Birnam, Perth and Kinross

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Birnam is located in Perth and Kinross
Birnam shown within Perth and Kinross
OS grid reference NO032417
Council area
Lieutenancy area
Country Scotland
Sovereign state United Kingdom
Police Scottish
Fire Scottish
Ambulance Scottish
EU Parliament Scotland
Scottish Parliament
List of places
56°33′26″N 3°34′35″W / 56.557260°N 3.576455°W / 56.557260; -3.576455Coordinates: 56°33′26″N 3°34′35″W / 56.557260°N 3.576455°W / 56.557260; -3.576455
Glen Birnam by John Everett Millais

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.[1] 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, to whose monastery Kenneth MacAlpin, the first King of Scotland, moved the bones of St. Columba around the middle of the 9th century, and which is notable for its cathedral, 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".[2]

John Everett Millais, who painted many local landscapes, and Beatrix Potter, with her family, 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.[3]


  1. ^ "Macbeth shall never vanquished be until // Great Birnam wood to high Dunsinane hill // Shall come against him." William Shakespeare, Macbeth, 4.1
  2. ^ 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.
  3. ^ "Scot claims haggis eating crown" BBC. Retrieved 31 August 2009.

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