For those who love their gardens and want their fix of flowers and greenery on holiday, why not plan your trip away around some of Scotland’s most impressive gardens?

IF YOUR idea of the perfect staycation or day out involves strolling around beautiful gardens picking up hints and tips for your own outdoor oasis at home, then Scotland never disappoints.

This year, enthusiasts can visit over 500 gardens across the country as part of charity Scotland’s Gardens Scheme – and for those who just can’t get enough of gardens, there really is no better way to spend a few days.

If you’re planning to do some island-hopping this summer then there are 19 gardens on nine islands to choose from – here are some of our favourites:


A one-acre sloping garden with stunning views over East Loch Roag, it has evolved along with the shelter hedges that divide the garden into a number of areas giving a new view at every corner. With shelter and raised beds, the different conditions created permit a wide variety of plants to be grown. Features include herbaceous borders, cutting borders, bog gardens, grass garden, exposed beds, patios, a pond, and vegetables and fruit grown both in the open ground and the Keder greenhouse. Some of the vegetables are grown to show standards.

Upper Carloway, Isle of Lewis HS2 9AQ. Open until September 30 (not Sundays), 10am-6pm. Admission £4, children free.

This is a two-acre site on the east coast of Lewis, comprising mostly native trees and wildflowers. It incorporates all the trees associated with the medieval Celtic ogham. The Back Burn meanders through the woods along a short walk. Visitors will find tranquillity and are encouraged to bring a picnic – and stay as long as they wish. Suggestions on improving the woodland are always welcome. The Woodland Garden is a 20-minute drive from Stornoway on the B895 to Tolsta and its beaches. Turn left in the village of Back, just past the Free Church. It is also on the Stornoway-Back bus route.

Pabbay House, 23 Back, Isle of Lewis HS2 0LQ. Open until August (not Saturdays and Sundays), 2pm-5pm. Admission £4, children free.

Country Lifestyle Scotland: Left: Paabay House Garden Right: Highlands GardenLeft: Paabay House Garden Right: Highlands Garden


This garden is in two parts with upper garden mostly a rockery with a large selection of plants, shallow pond, seating area, polycrub, and greenhouse with fruit and vegetables. The lower garden, meanwhile, is on a steep slope with a spectacular sea view over the village of Scalloway. There is a path to lead visitors around and the garden features a large collection of plants, a vegetable patch, deep pond, and pergola. It was awarded a Shetland Environmental Award in 2014 for its strong theme of recycling. The owner also has an art studio which you are most welcome to visit when you view the garden. Dogs are not allowed.

East Voe, Scalloway, Shetland ZE1 0UR. Open by arrangement. Admission £3.50, children free.

Country Lifestyle Scotland: The Quoy of HoutonThe Quoy of Houton


Old Granary Quoy is a newly-planted and designed garden, adjacent to The Quoy of Houton, with fabulous views over Scapa Flow, ponds, and a water garden. It is home to Orkney perennial geraniums and an extensive range of plants suitable for this exposed coastal location. The lantern greenhouse is a new acquisition featuring an indoor peach tree. Caroline Critchlow has designed award-winning gardens and is the resident gardening guru on BBC Radio Orkney. Meanwhile, The Quoy of Houton is by Colleen Batey is an unusual, historic walled panoramic garden with 60 feet rill which leads the eye to the spectacular coastal views of Scapa Flow. Carefully panted to withstand winds in excess of 60mph, it offers plenty of floral interest from March to September. It won the Gardeners’ World Britain’s Best Challenging Garden 2017 and is listed in the top 10 UK coastal gardens.

The Quoy of Houton, Orphir, Orkney KW17 2RD. Open on July 17, 10am-4pm. Admission £4, children free.



This unique garden is at the centre of a biodynamic farm on the Isle of Lismore in the Inner Hebrides, about two miles from the Port Appin ferry, and is a haven for wildflowers, birds, bees, and butterflies. It has a vegetable garden, tree nursery, physic garden, orchard, and polytunnel. Visitors can purchase plants, seeds, fruit and vegetables, flowers, meat, and eggs for sale. No dogs please as there are lots of animals around.

Isle of Lismore, Oban, Argyll PA34 5UL. Open by arrangement. Admission £5, children free

Country Lifestyle Scotland: Photo: Armadale Castle, Gardens and MuseumPhoto: Armadale Castle, Gardens and Museum


Armadale Castle Gardens sit in a magnificent setting on the southern tip of the Isle of Skye, with sweeping views over the Sound of Sleat to the mountains of Knoydart. The estate was once the seat of the Macdonalds of Sleat and is now run by a charitable trust. Visitors can enjoy 40 acres of historic woodland gardens featuring 19th-century specimen trees and exotic shrubs. Formal lawns, tranquil ponds, and colourful herbaceous borders are set around the romantic ruins of Armadale Castle. There’s also an adventure playground and fascinating museum telling the story of the Highlands & Islands through the eyes of Clan Donald. Sadly, the café and museum are closed for 2022 due to necessary work being undertaken.

Armadale, Sleat, Isle of Skye IV45 8RS. The Gardens are open Wednesday to Sunday. Please check the website before travelling.



From castles and stately homes to small urban oases, you can visit many different types of gardens as part of Scotland’s Gardens Scheme which is celebrating its 90th anniversary in 2022. The scheme supports the opening of gardens to raise money for charity through garden gate tickets, plant sales and teas. Most are privately owned and are normally inaccessible to the public at other times. Many are open “by arrangement” so check the website for full details.