London's west end is famous for the quality of it's shows but for those who prefer their theatre taken with a breath of fresh air and magnificent countryside then the Pitlochry Festival Theatre is just the ticket. Board a mid day train at London's Kings Cross station and after a relaxing ride across the picturesque English counties to Scotland and through historic Edinburgh arrive in the Perthshire village of Pitlochry in time for supper. When you alight at the little Victorian station you'll find yourself in crystal clear Scottish air and just steps away from everything the village has to offer.
Pitlochry may be tiny but its Festival Theatre's reputation for excellence attracts visitors from around the globe as well as its loyal Scottish supporters (J.K. Rowling is a patron). Founded in 1951 the Theatre was originally housed in a tent, and its current home - an award winning architectural creation of inspiring design and panoramic views - melds perfectly with its bucolic situation on the banks of the River Tummel.
The Theatre's summer repertory season offers a different play for each day of the week that gives audiences the opportunity to "stay six days and see six plays", and from May to October there's a variety of theatrical events from concerts and ballet to talks and tours.
But there's more to Pitlochry Festival Theatre than just great performances. Active Arts - a programme of arts and crafts workshops - gives participants the chance to receive individual tuition in painting, photography, jewelery making and more. The unique Explorers Garden is a collection of the work of the Scottish Plant Hunters - intrepid botanists who travelled the world in search of rare plants. The Theatre restaurant uses local produce and offers very enjoyable reasonably priced food. It's also a feast for the eyes - the room doubles as the Festival Gallery - and the view through the glass walls overlooking the river is second to none.
Pitlochry has accommodation to suite every taste and budget, and some hotels have inclusive theatre packages. There's a choice of luxury class, bed and breakfast, self catering caravans and even comfortable and cheap backpackers hostels. And between shows there's plenty to see and do around the village. The famous salmon ladder is a popular attraction and the two local distillaries welcome visitors. The surrounding mountains make Pitlochry an ideal centre for hillwalking, and if you happen to visit in October you can take in the Enchanted Forest sound and light show which, alongside the Autumn Festival brings 20,000 visitors to this burgh of less than 3000 people.
Whatever your age, whether you're a family, with friends or on your own you're sure to receive a warm Scottish welcome from Pitlochry and its Festival Theatre.