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The Scottish Snowdrop Festival 2021: snowdrops signal spring

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As of 5 January 2021, everyone in mainland Scotland including Skye is being asked to stay at home except for essential purposes. These restrictions will run until April, though some gardens are able to remain open to local residents. Please check Covid-19 restrictions for the most up to date information.

The emergence of dainty white flowers, as they doggedly push through February’s snow is a delightful sign for many that spring is on the way, and just the pick-me-up we need in these unprecedented times.

To celebrate their arrival, many of Scotland’s best gardens and woodlands have come together, to offer a range of virtual, for those that live further afield, and in-person experiences for local residents, that collectively make up the Scottish Snowdrop Festival.

Organised by Discover Scottish Gardens, and taking place between 25 January – 11 March, there may be as many as 70 events included in the festival programme this year, depending on Covid-19 restrictions. So why not visit a garden near home for a crisp winter walk as part of your daily exercise routine? Just remember to observe current Covid-19 travel restrictions and stay within your own Local Authority area.

Entry to some gardens is free, though some do charge a small fee. If you plan to visit a local garden, please check ahead for opening, operating and Covid-19 information before heading out.

Here are just a few of the festival highlights:

Scotland’s Gardens Scheme, various gardens across Scotland

February and March (depending on Covid-19 restrictions)

Scotland’s Gardens Scheme hope to open some of their gardens for the Scottish Snowdrop Festival in February and March so please check their website to see what’s on. In the meantime, you can still experience many of their gardens online through their Virtual Garden Visits.

Attadale Gardens, Strathcarron, Highlands

Open Thursdays in February from 10am to 4pm

Opening especially for the Scottish Snowdrop Festival each Thursday during February, enjoy a relaxing self-guided, physically-distanced walk round delightful Attadale Gardens and see if you can find the snowdrops here. Please adhere to current Covid-19 guidelines and travel restrictions and maintain physical distancing. Entry is free to all, and visitors should bear left after the Gatehouse and walk clockwise round the field.

Riverside Park, Perthshire

25 January – 11 March

Riverside Park in the ‘Fair City’ of Perth has been awarded Best Park in the UK for two consecutive years in the Royal Horticultural Society’s Britain in Bloom Awards.

Taking in the impressive Bellwood Heather Collection, Norie Miller Park and part of a public art trail, the park also now features a snowdrop trail along the historic banks of the River Tay. This park is open all year round and is the ideal place to relax and enjoy a walk as part of your daily exercise.

Ardkinglas Estate Woodland Garden

25 January – 6 March

Ardkinglas Woodland Garden, on the shores of stunning Loch Fyne in Argyll, is part of the impressive 12,000-acre Ardkinglas Estate. The garden is open year-round and contains an impressive collection of trees, including one of Britain’s tallest. The highlight for kids is, undoubtedly, the Gruffalo Trail – why not follow the story boards along this short trail to find the Gruffalo?

February and March are wonderful months for local residents to visit Ardkinglas, as little green shoots push through winter snow, allowing wonderful dainty snowdrop flowers to emerge, heralding the advent of spring. Come for a wander around this wonderful garden.  A modest entry free applies.

Cambo Gardens, Kingsbarns, Fife

25 January – 11 March

Snowdrops in the woodlands at Cambo Gardens near St Andrews

Snowdrops in the woodlands at Cambo Gardens near St Andrews

Cambo Gardens in the Kingdom of Fife is a snowdrop wonderland and is offering six virtual tours and talks on Facebook for those who are unable to visit in person, or are keen to learn more about the snowdrops and gardens here. Join their gardeners for weekly insights into how their snowdrop collection is coming along and learn how to care for your own snowdrops.

In addition, local residents visiting the gardens will also be able to take a self-guided walk along the Tamworth and Galanthophile trails. Please check the Cambo Gardens website for the latest updates before heading out.

Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh

25 January – 11 March

Snowdrops at the Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh

Snowdrops at the Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh

The Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh is a 72-acre oasis of tranquility for local residents in the very heart of Scotland’s capital city and a place for all the family to enjoy.

This is one of the finest botanic gardens in the world and here you’ll find a fascinating collection of specialist snowdrops, which, when they emerge, herald the first signs of spring.

Look out for them throughout the Garden or ask the visitor welcome team for specific locations. During the pandemic, all visits require a time slot ticket, booked online in advance. Tickets are free.

Dawyck Botanic Garden, near Stobo, Scottish Borders

1 – 11 March

Dawyck Botanic Garden is a five-star garden renowned for its seasonal displays of snowdrops, bluebells, rhododendrons, azaleas, blue poppies and autumn colour. Delicate Galanthus (snowdrops) cover the banks of the Scrape Burn in February.

Dawyck offers woodland and burnside walks, themed tree trails and visitors can follow the adventures of plant explorers such as David Douglas, after whom the Douglas fir is named. Open daily from 1 March, 10am to 4pm.

Are you planning to go along to a local garden to check out the snowdrops? If so, let us know what you thought on TwitterFacebook and Instagram and share images with us by using #ScotlandIsNow and #OnlyInScotland.