Tips for The Enchanted Forest, Pitlochry – from Tickets to Transport – The Enchanted Forest lives up to its name, it’s simply enchanting. I’ve been meaning to visit for years, and I finally have. Here’s what you need to know.
What Will You See?
The Enchanted Forest is wonderful, mesmerising and immersive. A forest of illuminations, illusions and beauty. The theme for 2019 is ‘Cosmos’, featuring a jaw dropping moon, as well as Helios (inspired by the sun), Aurora Borealis (inspired by the Northern Lights) and delicate constellations portrayed along the walkways. Around ten separate illumination experiences blow tiny minds. For timings, we spent around 80 minutes in the forest itself.
One minute you’re walking amongst twinkling, sparkling lights, the next listening to spaced out sounds through a knot of tubes, before creating your own space tune via stands that light up to the touch (see video below). So much of the experience is visual, but it’s more than a case of sitting and watching. There’s lot to do too. The sounds are so engaging and unusual, that even from an aural perspective it stands out.
Tips for The Enchanted Forest – Book Ahead
It sounds obvious, but this is a very popular event, so firstly, be sure book ahead! You’ll have to select a date and a specific time slot, and the event runs till Sunday 3 November. Hotels and guest houses are exceptionally busy in the area too.
Is it Family Friendly?
100%. This is a wonderful family event, and a memorable one. I saw babies attending, but I’d say the ideal starting age is around three or four upwards, when kids can stay up ‘late’ and appreciate what they see. We caught the first bus of the evening and were back in Pitlochry by 9pm, well past bedtime! You can take buggies, but the forest floor is uneven, and potentially muddy and slippy, depending on the weather. The stewards were notably brilliant with little ones, chatting directly to them and making them feel extremely welcome.
Tips for The Enchanted Forest – Location
Whilst the event is set in the deep, dark Faskally Woods, a bus transports guests from Fishers Hotel, which is right on Pitlochry’s main street. This means you can stay in a central hotel, grab a quick bite beforehand in any of the multiple cafés and restaurants in town, but once you’re out at the woods they feel remote and magical. It’s the best of both worlds.
Tips for The Enchanted Forest – Transport
There are two buses available. The standard one departs from Fishers. An Accessible Bus leaves from Blair Atholl Distillery, which provides for those with additional needs. Our bus left Fishers pretty much on time, and we got straight back on a return bus to Pitlochry, so it was pretty seamless. Returning buses leave every 15 minutes and the journey only takes 10 minutes. You can’t drive private transport (personal or taxis) to the forest, everyone travels via the shuttle buses, although disabled parking is available.
Food & Drink
This year there were three food stalls within the forest. At the main entrance there’s a pizza place, but don’t picture some high street chain, think rustic, woodland pizza stall with benches around a camp fire. The second food base is at the end of the circular trail, offering sweet treats such as marshmallows to toast on the campfire. I found marshmallows a great incentive to get little legs to march to the end of the trail! The third food base, just a few metres along from the marshmallow pits, offers main dishes like burgers, hot dogs and chilli. You can also buy tipples such as mulled wine and gin. Think £5.50 for a classic burger, £5 for Vegan chilli and £2.50 for coffee.
Due to the remote location, card machines don’t work in the forest so bring old fashioned bank notes.
Wrap the Kids Up Warm
Again, it sounds obvious, but it’s best to go for broke with layers and waterproofs. We were kitted out, head to toe, in wet weather gear, and were smugly snug. Cold children are, understandably, miserable children. If it’s raining bring an umbrella as there’s limited shelter.
Is there a Storytelling Yurt?
This was mentioned to me as a highlight, but this year there doesn’t appear to be a storytelling yurt. We did find a storyteller at the campfire near the Food Station 3, but it was quite an ad hoc affair. She was lovely, and spoke to my child about the Bear coming down from the stars to Earth. He was the only child involved, so it was a little bit unusual. They’re obviously trying something new but hopefully it will bed in a little bit.
Are there Toilets?
Oh, yes. Disabled ones too.
Where do you Get Tickets and how much are they?
Grab your tickets here. Adult tickets are £21.40, children cost £10.70 (with children under 3 free), and family tickets are £58.85. The Enchanted Forest makes donations to charity so click here to discover this year’s recipients.
We were blown away by the Enchanted Forest experience. My four year old and I were both mesmerised. It was magical.
We drove from Aberdeen to Pitlochry, which took roughly 2 hours, but Pitlochry is well served by trains and buses. We overnighted in Pitlochry, booking a hotel with a pool to entertain Junior. If you decide to stay in the area discover other things to do in Perthshire by clicking here.