Agent's Alcove: Alastair Houlden's Perthshire
Alastair Houlden is Director of Country House Sales and leads Rettie & Co.’s Perthshire team. He has sold homes in Perthshire and surroundings for twenty years. Here is a peek into Alastair’s Perthshire and some local recommendations.
In my estimation, Perthshire is the most beautiful part of Scotland. It has verdant lowlands, stunning glens and lush forestry, gorgeous moors, and the beauty of the highlands. It is easy to see why it is called ‘Big Tree Country’! There is such diversity in the landscape that I never tire of it and there are a fantastic array of villages and towns.
I’ve been fortunate to live in Perthshire for nineteen years. My wife is from Perthshire and since she would never consider leaving, I’ve made it my home, with no regrets. I love having the rural lifestyle whilst still having strong transport links to Scotland’s major cities, this makes Perthshire such an accessible place to call home. There is a wonderful blend to the built and natural environment and the county is full of good quality property set into picturesque scenery.
Perthshire doesn’t just have great homes and beautiful landscapes, there are excellent schooling options both state and private it is also well-placed to reach Edinburgh and Glasgow. Most importantly there is an abundance of interesting people playing their part in creating a rich tapestry. There are those who form part of the fabric with firm roots in the county for centuries and those who have more recently chosen to call Perthshire home.
Views to the west and towards Crieff
I am often asked what my favourite locations in Perthshire and there are three: Dunkeld, Aberfeldy, and Comrie. Dunkeld is built into the hillside and sits on the banks of the River Tay, which makes it very picturesque indeed. It also boasts the impressive cathedral, a fantastic hotel, lots of great independent retailers, and an impressive array of fine period houses
Aberfeldy has a fantastically strong community and is only a short skip to highland Perthshire, Loch Tay, and Loch Tummel, with all the delights they offer. When it is snow covered, it reminds me of a picture-perfect Alpine ski resort. There are also some great local shops and it has the added bonus of the cinema! Last but by no means least, is Comrie. This gem of a village is where I would love to retire to, just don’t tell my wife! I like the community spirit in Comrie, there are great homes, plus superb stores and The Royal Hotel has a highly regarded restaurant.
My favourite road in Perthshire is the Glen Quaich Road between Amulree and Kenmore
I’d be remiss if I didn’t share some of my favourite things to do and local businesses in the county. In Crieff, I enjoy a run up to the Knock to take advantage of the views, but if I’m feeling less energetic there are plenty of walks to choose from. Our two boys like to visit Crieff Hydro to indulge in the activities on offer at the Glen Activity Centre. I always suggest Crieff Food Company for lunch and to purchase some local produce to take home. If you are after a treat night out, you can’t go wrong with a meal at Yann’s at Glenearn House, where there is great food and ambience. In Aberfeldy, I’d always recommend white water rafting on the Tay and dining out at The Three Lemons restaurant.
Early morning sun over Strathearn Valley
There are numerous local businesses and restaurants across Perthshire that I enjoy. Some of my favourite restaurants and takeaways are Chatni in Methven, Barley Bree in Muthill, The Crieff Food Company, and Gloagburn Farm Shop. Perthshire might have a strong whisky distilling heritage—which I am told I will grow into—but gin-making is also gaining exposure and traction and I highly recommend The Gin Bothy. When it comes to beer, Ossain is my favourite from the Inveralmond Brewery. The House of Bruar is an institution and always lovely to visit and The Hot Box at Taymouth Marina is something very different and exciting, certainly not your average spa experience!
Glenshee ski area with views of the Perthshire and Angus Hills
For a long weekend in the winter, my ideal itinerary would be dinner with friends on the Friday night followed by watching the children play hockey or rugby on the Saturday. Sunday would start very early for a day on the slopes at Glenshee! In the summer months, when we have the luxury of good weather and extended daylight, a BBQ and a few beers on Friday night, followed by a visit to a local agricultural show on the Saturday to watch my boys, who are enthusiastic riders, competing. On a sunny Sunday, Mrs H will have some jobs for me!
Whether you are looking to buy or sell in Perthshire, I would be delighted to help with the next step in your journey. Get in touch with myself or Joanna Tinson for a confidential conversation or a market appraisal.