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River Tay Public Art Trail | Wheelchair Accessible Walk in Perth, Scotland

If you’re looking for unusual things to do in Perth, Scotland then this may be the thing for you. Especially if you’re keen to explore Perth city centre and the surrounding parks, then the River Tay Public Art Trail would be a great option.

Perth and The River Tay

The River Tay is known for two things; being the longest river in Scotland and the most powerful river in Britain. It is 119 miles long and runs through Perth, a city in central Scotland. Quite impressive I’d say.

Emma sitting on the bridge on the River Tay looking across to the Perth Bridge. There are padlocks hanging on the bridge railing.

Perth has so much history and up until 1437, it was known as the capital of Scotland. Its long history is incorporated into The River Tay Public Art Trail. There is also a Medieval Trail of Perth available.

What Is The River Tay Public Art Trail?

The River Tay Public Art Trail is a two and a half mile long wheelchair accessible trail beginning and ending in Perth City Centre. It is a trail that features art sculptures dotted along the river while taking you into beautiful parks and the High Street.

Although the sculptures are numbered on the map, you don’t have to follow the numbers in order to complete the trail.

Disabled Parking

We found a disabled parking bay in Tay Street which runs alongside the River Tay. This was an ideal spot to park for us as it was close to the start of the trail.

A side view of Emma in her power wheelchair sitting at the back of her wheelchair accessible vehicle.

The parking space also had space to enable me to get in and out of my wheelchair accessible vehicle (WAV) via the rear wheelchair ramp.

Points of Interest & Art Trail Accessibility

Once we were parked we quickly set off with a bag of snacks and a map we had saved online, in search of the twenty-two art sculptures. We hoped to see as many as we could before the rain started.

But we came prepared with an umbrella as you can never be certain when it comes to Scottish weather.

Emma sitting in her wheelchair. Her young nephew is sitting on her lap. He has yellow and black binoculars held up at his face. They are looking at the view across the river Tay. There are some small animal sculptures on the bridge beside them.
A close up of ‘Soutar’s Menagerie’ animal sculptures by Rhonda Bayley as part of the River Tay Public Art Trail.

The first sculpture we spotted was ‘Soutar’s Menagerie’ by Rhonda Bayley (number eighteen on the map). It was inspired by William Soutar, Perth’s best-known poet who became disabled after contracting a disease in the First World War. This quirky sculpture represented animals from his poem Bairn Rhymes.

Emma and her nephew looking at one of the sculptures on the River Tay Public Art Trail
Looking down Tay Street in Perth, Scotland. Trees line the street and Perth Bridge can be seen in the distance.
Emma driving her wheelchair along the street in Perth. Her nephew is walking beside her. Their backs are to the camera.
A close up of the wheels of a power wheelchair driving across cobblestone.

The path was fairly flat and wide so we felt that we had plenty of space. There was also barely anyone around so social distancing wasn’t an issue.

A close up shot of the Perth Bridge in the city centre of Perth in Scotland.
Emma driving her power wheelchair into the park towards a statue. Her nephew is walking towards the statue.

We then crossed Queen’s Bridge and then under Perth Bridge into North Inch. This was a nice park to walk around and there were benches for resting. I can imagine this being a great place to visit or relax when the weather is nice.

‘Giant Thistle’ by David Wilson as part of the River Tay Public Art Trail.
'River Tay Themes’ by David Wilson as part of the River Tay Public Art Trail.

There were two sculptures in the park, ‘Giant Thistle’ and ‘River Tay Themes’ by David Wilson. The giant thistle is an important symbol of Scotland and the ‘River Tay Themes’ represents the barriers when the banks burst and flooded the city.

Emma driving her wheelchair across the Perth Bridge while her young nephew sits on her lap.
Emma driving her wheelchair across the Perth Bridge while her young nephew sits on a her lap. He is holding a camera up at his face taking a photo of the person taking his photo.

Exiting the park we then made our way up to Perth Bridge (also known as Smeaton’s Bridge) and crossed over it. There you can enjoy great views down the River Tay.

This then brought us to a pedestrian crossing and then we walked in the opposite direction, back towards where we had parked but on the other side of the river.

Emma, driving her wheelchair on a path down towards a park. A street sign called 'Commerical St.' is on the right of the photo.

We continued along the pavement running alongside the road before turning right into Commercial Street. Following it around the corner we reached a kerb, which I had to reverse down because it was fairly high. We didn’t see a lowered kerb at this point.

Emma, driving her wheelchair ion a path down towards a park. There are trees on each side.

We were now in a residential area but we followed the path down a slope until we reached the Riverside Park Heather Garden. This is a beautiful awarding-winning park and garden.

It is believed to have one of the largest heather collections in Scotland, hosting around 650 species of heather.

Emma, a powered wheelchair user is sitting next to green plants and shrubs.
Emma and her nephew in the Riverside Park Heather Garden. They are next to a small pond surrounded by colourful plants.
Emma and her nephew in the Riverside Park Heather Garden. They are next to a small pond surrounded by colourful plants.
The River Tay Public Art Trail sculptures

There were beautiful flower gardens to spend time in with ponds and wheelchair accessible paths throughout. I’d love to go back sometime with a picnic on a nice summer’s day.

Emma, a powered wheelchair user is smiling at the camera while her young nephew holds a large umbrella over both of them.

Unfortunately, on the last section of The River Tay Public Art Trail, the typical Scottish weather caught up with us and the rain started, but nothing our big brolly (thankfully we brought with us) couldn’t handle.

The end of the trail takes you across Perth Railway Bridge, but this isn’t wheelchair accessible due to having steps.

Instead, we double backed on ourselves a little and went across the bridge on South Street instead and from there only a short walk to our car.

A map showing the accessible and inaccessible routes for the The River Tay Public Art Trail

The map of the Perth art trail shows which part is accessed via steps so we were prepared for that and knew we wouldn’t be able to cross the Railway Bridge. This is the Perth art trail map we used.

Final Thoughts on The River Tay Public Art Trail

Although we didn’t see all the sculptures, we enjoyed just taking our time strolling along The River Tay Public Art Trail – even when it rained and we all squeezed under one umbrella. It was good just to be out enjoying time with Allan (a.k.a Allanisart) and our nephew.

So if you are looking for things to do in Perthshire, I’d recommend giving the Perth City Art Trails a try.

I’d love to hear from you. Have you tried this art trail Perth has to offer? Or let me know if there is somewhere in Perth you enjoy visiting.

More on this topic…

Accessible Scottish Walks: Strathyre
An Accessible Trail Through Devilla Forest
Linlithgow Loch, A Wheelchair Accessible Walk in West Lothian, Scotland
Visiting The Japanese Garden at Cowden In A Wheelchair

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Meet Emma

Hello I’m Emma. My mission is to show you the possibilities of accessible travel through my travel guides, tips and reviews. I also share personal stories, live event reviews and more.

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