

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SKIING

The ski slopes are just a twenty five minute drive from Balvarran.  Glenshee offers Scotland’s most extensive skiing and snowboarding facilities with an impressive 40km of piste,  22 lifts and 36 runs.  Snow-sport enthusiasts of all standards have the chance to enjoy a fantastic day.

The team at Glenshee offer a range of instructional opportunities and good food is available from Base Cafe, Cairnwell Mountain Restaurant and our favourite, the Meall Odhar Cafe.  Ski and snowboard equipment hire is available from several outlets…

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HIGHLAND GATHERING

The Strathardle Gathering and Highland Games, which have been staged at Bannerfield in Kirkmichael since 1871, commence in the morning with the agricultural classes. Later on traditional activities including caber tossing, piping, tug o’ war, heavyweight events and a highland dancing competition get under way.  Above all its a great day for family and friends who can get involved in many of the activities including several quirky games such as tilt the bucket and musical cars…

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CASTLES & PALACES

Within one hour’s drive there are many historic homes open to the pubic.  Blair Atholl, ancestral home to the Duke of Atholl and his Atholl Highlanders (the only private army in Britain and still in service) is definitely worth a visit and can be twinned with a trip to the House of Bruar, the luxury retailer often coined ‘the Harrods of the Highlands’.

We also love Scone Palace, crowning place of the Sottish Kings, Glamis Castle, the childhood home of the Queen Mother and Castle Menzies, the ancestral seat of Clan Menzies…

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WHISKY

A beautiful 9 mile drive over Moulin Moor will lead you to the Edradour Distillery, renowned for being the smallest traditional distillery in Scotland. With a heritage dating back to 1825, Edradour, stands alone as the last surviving stronghold of a handmade single malt whisky from a farm distillery.  Here you can see whisky being made, enjoy a wee dram and pick up a bottle from their gift shop (definitely not Scotland’s smallest gift shop!)…

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FESTIVAL THEATRE

The concept of Scotland’s ‘theatre in the hills’ was the brainchild of John Stewart who launched it in 1951 within a tent.  The tent soon became semi-permanent and remained there until the current building opened in 1981.

During the season performances are given in repertoire, making it possible to see a different show every night of the week…

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BIRKS CINEMA

The Birks cinema was opened in 1939 but it fell into decline forty years later and closed in 1982,  ending up as an amusement arcade, which in turn closed in 2004.  Thankfully several brave individuals led a major restoration project to bring this wonderful cinema back to life.

The new state-of-the-art 100 seat cinema screens recent releases, classics and live events.  The Birks also features an excellent cafe and bar…

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