Holidays in Glenlivet

Visitor Guide

Gardens and Plant Nurseries


Gardens and Plant Nurseries

 in Glenlivet and the Cairngorms, Aberdeenshire, Grampian,

Moray, Nairn and Inverness-shire


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We have included links to many other websites.  We shall eventually get round to informing all of these about our links, but if we haven't yet been in touch and you would prefer us to remove the link to your site, then please let us know.

Most of these gardens are open on a regular basis, but some of them open under the auspices of the Scotland’s Garden Scheme, which means that, apart from open days, they may require an appointment to view.

Many of the properties listed in the Castles and Houses Section also have gardens that are worth visiting in their own right and usually open without having to tour the buildings themselves.

Nurseries that don't have gardens are listed under Garden Centres and Nurseries.

The Historic Scotland websites link to their inventory of nationally important gardens and designed landscapes.  The descriptions aren’t designed to excite you and indeed could put you off visiting some sites - their purpose is to act as a management tool by detailing why a site is worth protecting, its location and setting, site values, site history and landscape components.



Glen Grant  (Rothes)

Glen Grant Webpage for Gardens

At the end of the nineteenth century, Major Grant created a 22 acre open

woodland garden with several ponds in the narrow valley behind his

distillery.  At one time it employed as many as eleven gardeners, but was

neglected for much of the twentieth century before being restored to its

former glory in the 1990s.  At its best when the Rhododendrons are out, but

a pleasant place to stroll around at any time.  If you are only going to visit

one distillery and don’t want one of the in-depth tasting tours, the gardens

certainly tip the balance in favour of Glen Grant.

Open from April to October Mon-Sun from 9.30-5.00 and Sundays from


Contact  01340 832118







Inshriach Nursery  (near Aviemore)

Inshriach Nursery Website

A specialist nursery for Rock and Alpine plants set in a most beautiful location.

The demonstration gardens were originally laid out in the 1940s and are

gradually being renovated and extended.

They also have an excellent Tea Room – I haven’t tasted the tea yet, but the coffee is excellent and the home-made cakes are fabulous – well worth a visit in its own right even if you don’t like gardens!  There are windows all along one wall looking out into the branches of a pine forest where feeders bring masses of birds and red squirrels for you to watch.

Open daily from daily except Wednesdays from 10 to 5 pm from March to October




Inverness Floral Hall and Gardens

Inverness Floral Hall Website

Given that the area under glass is tiny compared with the national botanic gardens, this is a fabulous place - a real paradise.  The main glasshouse contains a wide range of subtropical plants with a large display of interesting potted plants.  The use of space is wonderful with very naturalistic planting.  There's a pool with an amazing colour range of Koi carp - usually fed around 11am and 3pm, but they come up to the edge of the pool whenever you approach.  Apparently there also used to be a range of vivariums that housed a small range of exotic insects and reptiles, but no longer.  The neighbouring cactus house shows a beautifully tended, award winning range of succulents from all over the world with many of the specimens provided and maintained by experts from the Inverness Cactus & Succulent Society.  The outdoor gardens are again relatively small, but beautifully laid out and maintained - again a wonderful use of space and lots of colour even in October with Acers, Parottia, Dogwoods and Gentian.

Almost all areas of the Floral Hall and Gardens are accessible to persons with

disabilities. A wheel chair is available on request from Reception.

Coffee shop with displays of paintings by local artists.

Opening times (last admission 30 minutes before closing)

Easter - October: daily 10.00-5.00

Nov-March: 10.00-4.00

Closed two weeks at Christmas and New Year

Best to check all entry times before going – contact 01463 713553


The following website contains information about Inverness

Undiscovered Scotland Webpage for Inverness




Auchindoune Garden  (on the Cawdor Castle Estate near Nairn)

Cawdor Castle Webpage for Auchindoune

In the first quarter of the 20th century, Lord Cawdor travelled to Tibet

and brought back a collection of rare plants which he planted in the

garden of the Castle’s Dower House at Auchendoune – “safe, he rightly

concluded, from the potentially fatal ministrations of the Cawdor Castle

head gardener nicknamed Death Ray“.  Restoration of the Tibetan

garden has been ongoing since the 1980s.  Also a kitchen garden and


The Auchindoune Garden is open with an honesty box, £3

recommended per person, on Tuesdays and Thursdays in May, June,

July and August from 10am - 4.30pm and at other times by

appointment by telephoning Cawdor Castle on 01667 404401.

Guided tours can also be arranged by appointment.



Abriachan Nursery  (Loch Ness)

Abriachan Website

The whole site lies on a steep, south facing hillside with fantastic views

over Loch Ness and down the Great Glen.  Planting of a fairly large

demonstration garden began in 1984, but it has been well integrated

with the native woodland and has a wonderfully mature feel to it.

Open Feb-Nov daily from 9.00 to 7.00 (or dusk if earlier)

Open under Scotland’s Garden Scheme, a donation being made from

the entrance charge to local, National Trust and nursing charities.

Access is from the extremely busy A82 that runs down the west side

of Loch Ness – stay alert or you will miss the signs to the car park.




Blackhills (near Elgin)

Blackhills Website

Sixty acres of very informal garden in a couple of steep sided, sheltered

valleys with about 360 different species of Rhododendrons.  Planting

was started by a retired tea planter at the beginning of the 20th

century with about half of the species being introduced between 1920

and 1935 and planting continuing to this day to supplement the

abundant natural regeneration.  The sheer number of mature plants

creates an astonishing mass of colour, and the reflections in the lake

intensify the experience.

The Garden is usually open to the public for a couple of Sundays in May,

when the floral display is at its best, with all proceeds going to charity.

Although the gardens are private, the website states that they are

usually happy to allow individuals and groups to visit by appointment.




