Birnam, Dunkeld, Beatrix Potter, and a bookshop

We’re back at home after a wonderful week in Glencoe which is now at the top of our list of the best holidays we’ve ever had. We stayed in a self-catering holiday house which quite possibly has the best views in all of Britain. There were plenty of walks from right outside the front door and we felt like we were in the middle of nowhere yet the village of Glencoe was a short 15-minute walk away. It’s sometimes hard to find that combination of peace and quiet yet still have nearby access to shops and amenities. We took most of our food with us and cooked meals in the house but there is a grocery store in Glencoe and larger supermarkets at Fort William.

It’s a 3.5-hour drive from Aberdeen to Glencoe, if you take the main roads. We took a longer more scenic route home via Killin, Aberfeldy, Birnam, and Dunkeld. We stopped in Birnam on the way back for lunch as I remembered there’s a Beatrix Potter museum there that the kids like. It’s a terrific place with a cafe and art gallery in what is a tastefully designed modern building. The Beatrix Potter museum is set up like a Victorian school with lots of hands-on activities for children. Daniel and Elizabeth had a great time. There are art and crafts, dress-ups, and a pretend shop. Beatrix Potter spent long family holidays at a country house near Birnam as a child.

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The food at the cafe is fantastic for vegans with several options. I was amazed by this and spoke to the staff about it and discovered one of them is vegan, hence the great selection.

Across the road from the Arts Centre is a second-hand bookshop called The Birnam Reader Bookshop. They also have a little cafe inside and a terrific selection of books.

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Next to Birnam is the village of Dunkeld. Both villages have beautiful historic centres with old buildings and quaint streetscapes. Birnam is the same Birnam referenced in Shakespeare’s Macbeth.

This is Birnam:

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The Arts Centre in Birnam:

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Dunkeld:

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Dunkeld has a very old cathedral on a site which first had an abbey in the 6th century AD. The oldest part of the now-standing building dates from the 14th century.

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Part of the building is in ruin having been destroyed in the reformation but the rest of it is lovely. There was a choir practising inside when we were there.

Birnam and Dunkeld are both gorgeous villages and worth visiting. I also greatly admired Killin which looked similarly gorgeous and has the Falls of Dochart. We didn’t stop there but I’ve made a mental note to go back one day.