Introducing Kinross & Loch Leven
Kinross, just off the M90, sits on the banks of pretty Loch Leven. Stretch your legs or take a bike on the Loch Leven Heritage Trail, which runs 8 miles around three-quarters of the loch, with sightings of deer common, or head across to the island in its centre to visit evocative Lochleven Castle, which served as a fortress and prison from the late 14th century. Its most famous captive was Mary, Queen of Scots, who was incarcerated here in 1567. Her famous charms bewitched Willie Douglas, who managed to get hold of the cell keys to release her, then rowed her across to the shore. A bistro by the ferry dock, near the centre of Kinross, serves decent light meals and you can rent bikes here (£20 per day).
Nearby, on the main street, Roxburghe Guest House is welcoming home away from home with a good attitude and lovely garden. The owner is a professional masseuse and acupuncturist if you need any creases ironed out. It's a fair bit cheaper outside of high summer.
Citylink runs bus services between Perth (30 minutes, hourly) and Kinross. In the other direction buses go to Edinburgh (1½ hours, hourly).