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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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