Built in 1890-91 by shipowner and MP, Sir Donald Currie (who bought the Glenlyon Estate, including the village, in 1885, Fortingall was designed by the architect James M MacLaren. The thatched cottages are fine examples of a planned village built in vernacular style (here combining both Lowland Scottish and English influences, notably from Devon) and are increasingly appreciated as one of the most important examples of 'arts and crafts' vernacular style in Scotland.
The Fortingall Hotel is an important example of Scottish vernacular revival. Its design is based on the tower-houses and burgh architecture of the 16th-17th centuries, but in a modern idiom which anticipates the buildings of Charles Rennie Mackintosh, whose work MacLaren influenced. The Fortingall Yew is an ancient tree in its own walled enclosure within the village churchyard, its age is estimated to be between 2000 and 5000 years, and it may be the oldest living tree - perhaps even the oldest living thing - in Europe. Place-name and archaeological evidence hint at an Iron Age cult centre at Fortingall, which may have had this tree as its focus. The site was Christianised during the Dark Ages, perhaps because it was already a sacred place. According to legend, Fortingall was the birthplace of Pontius Pilate. This is unsubstantiated and unlikely, as the Roman conquest of Britain only took place some years after Pilate's time.