Discover some of Scotland’s most beautiful gardens
When it comes to sensational gardens that must be experienced, Scotland has some mighty fine options
From its rugged coastlines and mountains to its sloping glens and lush woodland, Scotland is well known for its incredible natural beauty, but its plentiful landscaped spaces are just as varied and awe-inspiring.
Botanic gardens, country estates, historic castle grounds and more – you’ll find them in remarkable locations dotted all around the country, and each one deserves to be experienced on your next trip.
The only problem is, with so many wonderful gardens to choose from, where do you start? Here are just a few of the most outstanding deserving of a visit…
Kellie Castle & Garden, Fife
Medieval origins meet Victorian style at Kellie Castle, which dates back to the 14th century, but was saved from ruin in the late 19th century. With its fairy-tale stone towers, elaborate plaster ceilings and furniture designed by Sir Robert Lorimer, the castle is a sight to behold both inside and out.
The beautiful gardens are equally magnificent. Breathe in the heady scents of the Arts & Crafts garden (named after the decorative movement of the late 19th century), filled with the fragrance of old roses, and explore the charming walled garden and the picturesque estate beyond. The tranquil grounds also include a kitchen garden – the fresh produce from which you can enjoy in the tearoom.
Fyvie Castle, Garden & Estate, Aberdeenshire
Fyvie Castle’s 800-year history is rich in legends, folklore and even ghost stories, and inside you’ll discover an amazing collection of antiquities, armour and lavish oil paintings, but its garden and wider estate are just as worthy of exploration.
Take a stroll around the tranquil loch, home to large numbers of wildfowl, including swans, moorhens and the occasional osprey. Stop by the brilliant 18th-century walled garden too, which has been redeveloped as a garden of Scottish fruit and vegetables.
Harmony Garden, Scottish Borders
As the name suggests, nature is perfectly in tune at Harmony Garden. Wander through the walled grounds and you’ll lose yourself in the peacefulness of the manicured lawns, scented borders and fruit and vegetable beds that spread out from the pretty Georgian manor house.
The garden also enjoys excellent views of the majestic ruins of Melrose Abbey and the nearby Eildon Hills. It really is the ideal setting for the Borders Book Festival, which Harmony hosts every June – keep an eye on the website for plans for June 2021.
Branklyn Garden, Perthshire
Branklyn is an enchanting two-acre hillside garden that was created in the 1920s. A serene haven that’s within walking distance of Perth city centre, the garden contains a wonderful diversity of rare species, exotic plants from China, Tibet, the Himalayas and beyond, as well as curious cultivars.
Gardeners and botanists from across the globe come to admire Branklyn’s outstanding collection, particularly the alpines, herbaceous plants and woodland. It also holds several National Collections of plants, including Meconopsis, Rhododendron (Taliense section) and Cassiope.
Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh
Just one mile from the city centre, the 300-year-old Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh offers 72 acres of stunning scenery, plus fantastic views of the capital’s skyline. Visitors can discover its fascinating history, learn about its plantings and explore the exquisite landscape.
The garden features 10 impressive glasshouses, each with a different climatic zone, from steamy tropics to arid desert – between them are home to 3,000 exotic plants from around the world. Other highlights include the famous rock garden and the giant Redwood trees in the woodland garden.
Dunvegan Castle & Gardens, Isle of Skye
Time spent in the Isle of Skye would be incomplete without a visit to Dunvegan Castle & Gardens. Take a tour of the estate, which is steeped in history and clan legend, walk around the five acres of formal gardens and even hop on a boat to see the Loch Dunvegan seal colony.
In stark contrast to the moorland and mountains that dominate Skye’s landscape, the 18th-century gardens are a hidden oasis featuring an eclectic mix of plants. From the water garden with its ornate bridges and islands replete with a rich and colourful plant variety, to the walled garden with its diverse range of plants and flowers complemented by a water lily pond, memorial gazebo, 17th-century sundial and pergola, among other attractive features, the gardens are simply glorious.
Greenbank Garden, Glasgow
Greenbank is a surprising beauty spot less than a mile from Glasgow’s bustling Southside suburbs. The walled garden dates back to the 1760s and you can stroll among the 3,600 different plant species here, while the woodland walk is ideal if you’’re up for a relaxing ramble.
The garden is magical no matter the time of year you visit – in winter carpets of snowdrops will welcome you and in spring you can admire the 568 varieties of daffodils. In summer, of course, the whole garden comes alive.
Logan Botanic Garden, Dumfries & Galloway
Located at the south-western tip of Scotland, Logan Botanic Garden is unrivalled as the country’s most exotic garden. It boasts a phenomenal collection of unusual plants, and a visit here will see you walking through groves of eucalyptus and palm trees or standing in the shade of awesome rhubarb-like gunnera.
Plant treasures from South and Central America, Southern Africa and Australasia flourish here, and the elegant Logan Conservatory houses a range of especially tender plants. A stroll to the highest point in the garden will be rewarded with breathtaking views across the Rhins of Galloway Hills and beyond.
Scotland has a huge selection of outstanding gardens just waiting for you. Get to work devising your perfect trip now.