William Craik, the father of the agricultural revolution in Scotland, built the Adams-style Arbigland House in the 1750s and started to lay out the Gardens. The Gardens were subsequently developed, particularly in the period between the 1880s and 1940s. Craik's illegitimate son, James, was George Washington's physician; his daughter, Helen, a poet, novelist and friend of Robert Burns who visited the House; his gardener's son, John Paul Jones, the founder of the US Navy; and his Minister's son, John Campbell, the inventor of the brass sextant, the first Captain of HMS Victory, the Governor of Newfoundland and the Royal Navy's Vice Admiral of the White. The Gardens are now being re-opened to the public and talks given about the historic significance of the House and those connected to it. There are also holiday lets.
The Gardens are open Thursday to Sunday and Bank Holiday Monday afternoons from May to September. Tickets may be bought from the neighbouring John Paul Jones Museum.