Gardens in Scotland
Here is just a selection of Scottish gardens
For comprehensive lists, see links to other sites at the bottom of this page
Before visiting, please check current opening times/dates.
Self drive tours
Perhaps you would like a customised self-drive tour to visit some of Scotland's best gardens? Scotland Made Easy can plan a personal itinerary to suit your interests, budget and time available. They will book you into recommended accommodation where you are assured of quality, comfort and hospitality - usually in 4 or 5 star B&Bs in Scottish homes. Optional 'specials' include a night in a castle, church, lighthouse, country mansion, etc.
DUMFRIES AND GALLOWAY
- Castle Kennedy Gardens
Just 5 miles east of Stranraer in south-west Scotland are the colourful grounds of ruined Castle Kennedy feauturing rhododendrons, azaleas, magnolias and embrothriums. Open daily from 10am to 5pm from Easter until the end of September. Price approx. 2 UK pounds for adults, 1 UK pound for children. Light refreshments are available and you can also buy plants. Tel: 01776 702024.
- Woodfall Gardens Nursery (Glasserton, Whithorn, Newton Stewart, Galloway) includes a historic 3-acre walled garden which is open Thursdays and Sundays. Plants for sale all year round. Tel: 01988 500692
- Kailzie Garden
At Kailzie, near Peebles, you can explore walled gardens, herbaceous borders, greenhouses and woodland walks in 17 acres of grounds. Stocked fishing pond, plants for sale, art gallery. Contact Lady Angela Buchan-Hepburn. Tel: 01721 720 007.
- Brodick Castle and Gardens
Owned by the National Trust for Scotland, this red sandstone castle nestles in dark trees at the foot of Goatfell mountain 1.5 miles out of Brodick. The colourful gardens which feature lots of rhododendrons, include:
- the walled garden,
- the "Ice House" where they used to pack ice in the winter in a hole in the ground and then store it ready for the summer,
- the Bavarian Summer House, a hexagonal wooden structure built in 1845 and decorated with elaborate arrangements of fir cones.
Once you are inside the castle grounds, you can also take advantage of several walking trails, including one leading up Goatfell mountain (874 metres) and another to the intriguingly named "Duchesses' Bathing Pool". There's an adventure playground to amuse the children and a Ranger Service covering the 600-acre estate. I believe that weather information is given at their hut.
The castle is open daily from April to October 11am - 4.30pm. The Country Park is open all year round every day from 9.30am until sunset. Telephone: +44 1770 302202 / Fax: +44 1770 302312. There's a licensed restaurant and souvenir shop. More details....
These 50 acres of beautiful woodland gardens including exotic plants and trees, walled garden and greenhouses are open all year. Tel: 01583 505254. Established in 1944 by Sir James Horlick, then owner of the island who was a keen gardener and plantsman, with a particular interest in rhododendrons, azaleas and camellias. The gardens are now owned and managed by the Isle of Gigha Heritage Trust on behalf of the islanders.
Gigha can be easily reached by ferry on a day trip from the Kintyre peninsula.
Achamore House & Gardens
Photo © 2006 The Internet Guide to Scotland
ISLE OF BUTE Ardencraig Gardens
Located just to the east of Rothesay at Ardencraig. You can visit the gardens and also see aviaries of foreign birds and exotic fish ponds in the grounds of Ardencraig House. There is a tea room. The gardens were bought by the Royal Burgh of Rothesay in 1968 and admission is totally free. Please note that the house is not open to the public. Access to the gardens is from 1 May - 30 September, Monday to Friday 9am - 4.30pm, Saturdays and Sundays 1pm - 4.30pm.
Ascog Hall Victorian Fernery
Continuing on the road leading south out of Rothesay, you reach Ascog Hall which opens its marvellous restored Victorian fernery to visitors 10am - 5pm from mid-April to mid-October (closed on Mondays & Tuesdays). For further details, telephone the owners Wallace and Katherine Fyfe on 01700 504 555. Ferns are on sale I believe.
Photo © The Internet Guide to Scotland
Mount Stuart House and Gardens
Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh
Free entry. Open daily (except 25 December and 1 January). Guided tours available.
Redhall is a beautiful working 18th century walled garden, run on holistic, organic principles in the most scenic part of Edinburgh - Colinton Dell. It is managed by Scottish Association For Mental Health and strives to explore the therapeutic benefits of horticulture on well-being. It has many unusual features including a wood henge, round house, zen garden, wildlife area, bog garden, as well as demonstration veg and herbaceous beds. Entry is Mon - Fri 9am - 4pm by donation. Plants, compost, barkchip, leafmould for sale depending on availability. Address: 97 Lanark Road, Edinburgh EH14 6LZ. Tel: 01314430946. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org DUNDEE REGION Edzell Castle and Gardens
Some 30 miles north of Dundee which is on the Scottish east coast, are the ruins of Edzell Castle with its walled Renaissance garden called 'The Pleasance' containing stone carvings and many plants including the fleur de lys, shamrock, rose and thistle, symbols of France, Ireland, England and Scotland.
