The 7 Best Scottish Gardens to Visit in Spring - Made Scotland

The 7 Best Scottish Gardens to Visit in Spring

What's the best way to see Scotland in spring? Plan a trip to see one of the beautiful botanical gardens that are scattered around the country. There are so many of them, from the Border lowlands to the northern tip of the Highlands. These old Scottish gardens are the perfect place to walk in nature and see beautiful plants, both indigenous and exotic. So here you are, seven great day trips around Scotland. Grab a (rain!) coat, put on your walking shoes and off you go to enjoy springtime!

Inverewe Garden

This beautiful West Coast garden is off the beaten track, on the rugged coast of Wester Ross by Poolewe. It’s well worth the journey. Even though it’s far north it benefits from the warming Gulf Stream which means surprisingly exotic plants can thrive. By the start of April the garden is alive with blossoms. I adore the variety of rhododendrons, azaleas and magnolias as well as some beautiful trees. The garden slopes down to the water, with wonderful views out to sea.

Benmore Botanic Garden

Near Dunoon in Argyll, Benmore is well known for its amazing redwoods and conifers. A real woodland garden, the air smells of pine, the place is carpeted with bluebells and at this time of year colourful azaleas explode in all their glory along the paths. Climb to the viewpoint and you get a wonderful view overlooking the Holy Loch. I haven’t felt so dwarfed by redwoods since I was a child cycling around California’s giant redwoods in Yosemite National Park.

Logan Botanic Garden

This one is perched on the southwestern tip of Scotland but the abundance of exotic plants makes it feel subtropical. Owned by the Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh, the garden is warmed by the Gulf Stream which enables plants from Australia, New Zealand, South and Central America and Southern Africa to flourish. In spring it erupts into a riot of colour with vibrant blooms and lush foliage. You’ll find towering tree ferns, palms, eucalyptus, a tranquil walled garden and beautiful glass houses. All with stunning, panoramic sea views as a backdrop 

Dawyck Botanical Garden

Set in the rolling hills of the Scottish Borders, Dawyck is a pretty, classic Scottish garden and in spring it’s in its element. You’ll find cherry blossoms, magnolias, rhododendrons… and lots of woodland trails. The azalea terrace is an explosion of colour in May, really extraordinary. And the garden has one of Scotland’s finest tree collections including some of Britain’s oldest and tallest trees, dating back to 1680.  Look out for Douglas fir, European Silver fir and Giant Sierra redwoods. As garden visits go, this one is fairly accessible with good paths throughout. The café does a great bowl of soup too.

Glenwhan Gardens

Not so many miles from Logan is Glenwhan, so if you’re going to Logan you might want to fit these in too. They’re perched high above the lovely Luce Bay in Dumfries and Galloway and are often described as a 'hidden gem'. This garden is coastal, which explains the abundance of exotic species which seem to thrive. Vibrant azaleas rhododendrons and camelias exploding into colour in spring. Save it for a nice day so you can really enjoy wandering past landscaped ponds, through woodland glades and the panoramic views across the Irish sea.

Arduaine Garden

A botanical treasure up the West Coast in Argyll, Arduaine is set on the shores of Loch Melfort. Another one which benefits from the mid Gulf Stream climate, it's brimming with rare and exotic plants. You’ll find a stunning collection of rhododendrons, azaleas and Himalayan blue poppies. And it’s the perfect place to amble through lush woodland areas, past cascading warterfalls, up to viewpoints which give you panoramic views of the surrounding islands including Luing.

* It may not open until April, check before you go.

Ardkinglas Woodland Garden

If you’re bringing small people, this is perfect as they'll love The Gruffalo & Fairy Trail. It's beautifully done (no Willy-Wonka-style fails here!). I’d do the trail even if I didn’t have the children with me. Ardkinglas is on the shores of Loch Fyne in Argyll and its known for its majestic trees and tranquil setting. You’ll find a mix of native and exotic species including giant sequoias, Himalayan rhododendrons and rare conifers. And with a backdrop of stunning mountains. A very beautiful place to visit.

 

City Botanic Gardens

In addition to all of these off-the-beaten-track, there are fantastic city botanic gardens in Glasgow, Edinburgh and Dundee to visit. They are all beautiful, well kept and have great glass houses which make a good refuge when the weather is bad.

 

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