Knockendarroch was built for an Aberdonian lawyer in 1880. It was one of Pitlochry's finest houses with over four acres of gardens, an inner courtyard, a gate house and coach house. No expense was spared during its construction with many of the original features still existing, including the house's grand entrance porch with stained glass windows and stone columns, and a grand staircase with another enormous stained glass window. Other important features of the design are the intricate cornice work and ceiling roses in the public rooms.
The house remained in the ownership of the lawyer until 1928 when it was sold to James Robb for £105 - an absolute bargain even back then. James Robb was the son of William Robb, a jeweller with links to Balmoral Castle and Queen Victoria. James Robb sold Knockendarroch in 1945 to the newly formed Pitlochry Theatre Company which was funded by theatre visionary John Stewart (pictured above c.1953).
"When staying in Pitlochry during the early part of the war, I chanced to see a stately house with a fairly large garden, quite close to the town. I at once realised that here my dream theatre might well be established in this fashionable resort right in the heart of Scotland" - John Stewart, Founder of Pitlochry Festival Theatre.
By 1951 the 'Theatre in The Hills' was born in a huge tent in the garden at Knockendarroch. The house became the theatre headquarters and the home of Kenneth Ireland, the Artistic Director. A tea room and box office was built (now our staff house) and soon after, the tent was replaced by a more permanent structure where the theatre remained until 1981 when it relocated to its current site across the river. The Pitlochry Theatre Company subsequently sold Knockendarroch to the McMenemie family who established the house as a hotel.
As Knockendarroch Hotel we still have close ties with the Pitlochry Theatre and many of our guests benefit from our pre-theatre dining offer and our complimentary theatre transport.
Pitlochry Festival Theatre has released its 2020 programme and as usual it looks fabulous. Remember that pre-theatre dining and complimentary theatre transport (during the summer season only) is available when booking directly with the hotel on a DBB basis. Please ask for details when making your reservation.