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Travel & Holidays in later life


Ballathie Country House Hotel is a 4 star luxury hotel a few miles north of the city of Perth. Originally built in 1880 as a country retreat with extensive grounds on the banks of the River Tay, it has been a hotel since the 1970’s. Joan and Phil Watt sampled its delights during a mid-week break.

Ballathie Country House Hotel

The moment we turned off the quiet country road onto the impressively driveway and glimpsed our destination through the estate’s woodland we just knew we were going to enjoy our short break .

Drive to Ballathie Country House Hotel

On coming through the porch into the entrance hall we were warmly greeted and given our room key before making our way up the grand staircase through the upper hall to our en-suite room on the first floor.

Our accommodation was very spacious and included an entrance hallway leading to a large bedroom with four poster bed and an elegant bathroom. Best of all, we had a wonderful view over the River Tay.


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Getting There

By Car:  this is the sensible option as there's no rail service. By Road

From Perth on the A9. drive time 20 to 30 minutes
Edinburgh on the M90 to Perth and then the A9. Drive time 60 to 90 minutes
Glasgow on the M8, M80 and the (9. Drive time 90 to 120 minutes

Downloadable map and directions

Tourist Information

Perthshire Tourism







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Bedroom Ballathie Country House Hotel

As it was a sunny day we went to explore the gardens and found a pathway leading down to the river where we sat on a bench and watched the anglers casting, waist deep in the fast flowing water. On our way back to the house we strolled along the impressive avenue of magnificent copper beeches and oak trees and briefly explored some of the woodland paths in the early evening sunshine.

Banks of the Tay

We got back in time to have afternoon tea with some of the best shortbread we have come across in any hotel. It is baked by the chef and extremely "moreish". The sitting room where the tea is served has fine views overlooking the river and another part of the gardens.

Later that evening we were back in the sitting room enjoying pre-dinner drinks while choosing from the mouthwatering menu and extensive wine list. Then it was through to the dining room that also looked onto the river and was bright with sunshine - a perfect setting. The food and presentation more than lived up to the hotel's 2AA rosette rating. The atmosphere was very relaxed with staff happy to have a friendly chat if guests wished it. We finished the evening with coffee in the sitting room and drinks brought through from the bar.

Banks of The Tay


Breakfast offered the usual Continental and "full Scottish" options but also had an exceptional variety of fish dishes to choose from. Then it was time to go exploring. Ballathie was the perfect base to visit two unique attractions we had known about for years but had never got round to visiting.

Stanley Mills, run by Historic Scotland, is an industrial heritage site 15 minutes downstream on the Tay and one of the best-restored 18th century cotton mills in Britain. Three of the original four large mills survive along with numerous other buildings. It also has modernised hydroelectric plant that now supplies the national grid.


Stanley Mills Perth

One mill is the main visitor centre with lots of interactive displays to learn about the skills required of the children and women who worked in the mills and the dangers they faced every day. The top floor of another mill, five stories above the river, is one of the best preserved C18th workspaces anywhere in the world, designed to accommodate the water driven spinning and carding frames invented by Richard Arkwright. Further "hands on", and sometimes wet, fun for kids aged from 3 to 93 can be enjoyed with ingenious working models of the water wheels and mill lades and belts and pulley systems that powered the mills.


We spent the afternoon at the Scottish Crannog Centre at Kenmore, near Aberfeldy, where a replica of an Iron Age lake house or crannog was completed in 1997. Although the Centre's exhibition is relatively small it is still fascinating to see how underwater archaeology has put together the story of these dwellings and of our ancestors. The reconstructed crannog on the loch is the star of the Centre with the guided tours bringing history to life. Back on shore an array of Iron Age technologies could be tried out by children and parents - woodturning, stone boring, hand milling, and last but not least, fire making.

Fire Making Scottish Crannog Centre


Later that night we enjoyed another memorable dinner and a final walk around the gardens. Then we flicked through two albums by local wedding photographers that show how the house and gardens make a beautiful venue for celebrations.

Ballathie House was the ideal base for us to visit the attractions we were interested in. It’s also very well placed for day visits much further afield including Loch Ness, Culloden, Balmoral, Pitlochry, Speyside, Dundee and not forgetting the City of Perth just 20 minutes away. It’s also ideal for visitors interested in sports with golf courses and fishing literally on its doorstep. The hotel offers golfing packages with Blairgowrie Golf Club and can arrange fishing days on various beats of the Tay and its tributaries or on local lochs


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