Carestown Steading  (near Cullen)

Gardens of Scotland Webpage for Carestown

If you are in the area on the one day a year that it’s open, this is worth

seeing even if you do have to share it with hundreds of others.  The

passion of the owner is there for all to see from the intimate courtyard

garden with its clipped box hedges to the imaginative landscaping of

the surrounding fields.

Open Sunday 14th June 2009 under Scotland’s Garden Scheme




Pitmedden (between Inverurie and Ellon)

wwwNational Trust Webpage for Pitmedden

Historic Scotland Garden Heritage Webpage for Pitmedden

The heart of the property is the formal walled garden originally laid

out in 1675 and restored by the National Trust following the original

designs.  It features over five miles of box hedging arranged in

intricate patterns to form six parterres, each filled with about 40,000

plants bursting with colour in the summer months.  Extensive

herbaceous borders provide an abundance of colour and texture

throughout the season and the spectacular lupin border is not to be

missed. Honeysuckle, jasmine and roses create a succession of

fragrances, while fountains, topiary, sundials, and a fascinating herb

garden add to the sense of discovery around the walled garden.

The adjacent Museum of Farming Life boasts an extensive collection

of domestic and agricultural artefacts of a bygone era. For the more

adventurous, the woodland walk extends for a mile and a half round

the estate and takes in ponds, rhododendrons, a lime kiln and a

nature hut with information about the wider estate.

Picnic area - shop – tea room – plant sales

Open daily from May to October from daily 10.00 to 5.30

(last admission 5pm)



Tillypronie   (between Strathdon and Ballater)

Gardens Of Scotland Webpage for Tillypronie

A private garden open under the Scotland’s Garden Scheme.

Tillypronie is a beautiful Victorian house on a steepish, south facing

hillside with absolutely magnificent views.  From the house you look

down over a couple of terraces and huge beds of heather,  mature

Acers,  Azaleas and other shrubs to a huge sloping lawn backed by

mature trees.  The lawn is quite fantastic with its sweeping, crisply

cut edges.  There are also a waterside garden and pond , a very

interesting collection of mature conifers, a small rock garden and a

lovely parterre with roses and box hedging and some huge, deep

purple Buddlia growing against the wall of the house.  It is the use

of space that makes this such a wonderful garden.

Historic Scotland Garden Heritage Webpage for Tillypronie

If you are visiting the garden, it’s also worth having a look at

Migvie Kirk, which lies within the Tillypronie Estate.

Undiscovered Scotland Webpage for Migvie Kirk

Open on Sunday 2nd June and Sunday 30th August and at other times

by arrangement - contact details on thewebsite




Kildrummy Castle Gardens  (west of Alford)

Kildrummy Castle Gardens Website

Historic Scotland Garden Heritage Webpage for Kildrummy Castle Gardens

A stunning garden created in an old quarry and ravine below the

ruins of Kildrummy Castle.  The burn was dammed in 1904 to make

a series of large pools and cascades.  This is really a must see garden,

but even if you don’t have much time to spend, you can have a free

look down into the garden from the bridge that crosses the ravine.

  The Skunk Cabbage planted all around the large pool is quite

dramatic, and there’s a good sized Embothrium growing up the side

of the bridge.

Open April – October




Duthie Park  (Aberdeen)

Scottish Recipes Webpage for Duthie Park

Historic Scotland Garden Heritage Webpage for Duthie Park

The main attraction is the David Welch Winter Gardens, apparently

one of Europe’s largest indoor gardens and Scotland’s third most

visited gardens with many rare and exotic plants on show from all

around the world - Temperate House, Corridor of Perfumes, Fern

House, Victorian Corridor, Japanese Garden, Tropical House and

Arid House, which has one of the largest collections of Cacti and

Succulents in Britain.

Aberdeen is renowned as a floral city, winning the Britain in Bloom

ten times despite being barred from entering for long periods to give

other cities a chance – also won the International Cities in Bloom

competition in 2006.


Winter Gardens open daily (apart from Christmas and New Year’s

Days) from 9.30 until 6.30pm in summer and 3.30pm in winter

No entry free but donations welcome



Cruickshank Botanic Gardens  (Aberdeen)

Aberdeen University Webpage for Cruickshank Gardens

Eleven acres of garden owned jointly by the University of Aberdeen and the Cruickshank Botanic Gardens Trust and used for both teaching and research purposes.  Over 2,500 different species and cultivars from over 450 different genera and over 150 different plant families.  This is a very relaxing garden to walk around and escape from the hectic pace of the city all around it.

Opening Times

Monday-Thursday: 9 am to 4.30 pm

Friday: 9 am to 3.30 pm

Saturday -Sunday: May to September only from 2 - 5 pm





The following gardens are nowhere near Glenlivet, but they are well worth visiting if you want to break your journey on the way north


Binny Plants 

Binny Plants Website

An astonishing collection of plants.  When Billy Carruthers takes an interest in something, he's really enthusiastic and really goes to town - just look at the range of Paeonies on offer.

If you are crossing the Forth Bridge from the south, it's about 15 minutes off to the west.



Monteviot Gardens

Monteviot House Website

Literally just as few minutes off the A68 near Kelso.  Apart from its stunning location overlooking a bend in the River Teviot, the attraction of this beautiful garden is the combination of established areas and active development of new areas.

Open from April to October from 12 noon to 5 pm (last entry 4 pm)



Branklyn Garden

Branklyn Garden Website

Historic Scotland Garden Heritage Webpage for Branklyn

Actually In Perth on the north side of the River Tay between the Friarton Bridge and the next bridge upriver.  Owned by the National Trust for Scotland.  A mature garden absolutely packed with unusual plants.

Open daily from April to October from 10 am to 5 pm






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