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6 amazing Scottish gardens to explore

Looking down a path which is flanked by floral borders and trees, with a turreted castle in the distance.

Inveraray Castle, Argyll. Image © Robert Pogson, all rights reserved.

Whatever the season, you’ll find something beautiful to enjoy in Scotland’s gardens. Fresh spring buds, summer blooms, autumnal leaves and wintry scenes are all waiting to delight. See what some of the best gardens in Scotland have to offer, including grand castle estates, tranquil city oases and country havens.

1. Inveraray Castle, Inveraray

Home to the Dukes of Argyll, and the seat of Clan Campbell, Inveraray Castle is a turreted, fairytale castle with a fittingly grand garden. The 16 acre garden encompasses formal lawns, flowerbeds and woodlands.

Horticultural highlights: daffodils, rhododendrons, azaleas, heathers and roses.
Gardener’s tip: when you’re on the central path, stop and take a look around – the borders on either side are laid out like the Saltire, Scotland’s national flag.
Nearby gardens: Ardkinglas House & Gardens, Crarae Garden, Benmore Botanic Garden.

2. Dunninald Castle and Gardens, Montrose

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Grab the chance to see one of Scotland’s lesser known gardens! Open on specific days in spring and summer, Dunninald Castle and Gardens is one of hundreds of locations which open for a limited time to raise money for charity as part of Scotland’s Gardens Scheme.

Horticultural highlights: roses, daffodils, bluebells, snowdrops.
Gardener’s tip: take a walk in the woods and you might spot a red squirrel!
Nearby gardens: Langley Park Gardens, Pitmuies Gardens, Brechin Castle Gardens.

3. Johnston Gardens, Aberdeen

Scotland’s cities are home to stunning gardens too. Get away from it all at the Japanese-inspired Johnston Gardens in Aberdeen, where you can relax and unwind by trickling streams and flowing waterfalls.

Horticultural Highlights: rhododendrons, spring bulbs, heathers and alpines.
Gardener’s tip: the garden is a popular spot for wedding photos – smile!
Nearby gardens: David Welch Winter Gardens, Cruickshank Botanic Garden, Pitmedden Garden.

4. Gordon Castle Walled Garden, Fochabers

New life has been breathed into one of Britain’s largest and oldest walled gardens. Lovingly re-designed, Gordon Castle Walled Garden features a wealth of vegetables and herbs which are used in the café and products in the shop – including the botanical gin! There are also floral displays, a maze and a natural play area for children.

Horticultural highlights: perfume garden, nectar garden, lavender garden.
Gardener’s tip: The garden hosts events and workshops throughout the year, including theatrical performances in the purpose-build sunken performance area.

Nearby gardens: Haugh Gardens, Blackhills Garden, Ballindalloch Castle and Gardens.

5. The Hidden Gardens, Glasgow

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This garden is on a mission to bring people together in Pollokshields, one of Scotland’s most diverse communities. Located in a former tram works, the Hidden Gardens have transformed the area into a peaceful haven that features both native and exotic plants, and intriguing artworks.

Horticultural Highlights: bamboos, rowans, magnolias, hazels.
Gardener’s tip: Join a Voluntour (a volunteer-led tour) to get the most out of your visit.
Nearby Gardens: Glasgow Botanic Gardens, People’s Palace & Winter Gardens, Pollok House.

6. Dawyck Botanic Garden, Scottish Borders

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Open from February to the end of November, Dawyck Botanic Garden is a treat in any season. Garden terraces and woodland paths feature both native and exotic plants, with the Azalea Terrace, Dutch Bridge and Beech Walk being the garden’s most popular photo spots.

Horticultural highlights: snowdrops, daffodils, azaleas, rhododendrons, beech trees, Douglas firs.
Gardener’s tip: Did you know that Dawyck is a sister garden to the Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh, Logan Botanic Garden and Benmore Botanic Garden?
Nearby gardens: Kailzie Gardens, Traquair House, Priorwood Garden.

Discover more gardens to visit in Scotland.