The Garden Guide

Garden Tours in Scotland

Scotland has a different geological structure from England. North of the Southern Upland Fault, Scotland was once part of a separate tectonic plate to England. Scotland's climate is also different: the growing season is approximately a month shorter with West Scotland wetter than England and East Scotland drier than all but the east of England. Scotland also has separate design tradition. This is more evident in architecture than in garden design but the presence of Scots baronial buildings and local constructions materials and techniques gives Scots gardens a distinctive character and, in good weather, a brilliant clarity of form and colour which sets them apart from other UK gardens.

Scotland's Gardens Scheme facilitates the opening of mostly private gardens, normally inaccessible, to the public as a means of raising money for a selection of charities. The annual handbook "Gardens of Scotland", provides information on the 400 or so gardens that open for the Scheme.

Many garden tour companies operate in Britain with the main groups of operators being based in the UK and the USA. The UK operators tend to be lower priced but do not organize travel to Britain and are likely to use larger vehicles. Independent travelers can visit many gardens, but by no means all, using public transport. Car hire is also easy. One of the difficulties for the independent traveler is that many gardens are open only on a few days per week and only in the afternoon. This makes it difficult to visit as many gardens in a day as might appear possible from their geographical proximity.

Escorted Garden Tours in Scotland


Sisley Garden Tours - Scotland’s Finest Castles and Gardens with Gleneagles, 24th to 30th June 2018

Drummond Castle Terrace Edinburgh & Gleneagles plus the most majestic castles, private gardens and breath-taking views
Highlights include: two-night stay at the world renowned 5-star Gleneagles resort; central Edinburgh stay and panoramic tour of Edinburgh; exclusive private visit to Jupiter Artland; private visits to the gardens at Portmore, Carolside, Broadwoodside and Drummond Castle; private lunch and tour at Greywalls; stunning Scottish scenery and visits to Glamis & Floors Castles


‘HORTUS goes to the Lothians’, 10th to 14th September 2017

Lothians, Boxwood Tours With David Wheeler, editor of HORTUS
Historically, Lothian encompasses most of what is now south-eastern Scotland, stretching from the Firth of Forth to the Borders. This tour includes visits to Little Sparta by the late Ian Hamilton Finlay and to Jupiter Artland, a private sculpture collection with work by, among others, Antony Gormley, Andy Goldsworthy and Anish Kapoor. We see estate gardens planted to perfection, tremendous herbaceous borders, bountiful walled gardens and fresh new gardens with much to inspire. We are accommodated at Greywalls, an elegant Scottish Edwardian Country House with stunning views over East Lothian and the Firth of Forth.