It’s a tiny village located in the heart of Perthshire in Scotland. Here’s my guide to the best things to do in Comrie…
If you’re looking for things to do in Comrie in Perthshire this blog post is for you!
I was so pumped about this trip to the tiny village of Comrie that you would think I was going to Barbados for a week or something. I’m not sure why. I’d had a busy few weeks at work and was excited just to be away and to take a breath for a couple of days. It was also a trip with friends and so I need it would be good fun with lots of laughs. And it was!
We were there for three nights in total. We’d booked an Airbnb on a farm just outside the village itself which was everything you could want from a short break. It was set on the water, surrounded by fields, and it had a hot tub. A little slice of Scottish heaven!
I’ll talk more about the accommodation later on but, first, here’s some more details on Comrie. It has a few surprising facts about it – they certainly surprised me anyway!
Where is Comrie?
Comrie is located in Perthshire in Scotland. It’s not far from Crieff which you may know because of the Crieff Hydro, a popular family resort nearby. (It’s kind of like Centre Parcs with a swimming pool, on-site outdoorsy activities, with self-catering lodges.)
If you’re into climbing munros, Comrie is also in an ideal location. It’s just a short distance from Ben Chonzie which makes it the perfect place to stay ahead of your climb.
What is Comrie famous for?
Comrie has a really intriguing claim to fame. It lies on the faultline between the highlands and the lowlands. In other words, it’s located on a large crack in the rock that forms the surface of the earth. As a result, it’s earned itself the title the ‘Shaky Toon’ – the shaky town.
There was one earthquake in 1839 that hit 4.8 on the Richer Scale. Apparently, Comrie records earth tremors at a higher intensity to anywhere else in the UK to this day.
As a result, a tiny little stone building called the ‘Earthquake House’ was built in 1874, which housed the world’s first modern seismometer. It became the world’s first earthquake observatory. While it’s no longer in use, the Earthquake House is still a tourist attraction. You can’t go in but you can peep through a window in the door to see what’s inside.
What is Comrie like?
Comrie is seriously cute! It has all the cottage-core vibes. We’d driven through it a few times and I’d always found myself looking at all the rows of traditional houses and thinking, hmmm, maybe this is somewhere we could move to further down the line.
The ‘White Church’ is the heart of the village adds to Comrie’s charm offensive. Built in 1805 and positioned on the banks of the river, it’s a grade A listed building and is beautiful. It looks like something out of a Thomas Hardy novel or something.
What else is there to know about Comrie?
We headed to the Royal Hotel in Comrie for dinner on one of the nights we were staying. Little did I know that Queen Victoria used to frequent the hotel and actor Gerard Butler has also been known to stop in for a pint. Hollywood royalty and actual royalty!
That’s not all, either. Mary Queen of Scot used to hunt nearby and Charles Rennie Mackintosh once owned a flat in Comrie. So it’s very well connected indeed!
Things to do in Comrie
The Deil’s Cauldron
Just a short drive out of Comrie is the dramatically titled Deil’s Cauldron, a waterfall on the River Lednock in Perthshire. According to folklore, the pools here are inhabited by a mysterious water elf who tries to lure people to their death, which all sounds very dark!
Unfortunately, we didn’t see any elves sneaking around in the shadows. The white, frothing spout of the waterfall is impressive nonetheless. You’ll also come across the Wee Cauldron – the Baby Cauldron as I kept calling it – a pint-sized version of the main event.
It’s a perfect spot if you have a dog. Our pup Kasper threw himself in the water in the water for a swim and had a merry old time shaking himself off right to us once he got out.
One last thing, make sure you look out for the upturned tree trunk next to the path along the way. It has hundreds of coins pressed into it. I have no idea what it’s all about – maybe it’s some kind of elvish toll we have to pay in order to make our way along the path?
The Melville Monument
You’ll see the pale spike of the Melville Monument peering over the skyline from all around Comrie. And what do people usually do when they see something big poking into the sky, particularly in Scotland? They climb it. So, naturally, that’s what we did.
The route to the monument is just along the road from the Deil’s Cauldron. There are also two routes – a short one and a long one. Well, that’s what the map said anyway. As it turns out the shortcut was not only incredibly step, it was also covered with fallen trees.
We tried to navigate our way through but decided it wasn’t really a goer. By that time I had a splinter in my bum and felt like I was going to gouge my eye on a sawn-off branch! No thank you! We headed back to the route for a much more leisurely route.
The monument is pretty impressive. I also enjoyed the inscription which mentioned its namesake, Henry Dundas Viscount Melville, and said that it was built to honour his public services and private virtues. The views at the top are also pretty breathtaking.
After walking for miles longer than we wanted to we were dying for a chance to sit down and have something to eat. Most of the cafes in Comrie seemed to be closed, even though it was only 3pm. We ended up driving back out of town to the Tullybannocher Café.
It has everything you need. There’s plenty of parking, a garden centre and even a dog grooming place called the Mutt Hut! Our pooch Casper probably could’ve done with a wash by the time we were back – he’d done plenty of swimming in all the waterfalls.
Inside was just as good. The menu had filled breakfast rolls, baked potatoes, toasties, paninis, and soup. Oh, and plenty of delicious-looking cakes. I ordered a ham, brie, and cranberry toastie which was generously filled. Much oozing cheese and cranberry sauce! It came with salad and slaw and was exactly what I needed after a lot of walking.
