NESTLING amongst hills on the banks of the Tay, it helped inspire Beatrix Potter to write her Peter Rabbit books and also appears in a Shakespeare play.

Now Dunkeld in Perthshire has been voted the best place to live in Scotland in an annual survey.

The historic whitewashed village came out on top in the annual Sunday Times Best Places to Live guide.

The judges praised Dunkeld for its proximity to nature and pine forests, a thriving food scene, connections to Edinburgh and Glasgow from nearby Perth, and a good village community.

They said: “A winning combination of stunning scenery and chic Scandi-style sophistication are what you get in Dunkeld.

“Top shops include Aran Bakery and Lon – possibly the hippest general store in Scotland – both run by ex-Great British Bake-off contestant Flora Shedden.

“You can get close to nature with countless walks, with the mighty Hermitage Forest a highlight, while community spirit comes to the fore at the Field, an inspiring community organic veg garden.”

Read More: Tuck into a food tour of Highland Perthshire

Situated on the River Tay, Dunkeld is just 15 miles from Perth along the A9 and the average house costs £260,124.

Dunkeld and neighbouring Birnam sit on opposite banks of the river and were linked by a bridge built by Thomas Telford in 1809.

They lie close to the geographical boundary between Highland and Lowland Scotland.

Dunkeld means “fort of the Celedonians” in Gaelic and is thought to have been founded by the King of the Picts in the ninth century.

Built on the site of the former Culdee Monastery, work on the Cathedral began in 1260 but was not completed until 1501.

Birnam, meanwhile, is home to the iconic oak tree of the same name, a relic of the ancient Birnam Wood mentioned in Shakespeare’s Macbeth by the three witches.

Nearby Dunsinane Hill still has evidence of the hillfort used by the real King Macbeth, who ruled Scotland from 1040-1057.

Beatrix Potter’s Tale of Peter Rabbit was inspired by her summer trips to the area, where she befriended a naturalist who is believed to be the real-life Mr McGregor.

There is now a Beatrix Potter garden and visitor centre in Dunkeld to celebrate her links.

Six other locations in Scotland are featured in the guide.

East Linton in East Lothian, which is described as Scotland’s greenest town, and Portobello in Edinburgh, are also mentioned.

Shawlands in Glasgow is hailed for its “unbeatable coffee culture” while Newport-on-Tay in Fife is commended for its spectacular sunsets and a grandstand view of the Tay Bridge.

Read More: Of course Dunkeld is the best place to live

Tighnabruaich in Argyll and Bute is described as:”Once a holiday-home hotspot for wealthy merchants, this tiny village is now worth celebrating for its outstanding natural beauty, but also for its thriving independent businesses and a busy community keen to get involved in activities from veg-growing, drama and art to sailing and shinty.”

Orkney’s “wonderful wildlife and dramatic landscapes” are marked as a highlight, Wadhurst in East Sussex was named the overall UK winner of Best Places to Live. It was praised by judges for its “good schools, convenient transport connections, an amazingly well-stocked high street and stunning scenery”.

Helen Davies, the editor of Best Places to Live 2023, said: “When times are tough, where we live matters. Attractive surroundings, good neighbours and a comfortable home are the best defences when the stresses of modern life seem overwhelming.

“This guide is a celebration of towns, cities and villages that are each a fantastic place to live in 2023 from Orkney to Felixstowe, the Chew Valley to Manchester city centre.”

Kim Kinnaird, the director of Halifax Mortgages, which sponsors the guide, said: “What people look for when choosing where to live is a very personal choice. We know that the housing market can sometimes feel daunting when there are so many locations and things to consider. But looking at these fantastic locations is a great start, with options for different budgets and family situations, alongside an exciting blend of urban and rural living.”