Scotland has some of the most beautiful scenery in the world, with each season bringing 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.
From Galloway Forest Park in the south, to Weisdale in Shetland, woodlands cover around 17% of our land. Now’s the time to discover them during the Scottish Tree Festival, taking place from 28 September – 1 December.
Organised by Discover Scottish Gardens, the festival has inspired participation from many gardens across Scotland with nearly 50 events taking place this year. So get ‘leaf peeping’ this autumn – it’s great for body, mind and spirit – and remember to share your experiences using #ScottishTreeFestival
Biodiversity Walks at Abbotsford, Scottish Borders
28 September, 19 October and 21 October
If you’re not already aware, Abbotsford was the home of one of Scotland’s most influential writers – Sir Walter Scott. His most prized possession, the house and his beloved Regency Gardens, reflect his imagination and inventiveness and should feature on any literary or gardening pilgrimage.
As part of the Scottish Tree Festival, Abbotsford ranger Anna Inman will lead three in-person guided biodiversity walks through the estate.
On 28 September join Anna and learn more about the trees on the Abbotsford Estate and their importance to Sir Walter Scott. On 19 October Anna will talk about the estate’s wildlife, specimen trees and Scott’s designed landscape. And on 21 October she’ll explain how Abbotsford’s flora and fauna change over autumn in preparation for winter.
Afternoon ‘Tree’ at Cringletie, Peebles, Scottish Borders
28 September – 1 October, 2.30 – 5.30pm
Over the past 20 years a programme of ongoing refurbishment has brought ever-increasing levels of luxury to guest rooms and public areas. And this programme of improvement has extended into the delightful 28-acre estate grounds and the historic walled garden.
During the Scottish Tree Festival, Cringletie is offering ‘Afternoon ‘Tree’ at Cringletie’. Enjoy a scrumptious afternoon tea by the roaring log fire and then take a stroll through stunning autumn colours along their nature trail and in the walled garden. Afternoon tea, at £29 per person, must be pre-booked.
Teasses Estate, Ceres, Fife
Wednesday 2, 6, 13, 20, 27 October, 10am – 4pm
Teasses is a working estate that also includes some amazing and sensitively restored gardens that have been renovated since the mid-1990s.
For the very first time, the gardens will remain open on Wednesdays between 10am and 4pm until the end of October. This will give visitors the opportunity to experience the gardens in all their autumn glory.
A network of paths leads to individual gardens within the Millennium Wood, which are full of vibrant colours at this time of year. Take a self-guided tour and enjoy them at your own pace.
You can pay on the day via the honesty box at the Walled Garden entrance, or book online in advance.
Hopetoun’s Tree-mendous Walks, South Queensferry
Each Sunday from 3 October – 21 November, 1 – 3pm
Dating back to the 17th century, Hopetoun House near Edinburgh, is arguably one of Scotland’s finest stately homes.
Available when Hopetoun is normally closed, they are offering ranger-led walks that will guide you through the nature and history of some of the specimen trees found throughout the wonderfully designed landscape here.
Look out for wildlife whilst learning about the historical use, folklore and natural history of the trees within Hopetoun’s 144-acre estate. More information can be found on their ranger service Facebook page.
Scottish Tree Festival at Cambo Gardens, Fife
4, 9, 10, 11, 12, 16 October
Set spectacularly near Kingsbarns and with amazing views of the Fife coast, there’s a whole host of events taking place at Cambo Gardens & Estate as part of the Festival. Most are ideal for parents looking to keep the kids entertained during the October school break.
Share Tea and Tales under the Trees with storyteller Owen Pilgrim on 4 October. On 9 October celebrate all things apples and the launch of their nature trail – look out for Glinbobs, Tootflits and puppets in the trees! On 10 October it’s Storytelling for Families. On 11 October, children between 6 and 12 can make their own fairy door and try their hand at making willow wands on the 12 October. On 16 October, a Tree Walk and Talk is an opportunity to learn more about the trees around the estate.
The kids will love the Nature Play area here. If you’re peckish, drop into Cambo Gardens outdoor café for something tasty or browse a fine range of crafts, gifts, plants and produce in The Tack Room shop. Check out the Cambo Gardens website for the latest information and updates.
The Plant Market, Dalgety Bay, Fife
16 – 17 October and 23 – 24 October, 9am – 4pm
The Plant Market garden centre, near Dalgety Bay, has been providing gardening advice to experienced and novice gardeners alike for the past 30 years, and will be celebrating all things trees during the Scottish Tree Festival.
Pay them a visit between 16 – 17 October to learn how to get the most from your fruit trees, with an expert on hand to guide you through, planting, feeding and pruning. Then, from 23 – 24 October, the focus moves to ornamental trees and again, an expert will be on hand to answer any questions.
Throughout the festival, they will have a great range of ornamental and fruit trees available. Keep an eye on their events section for more details.
Saughton Park Hallowe’en & Apple Day, Edinburgh
30 October, 12 – 4pm
Not far from Edinburgh city centre, Saughton Park, with its wide-open spaces and playing fields, is a lovely green space to escape the hustle and bustle. Within the park you’ll also find 34 acres of wonderfully tended formal gardens.
On the 30 October, the Royal Caledonian Horticultural Society, or The Caley for short, and the Friends of Saughton Park plan to run a Hallowe’en & Apple fun family day. Discover more about Scottish apple varieties with a fabulous display of apples from all over Scotland and follow the tree trail. Lots of activities are planned throughout the day to keep the whole family entertained. Keep checking The Caley website for the latest updates.
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