Scotland has some of the most beautiful scenery in the world, with each season heralding different vistas, light and weather. But autumn, when our tree-lined glens burst into a blaze of colour, is arguably when it is at its most striking.
Now’s the time to discover our wonderful woodlands during the Scottish Tree Festival, taking place between 30 September and 1 December.
Organised by Discover Scottish Gardens, the festival includes gardens from all over Scotland with nearly 50 events taking place this year – below are just a few highlights of what to expect. So get ‘leaf peeping’ this autumn – it’s great for body, mind and spirit and remember to share your experiences using #ScottishTreeFestival
BENMORE BOTANIC GARDEN, DUNOON
30 September – 2 October
Here you’ll find an amazing avenue of redwood trees and during the Scottish Tree Festival they’re hosting Autumn Palette – a botanical art weekend exploring shape and colour using the tree collections here for inspiration. Accommodation and food will be provided by Benmore House Outdoor Education Centre which is situated in the grounds of the Botanic Garden.
ROYAL BOTANIC GARDEN EDINBURGH
30 September – 18 November
The Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh is a 72-acre oasis of tranquillity in the heart of the city and a place for all the family to enjoy. There’s loads going on here during the Scottish Tree Festival.
Join one of their daily guided tours and discover botanical highlights, plant treasures and tales of intrepid adventurers. Join a workshop on 5 November that will create some autumn colour and interest in your garden and help get it ready for next year. Join their ‘Seedlings’ weekly parents and babies’ session each Friday (except 21 October).
Take the kids along the Hallowe’en Trail to find magical ingredients and ancient secrets to create a spell and collect a tasty treat. And hear stories from the past, present and future inspired by Scotland’s diverse plant life, along enchanting audio trails, as part of Scotland’s Year of Stories celebrations.
ATTADALE GARDENS, LOCHCARRON
1 – 30 October
Located opposite the pretty Highland village of Lochcarron, Attadale is a long-established, privately-owned garden that stretches to over 20 acres, set amidst stunning Wester Ross scenery.
Come and enjoy the gardens in their full autumn colour. Explore the trail – can you find the fairies, or are they hiding in the trees? While you explore, there are many interesting tree-related facts and stories to learn – how many secrets are lurking in the garden?
LOGAN BOTANIC GARDEN, STRANRAER
1 October – 15 November
Gently warmed by the Gulf Stream in south-west Scotland lies our most exotic garden, where you will find thriving palm trees and other incredible tropical plants.
Logan Botanic Garden have a packed Scottish Tree Festival programme planned. The kids can create their own kite or make a scary skeleton for Hallowe’en during the October holidays. Gardening enthusiasts can enjoy an autumnal walk with one of the horticulturists.
You’ll also see some amazing wildlife and nature images in the Scottish Nature Photography Award exhibition and pick up a bargain or an early Christmas gift at their end-of-season sale on 30 October.
DAWYCK BOTANIC GARDEN, SCOTTISH BORDERS
1 October – 30 November
Dawyck Botanic Garden is a five-star garden, near Stobo in the Scottish Borders that’s renowned for its world-famous arboretum.
Take a guided walk through the woods or pick up a leaflet and follow the ‘Delicate Balance’ trail featuring over 20 works created by local sculptor Susheila Jamieson. Join John Hay for a British Sign Language tour and learn about the history of Dawyck and its living collection.
There’s a bring-and-buy plant sale scheduled for 16 October and a ‘Beasties and Birdies’ exhibition by Poppy Browne will run for the duration of the Festival. Places are limited on some events, so phone 01721 760254 or email firstname.lastname@example.org to check availability and book.
ST ANDREWS BOTANIC GARDEN
1 October – 30 November
This lovely garden in the Kingdom of Fife, contains a plant collection of national importance with some 8,000 species of plants! It’s a place of research, but also a place to relax and have fun.
From lunchtime horticultural lectures in St Andrews to a “Beyond the Hedge” live music event and guided walks with the garden’s Director, Harry Watkins, and with his team, make sure you plan a visit to these fantastic gardens this autumn.
There’s lots going on for the kids too. Discover the wildlife in the garden with hands-on family activities. And Autumn Activities in the Garden sessions, which are ideal for young families, will run between 10 – 12 October and 17 – 19 October.
WILD TREE ADVENTURES, SCOTTISH BORDERS AND ABERDEENSHIRE
8 – 23 October
The tree-climbing experts at Wild Tree Adventures are offering amazing experiences scaling tall trees, some of which are up to 200 years old. Sessions are taking place at Paxton House near Berwick-Upon-Tweed on 8 – 9 October, Traquair House near Innerleithen on 15-16 October and Aden Country Park near Mintlaw on 21-23 October. Enjoy lovely views over stunning scenery and connect with nature from a totally unique viewpoint. Suitable for everyone with an adventurous spirit from 6 – 60 years of age and all abilities.
Hopetoun’s Tree-mendous Walk, South Queensferry
23 October, 2 – 4pm
Dating back to the 17th century, Hopetoun House near Edinburgh, is arguably one of Scotland’s finest stately homes.
Hopetoun’s grounds are open as part of the Scottish Tree Festival. This ranger-led walk will guide visitors through the nature and history of some of the specimen trees found throughout Hopetoun’s designed landscape. Look out for wildlife whilst learning about the historical use, folklore and natural history of the trees within Hopetoun’s 100-acre estate.
Looking for further inspiration to get outdoors this autumn? Or for things to do with the kids during the October holidays? Then don’t forget to visit our autumn holidays page.
Other things you might like:
- Scotland’s Gardens and Parks
- Discover Scottish Gardens
- National Trust for Scotland Gardens
- Glasgow Country Parks and Public Gardens
- Glorious Gardens of Argyll