I’m not very green-fingered, and have seen many plants suffer under my attempted ‘care’, but what I do love is getting out for a walk at the weekend, getting some close-up snaps of flowers in bloom, and having a well-earned cup of tea at the end. Whether you’re interested in history, the arts or simply want to find something fun for the kids to do, here are some Scottish gardens which make for a great day out.
At Falkland Palace in Fife, a summer stroll amongst the blossoming trees in the apple orchard can be combined with discovering a 16th century hunting lodge which was favoured by Mary, Queen of Scots.
As well as the walled garden at Crathes Castle, Garden and Estate in Banchory, Aberdeenshire, there are a also range of woodland trails to follow. The east trail features majestic sycamore trees and a picturesque mill pond. Keep an eye out for roe deer and red squirrels as you walk, as well as people climbing up in the trees on the Go Ape! tree-top adventure trail.
If you’d like to hone your photography skills, then perhaps the workshops at Branklyn Garden in Perthshire and Inveresk Village in East Lothian can give you a helping hand? Bright flower displays such as the Azalea Terrace and the Blue Himalayan poppies of Dawyck Botanic Gardens in the Scottish Borders are ideal for practicing photography.
Brodick Castle & Country Park on the Isle of Arran has wildflower meadows and stunning floral borders, but also an adventure park and sculptures to spot throughout the grounds. Logan Botanic Garden in Dumfries & Galloway has an exotic feel thanks to the Gulf Stream and holds many family events, including crafty workshops, nature spotting and seasonal things to do.
Tea shop stops
The John Hope Gateway at the Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh is much more than an entrance to the gardens. It also hosts exhibitions, workshops, a great gift shop and, perhaps most importantly, a great restaurant which offers a range of tasty meals and an excellent afternoon tea. And all with a view of the garden, including its tallest tree.
Events and guided walks
As well as regular guided tours, many gardens host a range of seasonal activities, exhibitions, wildlife events, and workshops on everything from gardening and crafts to cooking. Join a bat walk at Drum Castle in Aberdeenshire, watch an outdoor theatre performance of Macbeth at Kellie Castle & Garden in Fife or attend an opening of a private garden, such as the ones arranged by Scotland’s Gardens for charity.