From the crowning place of Scottish kings to a poet's retreat, we recommend the best gardens to visit in Scotland.


For more inspiration for days out, don't miss our guide to gardens where you can pick your own flowers and the best museum gardens.

Gardens to visit in Scotland

Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh

Palm House, Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh
© Getty Images

This historic botanical garden dates back to the 17th century and has fine views of Edinburgh's skyline. Highlights include the Rock Garden, the Chinese Hillside, the rhododendron collection and the Scottish Native Plants Collection.

Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh, 20a Inverleith Row, Edinburgh EH3 5LR,

Castle Fraser, Aberdeenshire

The traditional walled garden at Castle Fraser includes specimen trees, herbaceous borders, a medicinal border and organically grown fruit and vegetables.

Castle Fraser, Sauchen, Inverurie, Aberdeenshire AB51 7LD,

Little Sparta, South Lanarkshire

Engraved stones at Little Sparta

For 40 years Little Sparta was the home of Scottish artist Ian Hamilton Finlay, who was also a poet, writer and self-proclaimed “avant-gardener”. The seven acres of moorland in the Pentland Hills is filled with his work, exploring themes from our relationship to nature to classical antiquity and the Second World War.

Stonypath, Dunsyre ML11 8NG. Tel 07826 495677,

Greenbank Garden, Glasgow

This 18th century walled garden in the suburbs of Glasgow has an impressive range of plants, including a National Collection of bergenia. The gardens are designed to inspire visitors to grow a wide array of plants in their own gardens.

Greenbank Garden, Flenders Road, Clarkston, Glasgow G76 8RB,

Jupiter Artland, Edinburgh

Jupiter Artland sculpture garden
Quarry, by Phyllida Barlow © Anna-Kunst, Jupiter Artland

A stunning sculpture park set over 100 acres of meadow and woodland. All of the sculptures in the permanent collection were were created in response to the landscape – the location chosen by the artist. You’ll find works by Jim Lambie, Nathan Coley, Cornelia Parker, Anish Kapoor, Marc Quinn and Anthony Gormley.

Jupiter Artland, Bonnington House Steadings, Near Wilkieston, Edinburgh EH27 8BY. Tel 01506 889900,

Blair Castle Gardens, Perthshire

Hercules Garden at Blair Castle is a nine-acre walled garden that has been restored to its original Georgian design. It features a long artificial lake teeming with swans and ducks, and a beautiful Chinese bridge. The garden is named after the life-sized statue of Hercules that overlooks the grounds.

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As well as the walled garden to explore, Blair Castle has a fine collection of deciduous conifers that put on a fiery display every autumn. Among their lofty trees you'll find grand fir, Douglas fir, larch and Wellingtonia.

Blair Atholl, Pitlochry, Perthshire PH18 5TH,

Scone Palace, Perthshire

Scone maze

Scone Palace was the crowning place of Scottish kings, including Robert the Bruce and Charles II. Among the sprawling grounds are woodland gardens and nature trails, a Victorian pinetum and a Kitchen Garden.

Scone's Murray Star Maze was planted in 1992 with 2,000 beech trees – half green, half copper, designed in a tartan five-pointed star by the world-famous maze designer Adrian Fisher. At its centre is a bronze statue designed by David William-Ellis, representing the water nymph Arethusa.

Scone Palace, Perth, Perth and Kinross PH2 6BD,

Crarae Garden, Inverary

The Crarae Burn is the centerpiece of this Himalayan-style garden among the hills of Argyll. Crarae Garden was created in 1912 by Lady Grace Campbell, the aunt of intrepid plant hunter Reginald Farrer, who sourced trees and shrubs from China, Nepal and Tibet. Among the rocky gorges and thickets of maple and birch, keep your eyes peeled for red squirrels, dippers and woodpeckers.

Crarae Garden, Crarae, Inveraray PA32 8YN,

The Walled Garden, Dumfriesshire

The Walled Garden

A beautiful walled garden surrounded by woodland in the Ewes Valley. Visitors can cut their own flowers every Saturday throughout summer, working up an appetite for tea, cake and wood-fired pizza! Via prior arrangement you can even pick your own wedding flowers – a lovely thing to do with your bridesmaids – and bubbles can be provided to make the day more special.

The Walled Garden, Ewes, Langholm, Dumfriesshire DG130HL,

Balmoral, Aberdeenshire

This 20,000-hectare estate has been the beloved Scottish home of the Royal Family since 1852, purchased for Queen Victoria by Prince Albert.

The grounds are open to the public from April to August, including three acres of formal gardens containing a walled garden, glasshouses and a Victorian conservatory. A water garden was recently introduced by Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh.

Enjoy azaleas and rhododendrons along the riverside walk, and keep your eyes peeled for red squirrels.

Balmoral Castle, Ballater, Aberdeenshire,

Millpond Flower Farm, Berwickshire

Millpond Flower Farm

On this Berwickshire farm you'll find two acres of fresh flowers ready to cut. When you arrive you can choose the size of vessel you want to fill, from a medium vase to a large bucket – plus there are little pots for children under 12 to join in. The farm also hosts 'cut and arrange' workshops.

Millpond Flower Farm, New Mains, Foulden, Berwickshire, TD15 1UL,

Castle of Mey, Caithness

This turreted 16th-century castle was the property of Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother from 1952 until 1996.

Among its beautiful grounds is the romantic walled garden, redesigned by head gardener Chris Parkinson to provide interest all year round with its thriving grasses, rhododendrons and fuchsias.

There is an Animal Centre in the East Woods, where children can enjoy feeding the chickens and sheep.

Castle of Mey, Mey, Thurso KW14 8XH,

Crathes Castle, Aberdeenshire

Crathes Castle

There's plenty to keep the whole family amused, including the internationally-renowned Walled Garden where you'll find pools, fountains, roses and a range of unusual plants. There's also a Wild Wood Adventure play area and six way-marked trails around the estate's multitude of habitats.

Crathes Castle, Crathes, Banchory AB31 5QJ,

Traquair House, Peebleshire

Traquair is Scotland oldest inhabited house, dating back to 1107 and lived in by the Stuart family since 1491. It's also home to the world famous Traquair House Brewery – you can sample their fine ales in the brewery shop and museum.

Traquair's maze is the largest hedged maze in Scotland, and was originally planted with Leylandi Cyprus trees, but they suffered during the harsh winter of 1983. The maze was later replanted with hardier beech trees, which brings extraordinary colour across the seasons. A very popular Easter Egg Hunt is hosted in the maze every spring.

Traquair House, Innerleithen, Peeblesshire EH44 6PW,

Gordon Castle Walled Garden, Moray

Gordon Castle
© Claire Takacs

Situated between the River Spey and the Moray Coast, Gordon Castle is an ancient aristocratic estate centred on its ancient castle, extensively remodelled in the mid twentieth century. And Gardens Illustrated even paid it a visit back in 2019.

At almost eight acres in size it is one of the oldest and largest kitchen gardens in Britain and has been lovingly restored to its former glory with a modern design by world famous designer Arne Maynard.

There's freshly picked produce in the award-winning café, a wonderful natural play area and seasonal garden trails so there's plenty for children to see and enjoy too.

Gordon Castle Walled Garden, Fochabers, Morayshire IV32 7PQ,


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Abigail is a freelance writer and editor based in Hereford.