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


Reviewed Jan-Feb 2018

Please e-mail us with any comments, reports on broken links, suggestions or questions

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.



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.  Click on the link to view these.

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)                                                                    0.30   TA

Undiscovered Scotland Webpage for Glen Grant Gardens

Bing Images of Glen Grant 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 9.30-5.00

Contact  01340 832118




Inverness Botanic Gardens                                                    1.23   TA

Highland Council Webpage for the Botanic Gardens

Bing Images of the Botanic Gardens

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.

Coffee shop with displays of paintings by local artists.

Opening times (last admission 30 minutes before closing)

Daily: 10.00-4.00

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)    1.00

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)                                                          1.29   TA

Abriachan Website

Bing Images of Abriachan

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)

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.

01463 861 232



Blackhills (near Elgin)                                                                                0.44

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.




Gordon Castle Walled Garden (Fochabers)                                   0.45   TA

Gordon Castle Website

Bing Images for Gordon Castle

At over 200 years old, this is one of Scotland's oldest surviving walled gardens - also one of the largest - and is being restored to its former glory by a team of gardeners.  There are lots of rare plants and espaliered trees as well as a play area and cafe.  This is a working garden that provides fresh produce for the cafe.

Their website says that the entry fee includes a short guided tour.

Open daily from 10.00 until 4.00 pm

01343 615 317



Pitmedden (between Inverurie and Ellon)                                             1.22   TA

National Trust Webpage for Pitmedden

Historic Scotland Garden Heritage Webpage for Pitmedden

Bing Images of Pitmedden Garden

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 September from 10.30 to 4.30

01651 842 352



Kildrummy Castle Gardens  (west of Alford)                         0.50   TA

Kildrummy Castle Gardens Website

Historic Scotland Garden Heritage Webpage for Kildrummy Castle Gardens

Bing Images of 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 from 12.00 to 5.00

01975 571 203



Duthie Park  (Aberdeen)                                                            1.41   TA

Bing Images of Winter Gardens

Bing Images of Duthie Park

Opening Times for The Winter Gardens

The main attraction is the David Welch Winter 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 with a large collections of Cacti and Succulents.  Always plenty of colour.

Opening Times

November to March: daily from 9.30 until 4.30 pm

April: daily from 9.30 until 5.30 pm

May to August: daily from 9.30 until 7.30 pm

September to October: daily from 9.30 until 5.30 pm

Website doesn't mention anything about closing for Christmas or New Year - best to check - 01224 585 310


Cruickshank Botanic Gardens  (Aberdeen)                           1.31   TA

Aberdeen University Webpage for Cruickshank Gardens

Bing Images of 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

April to September: daily from 9.00 until 7.00 pm

October to March: daily from 9.00 until 4.30 pm

Closed 24th December until 5th January  




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


Monteviot Gardens                                                                           TA

Monteviot House Website

Bing Images of Monteviot Gardens

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.  The House is also quite interesting with a full-size equestrian painting of Charles I by Van Dyck.

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



Branklyn Garden                                                                                                                                           TA

Branklyn Garden Website

Historic Scotland Garden Heritage Webpage for Branklyn

Bing Images of Branklyn Garden

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 until 5 pm






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