Pitmuies Gardens, House Of Pitmuies, Guthrie - walled gardens adjoining an 18th century house, spacious lawns, woodland, river and lochside walks. Dunninald is 2 miles south of Montrose. House and garden open to the public for 4 weeks every summer. Open to groups by prior arrangement during the rest of the year. University of Dundee Botanic Gardens - 21 acres of tree, shrubs and plants.
ST ANDREWS AREA
Photo © The Internet Guide to Scotland 2009
Located on Loch Fyne, 12 miles from Inveraray, this is a spectacular 50-acre woodland garden which is particularly beautiful in Spring and Autumn. Gardens are open all year. Visitor Centre open daily from 1 April to 30 September. Owned by The National Trust for Scotland.
Situated 20 miles south of Oban and 17 miles north of Lochgilphead on the A816 road, look for the brown tourist signs indicating the turn to the gardens and the Loch Melfort Hotel (formerly Arduaine House). This sheltered garden on the west coast benefits from the Gulf Stream which enables alsorts of unexpected plants to grow here. Owned by National Trust of Scotland and a member of the Glorious Gardens of Argyll, Arduaine Garden has various routes you can explore depending on the time you have available. Well known for its rhododendrons in particular, there is also mixture of woodland, ponds and a coastal viewpoint. Click here for details. The garden is open all year in daylight hours. The reception centre is staffed from April to end September. Telephone 01852 200366.
Ardchattan Priory Ruins and Garden
Located 7 miles east of Oban, this is one of three Valliscaulian houses and was founded in 1231 by Duncan MacDougall, Lord of Lorne. It is said that the last Parliament meeting to be conducted in Gaelic was held here by Robert the Bruce in 1308 or 1309 (depending on which history books you read). The history books also say that it was burned by Cromwell's soldiers in 1654. The house is apparently the second oldest inhabited house in Scotland. Honesty box for access to the gardens and priory ruins which are open 9am-6pm from 1 April (or Good Friday if earlier) to 31 October.
Ardkinglas Woodland Garden
Located at the head of Loch Fyne (signposted off the A83 between Loch Lomond - Inveraray). Home to one of the finest collections of conifers in Britain including many Champion Trees. Good displays of rhododendrons and azaleas. There is a woodland lochan and a gazebo which houses a unique 'Scriptorium'. The garden is open daylight hours all year round and there is an admission fee. Car park, picnic area, plant & gift sales and toilet facilities are available at the garden. Refreshments are available at the Tree Shop nearby.
Near the Police Station at Appin between Oban and Fort William you can visit Kinlochlaich House which has the largest Nursery Garden Centre in Scotland. It is open every day (except Sundays from mid-October to March).
Isle of Lismore
In Gaelic the name means 'great garden'. There are nearly 300 different types of plants and wild flowers on this little island. Well worth a visit - passenger ferry from Port Appin and car ferry from Oban. Much ancient history too.
For more gardens in these areas, visit the web site for the Glorious Gardens of Argyll and Bute.
KYLE OF LOCHALSH on the way to the ISLE OF SKYE
Lochalsh Woodland Garden
Located at Balmacara between Eilean Donan Castle and Kyle of Lochalsh. Walks along the shores of Loch Alsh amongst Scots pine, oak and beech trees with bamboo, ferns, fuchsias, hydrangeas and rhododendrons in the garden. Ranger guided walks in season. Open all year every day from 9am til sunset. Telephone 01599 566325.
Speyside Heather Garden
Halfway between Grantown-on-Spey and the Boat of Garten is the multi-award winning Speyside Heather Garden and Visitor Centre at Skye of Curr, Dulnain Bridge. See over 300 varieties of heather in the garden, visit the exhibition on the many uses of the plant, buy some to take home, shop for crafts, jewellery, clothes, garden produce. Restaurant (the famous Scottish Clootie Dumpling pudding is a speciality here). Open daily from 1 March to 31 October. Slightly reduced opening times during the winter. Telephone 01479 851 359 / fax: 01479 851 369. Visited by 80,000 people a year.
Inshriach Alpine Plant Nursery
Scotland's premier Alpine Plant Nursery specialist is located 4 miles south of Aviemore on the B970. It is open to visitors from 9am - 5pm daily from mid February to mid November. Walk around the gardens and purchase some of the thousands of plants on display. Mail order catalogues available. More details online... Tel. 01540 651287.
Located on the B970 road between Grantown-on-Spey and Nethy Bridge, Revack Lodge was built as a shooting lodge some time around 1860. Today you can visit parts of the 15,000-acre estate where there are nature trails, adventure playground, plant centre and garden (orchids a speciality), restaurant and gift shop. Open all year from 10 am to 6 pm. Free entry apparently. Coaches by appointment only. Tel: 01479 872 234 / Fax: 01479 872 722.