We headed home after that for a late afternoon hot tub session!
Visit Cultybraggan Camp
Cultybraggan Camp is an old prisoner of war camp that is located just a mile or so outside of Comrie. It was such a cool place. We’d driven past it in the car before and had our interest suitably piqued so I was delighted to be able to go during our trip.
The camp has a super interesting history. It was first created to hold WII prisoners of war. Known as Camp 21, it was a so-called ‘black camp’, which meant it held the prisoners who were most fanatical about Nazi ideology. It was later turned into an army training camp.
There were lots of really emotional stories that were so interesting to read about. Some of the prisoners of war formed friendships with the local people in Comrie and even stayed on in Scotland after they were released. Reading about how they came to visit these people later on in life was really poignant.
We also stopped off at Camp 21 Café after we’d finished looking around, which is open between 11am and 4pm. They have soup, scones, cakes, tea and coffee. And they also have non-dairy milk which is always a win for me for non-dairy milk drinkers like me.
Cultybraggan Camp is free to enter although you can give a voluntary donation. The other great thing is that it’s dog-friendly. And not just the outside space – the museum too.
You can even stay in one of the newly renovated Nissen huts if you want!
The Royal Hotel
If you want to eat out when you’re in Comrie then I would recommend booking in advance. We tried to book a table at The Deil’s Cauldron for the Saturday night but they didn’t have any tables available when I rang up the night before. Better luck next time, eh?
We ended up going to The Royal Hotel instead, which is a big fancy-looking building in the centre of the village. The only time they could squeeze us in was 5.15pm which was fine for me but might not be ideal for folks who don’t like to eat at, like, toddler time.
Whatever time it was, it was all rather lovely. It was a bit posher than what I was after but the menu was decent looking and it wasn’t overly expensive. 50% of us ordered the chicken, ham and leek pie which was a real heft of a portion. The chips were super tasty too.
For dessert, I couldn’t help but order a chocolate fondant which had a decadent, molten centre. It had a squishy banana thing on the side but the passionfruit ice cream was the real show stealer – it was the perfect accompaniment to the rich chocolate.
Other things to do in Comrie
Like wildlife? Then be sure to pop by Auchingarrich Wildlife Park in Comrie.
They have over 40 species of animals here, including meerkats, wallabies, ring-tailed lemurs, red kangaroos and emus. They also have farm animals such as donkeys, pigs, sheep, Shetland ponies, and deer. There are also Scottish wildcats, which look beautiful.
If you’re looking for more local wildlife then they also have Highland Cattle here, which go by the names Matilda and Marline. There are also talks about some of the animals each day. I was sad to see we’d missed the otter talk which had been earlier in the day.
We didn’t actually go to the wildlife park ourselves. Well, we arrived, but we didn’t go in. It started pouring with rain just as we pulled into the carpark, which was the first thing that got me thinking, hmmm, I’m not entirely convinced on this. But we carried on.
And then we realised that it cost £11 for a ticket. That seemed quite steep to me. Maybe if you have kids and want to make a day out of it that’s totally fine. You could probably spend a good few hours there. But we really just wanted a quick forty-minute stroll around the place so we just headed back to the cars and drove back to the cottage.
Where to stay in Comrie
Wallace Lodge, Lochview Farm, Comrie
We stayed at Wallace Lodge in Comrie and it was really lovely.
Nestled on the banks of a small loch and surrounded by rugged Scottish landscape, it’s the perfect spot if you want some off-grid peace and quiet. There’s lots of wildlife to spot and you’ll also get far too used to the sound of the resident ducks quacking away in the background. Half the time it sounded like they were having a laugh at us!
The lodge looks like it’s pretty small from the outside but it’s a bit of a tardis. There’s a lovely kitchen diner with characterful beams and a huge wooden table. it also has enough space for a large L-shaped sofa which is perfect for cosying up on at any time of day. Breakfast. Mid-afternoon chill time. In the evening. You name it, we were on it.
The enormous window looking out onto the water is amazing. You’ll find yourself mesmerised by the wildlife outside. Literally, just staring at it. There are ducks, swans, little moorhens pootling around, and one of our group even spotted an otter casually out for a swim. It’s like a giant David Attenborough TV show playing out live in front of you.
Oh, and I haven’t even mentioned the hot tub yet. It’s directly outside and it’s one of those that you can just switch on and go – you don’t have to wait around for four hours waiting for a fire to heat up the water. One of my favourite afternoons was spent sitting in the hot tub, chatting shit, and drinking a Malibu mixer can. What more could you want?
If you’re feeling energetic, there are tennis courts over by the owner’s farm on the other side of the water. There’s also a dog agility area, which you do have to book and pay for. If you just want to cosy up, there’s an array of board games in the upstairs space.
Facilities at Wallace Lodge
- Peaceful rural location
- Beautiful views
- 4 bedrooms
- 3 bathrooms
- Hot tub (it’s big)
- Cosy and snug
- Ideal for wildlife spotting!
What to pack for Airbnb trip
There are always a handful of essentials that I always like to pack when I go to an Airbnb. The biggest one is slippers. I can’t tell you how much more at home you feel as soon as you have a pair of fluffy slippers on your feet. Never leave without them! Read my full post here.
That was my verdict on my weekend break to Comrie in Perthshire. Have you visited?