Private Gardens of Caithness and Sutherland

4 Days

From £445pp

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  • Strolling down towards the sea in the terraced gardens of Dunrobin
  • The historic walled garden at Bighouse Lodge 
  • Looking round the Queen Mother’s ‘holiday home’, the Castle of Mey
  • The wild and rugged scenery of the Far North of Scotland

The stunning seascapes and wild lands of Scotland’s northernmost counties are home to a surprising number of stunning gardens.

The spectacular seascapes and wild lands of Caithness and Sutherland, right at the very top of Britain, are home to a surprising number of stunning gardens - from formal gardens that surround grand castles with heaving and colourful herbaceous borders, to small and homely gardens tucked away in neat little villages.

Travelling amongst the jagged headlands and shining white sands on the Northern coast, our visits include two gardens both protected from the wind by high walls - Bighouse Lodge by Melvich and The House of Tongue in a spectacular setting on the Kyle of Tongue. We could not go to Caithness without including a visit to The Castle of Mey, the former summer retreat of the late Queen Mother, and we also tour the fine gardens that surround the castles of Dunbeath and Dunrobin, whose turreted structure and formal gardens certainly would not look out of place in the Loire Valley.

Our hotel: we are based at the St Clair Hotel in Thurso.  All rooms have en suite facilities with TV, telephone and tea/coffee making facilities.

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Day 1

We depart from our designated pick-up points and continue to the gardens of Dunrobin Castle - the château style ancestral home of the Dukes of Sutherland.  The castle is a wonderful early 19th-century fantasy castle with a touch of the Loire and a dash of Bavaria.  Below the castle is a magnificent example of a formal nineteenth century garden. The gardens are laid out on terraces which descend to the sea.  

Following our visit we continue north by the scenic coastal road to Thurso and our accommodation at the St Clair Hotel.  Dinner will be served in the evening.

Day 2

After breakfast, we travel along the coast, past the pioneering nuclear power station at Douneray, to Bighouse Lodge. The two acre walled garden, consists of a sunken garden and four separate conceptual gardens behind the hedgerows.  Each garden contains a sculpture to reflect the aspects of the Bighouse Estate, namely the River, the Forest, the Strath and the Hill. We continue to the House of Tongue, a 17th century house located on the Kyle of Tongue with a walled garden, herbaceous borders, old fashioned roses, vegetables, soft fruit and small orchard.

We return to the hotel where dinner is served in the evening.

Day 3

This morning we visit The Castle of Mey, the former holiday home of the late Queen Mother. For over half a century she spent her summers here and created the beautiful gardens you see today. This afternoon we visit Dunbeath Castle, home to the private garden of Sir Archibald and Lady Edmonstone. The extensive gardens feature a landscaped lake, water and bog gardens, a formal garden, rhododendrons and a woodland walk. Our final visit is to the private garden of Langwell, a beautiful old walled garden with spectacular borders situated in the secluded Langwell Strath. 

Following our visit we will return to our hotel for dinner.

Day 4

This morning, after breakfast, we head south breaking up our journey at the House of Aigas, near Beauly, just west of Inverness. Around the picturesque, high Victorian country house, an arboretum and woodland walk with a sizable collection of specimen trees overlook the River Beauly. There is also an extended garden of rockeries, shrubberies and herbaceous borders. 

Following our visit we will return to our original pick-up points.

What's Included

  • 3 nights at St Clair Hotel – dinner, bed & breakfast
  • Visits to the gardens of Aigas, Bighouse Lodge, House of Tongue, Castle of Mey, Dunbeath and Dunrobin Castles
  • Services of a professional tour manager
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Please note 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.

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Departure points and times

Depart Return
(Millennium Hotel, George Square)
0700 2030
(Marriott Hotel, Glasgow Road)
0815 1915
(outside Fife College)
0845 1845
(Moto Services, M90)
0900 1815
(Bus stop on Canal Street, Tay Street end)
0915 1800
(Jury's Inn Hotel, Millburn Road)
1300 1500
Subject to minimum numbers, the following pick-up will be served by feeder coach and passengers will join the main coach in Perth:
(Outside Discovery Point)
0845 1830