Birnam, Perth and Kinross

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"Birnam Wood" redirects here. For other uses, see Birnam Wood (disambiguation).
Scottish Gaelic: Braonan
Birnam is located in Perth and Kinross
 Birnam shown within Perth and Kinross
OS grid reference NO032417
Council area Perth and Kinross
Lieutenancy area Perth and Kinross
Country Scotland
Sovereign state United Kingdom
Police Scottish
Fire Scottish
Ambulance Scottish
EU Parliament Scotland
Scottish Parliament North Tayside
North East Scotland
List of places

Coordinates: 56°33′26″N 3°34′35″W / 56.557260°N 3.576455°W / 56.557260; -3.576455

Birnam Wood in 1800.[1]

Birnam is a town in Perthshire, Scotland. The town originated from the Victorian era with the coming of the railway in 1856, although the place and name is well known because William Shakespeare mentioned Birnam Wood in Macbeth.[2] Prior to the construction of the railway, the only substantial building on the site of the present village was the church of Little Dunkeld parish, which still stands in its ancient position within a graveyard within the village.


Birnam lies on the bank of the River Tay, in Perthshire’s 'Big Tree Country' and is located 12 miles north of Perth on the A9 road, the main tourist route through Perthshire.

Dunkeld, which is thought[who?] to date back to the sixth century when a monastery was founded, and where Kenneth MacAlpin, the first King of Scotland, moved the bones of St. Columba around the middle of the 9th century, lies on the opposite bank of the river.


Birnam is approximately one hour from Glasgow and Edinburgh airports, and two hours from Inverness by car.

There is access by rail at Dunkeld and Birnam railway station, on the London to Inverness route.

There are regular bus and coach services to Birnam and Dunkeld.

In 1977 Birnam along with Dunkeld was bypassed by A9.


There is an ancient tree, the Birnam Oak, standing a few hundred metres from the centre of Birnam on Murthly Estate. Traditionally, it was known as "The Hangman's Tree".[3]

John Everett Millais, who painted many local landscapes, and Beatrix Potter, who visited regularly with her family from their London home, often visited Birnam.


Birnam has The Beatrix Potter Exhibition and Garden, and The Birnam Arts and Conference Centre, a community run arts and performance centre with library.

The Birnam Highland Games is where the World Haggis Eating Championships are held.[4]


  1. ^ Stoddart, John (1800), Remarks on Local Scenery and Manners in Scotland. Pub. William Miller. London. Facing P. 199
  2. ^ "Macbeth shall never vanquished be until // Great Birnam wood to high Dunsinane hill // Shall come against him." William Shakespeare, Macbeth, 4.1
  3. ^ Smout, T. C., MacDonald, R. and Watson, Fiona (2007) A History of the Native Woodlands of Scotland 1500-1920. Edinburgh University Press. ISBN 978-0-7486-3294-7. p.78.
  4. ^ "Scot claims haggis eating crown" BBC. Retrieved 31 August 2009.

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