Inverness won the 1996 award for Best large town in the Bloom of Britain competition and is a colourful city with many floral displays in summertime. Cross the river on the little Ness bridges and you can visit Bught Park. Closeby between the ice rink and the sports centre is the Floral Hall - a sub-tropical horticultural extravaganza with small waterfall, fish and alsorts of plants/trees (open all year round). The cactus hall is quite a surprise! The Inverness Flower and Garden Festival is held each year on the last weekend in August in the Sports Centre.
Located 9 miles south of Inverness on the A82 Loch Ness road (between Lochend and Drumnadrochit) High quality range of rare and unusual plants. R.H.S. partners and members of Scotland's Garden Scheme. Open daily from February to November. Tel: 01463 861 232.
This is one of my personal favourites. Set in wooded grounds 12 miles east of Inverness, the castle dates from the early 14th century and is well worth a visit. Outside to the rear, the blue bridge spans Cawdor burn (a stream) which flows into the River Nairn. Cross it and you will find the start of many signposted nature trails in the vast expanse of woodland.
Photo © The Internet Guide to Scotland
The walled garden features on many postcards of the castle. It provides a colourful contrast to the stony backdrop of the building. In the summer, flower beds of reds, oranges, purples and whites vie for attention with the tunnel of roses and Copper beeches. There is also a walled maze and a 9-hole golf course. The castle and grounds are open daily from 1 May to 6 October 2013 between 10am and 5.30pm. Full details and photos.
You can also visit the gardens of Auchindoune House (where the Dowager Countess Cawdor lives during the tourist season). This is 30 minutes walk from the castle through the woods or a few minutes' by car. The gardens are usually open on Tuesdays and Thursdays in May, June, July and August from 10am - 4.30pm and at other times by appointment (tel: 01667 404401). There is an honesty box.
This picturesque castle, 4.5 miles west of Forres and 24 miles east of Inverness, is a popular stopping place on the visitors' trail for its fine interior and grounds. There's a picnic area, adventure playground, woodland walks, gardens and a lake. If you have chance to visit during the Spring, the famous collection of daffodils will be in full bloom. It is owned by the National Trust of Scotland - see their site for more photos. Various events are hosted here throughout the year.
6 miles south of Forres. An art gallery, walled garden, garden shop, tea room, crafts, antiques & rare books for sale, etc. Open every day from the end of March to Christmas, 10.30am - 5pm. Phone 01309 611278.
Seat of the Earls and Dukes of Sutherland, this beautiful castle with a French influence sits looking out across the North Sea on Scotland's east coast a mile from Golspie. The formal gardens were laid out in 1850 by Barry, the architect who built the Victorian extension to Dunrobin and also the Houses of Parliament in London.
Photo © The Internet Guide to Scotland
The castle is open every day from 1 April to 15 October. Admission charge. Limited disabled access to the house. Tel: +44 (0)1408 633177. There is a gift shop and tea room offering light meals & snacks.
For details of private tours, facilities for functions and opening hours, see the official web site: www.dunrobincastle.co.uk.
North of Ullapool on the coastline, the Achiltibuie Garden (previously called the Hydroponicum) is open daily in the summer months (tel: 01854 622202). A new visitor centre is being planned.
The old conservatory
at Leckmelm Shrubbery
Photo © The Internet Guide to Scotland
- Leckmelm Shrubbery and Arboretum: 3 miles from Ullapool on the main road. 10 acres of grounds and a walled garden. No parking for buses or large vehicles. Entry fee: 1.50 pounds (honesty box). Originally laid out in the 1870s by Mr. Pirie of Aberdeen, it was redeveloped in 1985 and is now owned by Mr. and Mrs. Troughton.
- Inverewe Gardens
To the west of Ullapool and 6 miles north-east of Gairloch, on the A832 road, by Poolewe, are the very famous Inverewe Gardens originally designed by Osgood Mackenzie. This colourful sub-tropical garden owned by the National Trust for Scotland is located further north than Moscow, but thanks to the North Atlantic Drift, all kinds of exotic plants grow here in 50 acres of land. Highly recommended. The gardens are open daily all year round, but the Visitor centre with restaurant and shop is only open from April to October. Guided walks with the gardener during the summer season take place Monday to Friday starting at 1.30pm. Telephone 01445 781 200.
- From mid-May to mid-September on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Sundays only, a boat from Kylesku will take you to Kerrachar Gardens. The boat leaves at 1pm and takes 30 minutes each way. Cost: 10 pounds for boat trip plus entrance to the gardens. Children under 12 travel free. Children between 12 and 16 half price. Boat trips contact - tel:01571 844446. Gardens contact - tel: 01571 83 32 88.