Places to Shop
The Fair City of Perth
respectable reputation is second to none. Radio humorist Tam Cowan once said the
nearest the city had come to a riot was a row over a squint cravat at a vintage
car rally. But a stroll through the elegant streets and interesting alleyways
shows that Perth is livening up.
in St John Street, opened in 1868, is still at the heart of the shopping scene.
It's a department store - the only independent one in the city - yet the staff
say hello as you walk in. It's not resting on its laurels: a cookware, linen and
curtain department opened in a separate building last year and the citizens flock
in for Gaggia coffee makers and Le Creuset pots.
the same street are two of the Fair City's finest jewellers. Cairncross, established
in 1869, sells a huge high-quality range from its spacious shop, but is probably
best known for its unique jewellery incorporating Scottish pearls, which are selected
and mounted in the workshop.
Timothy Hardie is known for its antique and Edwardian
jewellery, though modern pieces are also on offer, and there is an on-the-spot
In the High Street, the Jewellery Workshop has a range of creations
from Ortak, Ola Gorie and lesser known Scottish jewellers, and also makes pieces
in St John Street, a gold sign announces a new arrival: Carbone. It's the first
UK outlet dedicated to this French women's fashion label. There are about 60 in
France, and the winning formula of bright colours, bold designs and well-lit displays
seems likely to take off here, judging by the interest aroused so far.
short distance away in George Street are two clothes shops, each with its own
loyal following. L'Uomo, with its striking black frontage and cool window displays
- featuring icons such as Italian motor scooters - keeps a trend-conscious 30-plus
clientele supplied with the best from Hugo Boss, Camper, Sticky Fingers, Sahza
and Ralph Lauren. Next door but one, Parkes offers friendly service and carefully
chosen women's wear from the likes of René Lezard, Lacroix and Synonyme.
in George Street, the Sporran Shop caters for customers regimental and civilian,
and Fair City Flowers makes its presence known with a bright display. In South
Street, Margaret Boyd at Elle offers some out-of-the-ordinary labels such as Nitya
and Hauber. In the High Street, look into Mona Liza, with its striking curved
ceiling panels - and, more importantly, its rails of must-haves from Kenzo, Versace
and MaxMara. A few paces away are two traditional retailers that are pure Perth:
award-winning butcher Simon Howie and shootin' and fishin' store PD Malloch. Adam
McNee in Kinnoull Street, packed with mirrors, lamps and fabric, offers a full
interior service - from a home refit to an accessory or a word of advice.
are there any one-off surprises? Well, the High Street has a shop full of all
things wooden - chopping boards, picture frames, ornaments. It bears the admirably
honest name Once A Tree. In Princes Street there is Guiscard, which for 20 years
has sold an unrivalled range of teddy bears and dolls, priced from £6 to
£650. In South Methven Street, This Little Piggy has continental children's
shoes in every colour, with cute motifs galore.
shoppers have to pause for refuelling, and there are numerous options. Betty's
Coffee Parlour in George Street is a snug place for a filled croissant. Let's
Eat Again, nearby, is a worthy partner to the original Let's Eat, in Kinnoull
Street. In Mill Street, the Lemon Tree is a wholefood shop and vegetarian café
which attracts customers from a 50-mile radius. If cutting-edge style is essential
for eating pleasure, head for The Loft, above très trendy That Bar in South
Street. Here you can settle into the chic leather seating to enjoy the light pouring
through the glass roof - and some well-presented dishes (lamb kebab with rice
and a ginger beer: £6.50). If all you want is a pint in a no-nonsense pub,
there are few finer than the Ring o' Bells in St John's Place.
who crave culture can find it at one of Scotland's top repertory theatres, Perth
Theatre in the High Street. The Playhouse in Murray Street is one of the few classic
Thirties picture houses not turned over to bingo. The Museum and Art Gallery in
George Street has a fine municipal collection and the JD Fergusson Gallery in
Tay Street makes marvellous use of a former waterworks. If you like to take your
art home, rather than just look at it, try the landscapes at Nigel Stacy-Marks
in George Street. There is a scattering of modern street sculptures, and the Perth
Festival - music, comedy, theatre and art - runs from May 17-27. Stars include
Michael Marra, Carol Kidd and Bill Wyman. Details on 01738 472706.
so to bed. But where? Well, the Huntingtower Hotel, a modernised mansion on Crieff
Road, has many fans. Further out, try the spectacularly renovated Altamount House
Hotel in Blairgowrie, the relaxing Ballathie House at Kinclaven or the elegant
Murrayshall House Hotel in Scone.
Caledonia Magazine. Reproduced with permission.