Arran: ‘Scotland in miniature’
1 July 2013, 5 days from £385pp (was £435pp)
Scenic Scottish Railways
12 July 2013, 4 days from £335pp (was 385pp)
A Taste of Orkney
12 July 2013, 4 days from £375pp (was £425pp)
The Isle of Barra
17 August 2013, 4 days from £385pp (was £425pp)
Scotland’s Royal Castles
24 June 2013, 4 days from £299pp (was £355pp)
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The rich, fertile soil of Angus provides an ideal environment for gardening, so it’s no surprise that within this historic county in North-East Scotland there are a host of wonderful gardens to be enjoyed.
The House of Pitmuies, with its lavishly-planted herbaceous borders, gets our tour under way and we see two grand gardens at Brechin Castle, notable for its uniquely curving walls, and Glamis Castle, which was the childhood home of the late Queen Mother.
Further highlights include the splendid garden at Dunninald, which has a beech avenue planted around 1670; the semi-formal walled garden at Newtonmill House, and Gallery at Montrose, a historic garden with a traditional framework of holly, privet and box.
Our hotel: we are based at the Park Hotel, Montrose, located in a quiet part of the town yet only a few minutes’ walk from the busy high street, the beach and the Montrose Links golf course, the fifth oldest in the world.
Available departure dates and prices
We depart from our local pick-ups this morning and head for our first visit, the garden at Pitmuies House, near Forfar. The flower garden is situated behind the house, where in an old walled garden, lavishly planted borders are planned to maintain their flowering interest over a very long season. Colour schemes are fastidiously chosen here - a double border, for example, seen from the drawing room has a scheme of blue, cream, white and yellow to go with the colours of the room. Beyond the walled gardens a riverside walk leads past a castellated dovecote through an old woodland of marvellous beeches and oaks under-planted with ornamental shrubs – look out for the beautiful Acer griseum.
We then continue to our accommodation at the Park Hotel, Montrose, where dinner will be served in the evening.
After breakfast we visit the walled gardens at Logie House, a herbalists's garden set amid an 18th century walled garden and large Victorian greenhouse within Logie's organic farm. Featuring more than 150 herbs, the physic garden is divided into eight rectangles including medicinal herbs for different body systems. All the herbs are labelled with a brief description of actions to help novices learn more about this ancient art. The garden also features a herbaceous border and a productive fruit and vegetable garden.
We continue to the gardens of Glamis Castle, to the north of Dundee, which has been the ancestral home of the Earls of Strathmore for over 600 years and was the childhood home of the late Queen Elizabeth, the Queen Mother. Glamis is a living, breathing monument to Scottish hospitality; a place of enjoyment, reflection, laughter and wonder for all. The castle has witnessed more than 600 years of history and we will take great delight in learning the many stories, secrets and intriguing tales that surround it.
In the afternoon we call at the private garden of Kirkside of Lochty, near Brechin, which contains a large collection of plants, several of them rare and unusual, as well as many different varieties of ferns. It is approached by a strip of woodland and expands into various compartments in an overall area of two acres, part of which is cultivated as a flowering meadow.
Dinner is served in the evening back at our hotel.
After breakfast we visit the private gardens of Newtonmill House, which looks over and into the
semi-formal walled garden. The entrance to the garden is through a wrought iron gate that reflects the mill wheel from which Newtonmill derives its name. The central pathway is flagged by herbaceous borders, sheltered by a fine prunus pissardi hedge. The garden is divided into four squares of vegetables, fruit, a spring garden and croquet lawn with summer house. Through the rose arch at the south end of the garden are peony and shrub rose beds, a small pond area and doocot. Adjacent to the house is a rose-garlanded terrace and raised beds.
Nearby are the gardens at Brechin Castle, where the uniquely curving walls of the garden are just the first of many delightful surprises in store. There is a luxurious blend of ancient and modern plantings and we find charm and splendour in the wide gravelled walks, secluded small paths and corners. In early June the rhododendrons and azaleas should still be in flower, with complementary under-planting and a framework of great and beautiful trees to set the collection in the landscape.
We conclude today with a visit to the garden at Gallery, Montrose. This historic garden has been redesigned and replanted to preserve the traditional framework of holly, privet and box. There is a grassed central alley, embellished with circles and links, and themed gardens including a fine collection of old roses and yellow and blue floral borders. A walk through the woodland garden, bordered with mixed heathers leads to the River North Esk.
Dinner is served in the evening.
Following breakfast we check out of the hotel and round off our tour with visits to two private gardens in Montrose, beginning with Straton House, a significant merchant’s town house of the 18th century, situated in the heart of Montrose. The secret garden is accessed through a canopy of woodland trees, leading to a paved courtyard and the red brick Georgian house. It has featured in a glossy publication and won a national garden competition in 2012. Off the courtyard are more formal gardens and wooded areas on different levels surrounding the house, all with an element of surprise. The shrubs and trees encourage a variety of bird life.
We continue to Dunninald, a family home built in 1824, set in policies developed during the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. It offers many attractive features including a beech avenue planted around 1670. The highlight of Dunninald is the walled garden planted with traditional mixed borders, vegetables, soft fruits, fruit trees and a greenhouse.
Following this we continue our homeward journey and expect to arrive back at our original departure point in the early evening.
Included in the price
Not included (per person)
Departure points and times:
|Glasgow (Millennium Hotel, George Sq)||1000||1830|
|Edinburgh (Marriott Hotel, Glasgow Rd)||1115||1715|
|Dunfermline (Fife College)||1145||1645|
|Kinross (Moto Services, M90)||1200||1615|
|Perth (Canal St)||1215||1600|
|Dundee (Discovery Point)||1245||1530|
Please note pick-up points are subject to minimum numbers and all timings are approximate and may be changed. They will be confirmed when the joining instructions are sent out, approximately ten days prior to departure.
Overnight accommodation can be arranged before or after the tour – please contact us for more details.
The same 3-night package including flights from London (and other airports on request) to Edinburgh is available from £495 per person. The single room supplement of £75.00 applies.
The staff at our hotel on Islay were young and keen, very pleasant and helpful indeed.Mr and Mrs Turner
Pauline our Tour Manager was a wee star, her personality and knowledge make the Highlands come alive.Mrs Wilson
Jimmy the driver was impeccable and fun - his driving skills gave us great confidence on the narrow roads through Royal Deeside.Bob Guthrie, Broughty Ferry