Drumlanrig Castle
Drumlanrig Castle

Gardens of Dumfries and Galloway

4 days From £575

18 August 2019

In the south-western corner of Scotland, Dumfries and Galloway are home to some of the country’s most attractive gardens and artists. The artistic highlight of our tour is undoubtedly Dumfries House in Ayrshire, whose future has been secured with the support of Prince Charles. One of the Adam brothers’ finest achievements, the stunning interiors showcase a unique collection of Chippendale furniture, while the walled garden is one of the most exciting in Scotland.

We see something rather different at Broughton House – an artist’s garden at the restored former home of ‘Glasgow Boy’ EA Hornel. The garden which runs down to the estuary of the Dee also shows the influence of his time in Japan and is always full of colour. Further highlights include Drumlanrig Castle, with its extensive gardens and world-class collection of fine art and furniture. This was one of the first and most important renaissance buildings in the grand manner built in Scotland. A hidden gem nestled in a bowl of rolling hills in the heart of Dumfries and Galloway, Crawick Multiverse is another interesting stop – with their unique combinations of natural features and artificial landscaping.

What's included?

  •  Accommodation
  •  Services of a professional tour manager
  •  Comfortable coach travel throughout
  •  Meals - as per the itinerary

Led by...

Colin Crosbie

Colin Crosbie

Former curator of RHS Garden Wisley and one of our most popular guides, Colin has led tours to a wide variety of destinations. He is particularly looking forward to identifying the vast range of plants to be found on this tour!

Book Now £575 Deposit: £100 Single supplement: £120

Tour highlights:

  • Stunning interiors and a wonderful walled garden at Dumfries House
  • One of Charles Jencks’ distinctive landscapes
  • Plants from around the world in the lush surroundings of Logan Botanic Gardens
  • The tranquil pond at the heart of Glenwhan Gardens
  • The treasure trove of fine art that is Drumlanrig Castle

Tour details

Dates 18 August 2019 - 21 August 2019
Duration 4 days
Cost £575 Deposit: £100 Single supplement: £120 Balance due by 26 May 2019
Activity Level Moderate
Tour code BWGDG19B

Departure Points

Location Depart Return
Aberdeen 0600 2030
Dundee 0730 1900
Perth 0800 1830
Kinross 0845 1815
Dunfermline 0900 1800
Edinburgh 0915 1745
Glasgow 1030 1430

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.

Please note there is a lot of walking involved and some gardens have steep slopes and paths that can be slippery when wet. Appropriate footwear and clothing are essential. This tour is not suitable for anyone with mobility issues.

Book Now or call 01334 657155 if you have any questions

18 August 2019: Itinerary

We depart from your local pick-up point and head for Dumfries House, near Cumnock in Ayrshire. Its stunning interiors are home to a world-class collection of furniture by Thomas Chippendale and many late 18th Century cabinet makers, which recently featured on BBC’s Antiques Roadshow. We are able to make the most of those interiors on our grand tour of the house, followed by tea and shortbread. We will also visit the Queen Elizabeth Walled Garden, which is one of the best examples of its kind in Scotland and in many ways the flagship of the restoration project. You may also wish to venture into the intriguing yew hedge maze and see if you can reach the Japanese pagoda at its centre – and then find your way out again!

After our visit, we will travel to our accommodation at the 4* Woodland House Hotel, where dinner is served this evening.

Meals include: Dinner

Hotel: Woodland House Hotel, Dumfries

Today after breakfast we visit Glenwhan Gardens, spread out over a windy hilltop with marvellous views of Luce Bay and the Mull of Galloway. Since 1979 a very large, interesting and individual garden has been created that is filled with good plants. At its heart is an extensive pool, divided by a grassy causeway and fed by a tumbling stream. The slopes above are lavishly planted with trees and shrubs – almost any gardener will find something unfamiliar here.

This afternoon we continue on to our next destination: the world-famous Logan Botanic Gardens at Port Logan. Port Logan lies in the Mull of Galloway, which juts out into the sea in the extreme south-west of Scotland. The garden was started by the McDougall family who lived here for 800 years, and since 1969 it has been in the care of the Royal Botanic Garden at Edinburgh. Logan Botanic Garden is beautifully laid out, particularly in the walled garden with its fine terraces and well-planned borders under an avenue of cabbage palms. The climate here is exceptionally mild and several different habitats provide conditions for a huge range of plants.

Next door are the gardens of Logan House, which were originally part of Logan Botanic Garden. This Victorian woodland garden features champion trees, sweeping lawns and ancient shrubberies, meandering pathways and a majestic monkey puzzle avenue. It also features seven United Kingdom and fourteen Scottish champion trees. Opened to the public in 2002 Logan House has benefited from a programme of replanting and renovation and the results have been very successful.

NB: as the gardens at Logan House are at their best in the early summer, on our August and September departures we will instead visit Cally Gardens at Gatehouse of Fleet after Logan Botanic Gardens. With over 4,000 perennials, the borders at Cally are not only stock beds and trial grounds for the nursery, but a magnificent display for visitors. There is plenty of interest throughout the year, with Geranium in midsummer and Agapanthus, Kniphofia and Crocosmia in late summer and autumn. The nursery has established plantings of several thousand varieties, and you can choose from a selection of several hundred in the sales area.

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

Meals include: Breakfast, Dinner

Hotel: Woodland House Hotel, Dumfries

This morning after breakfast we visit Broughton House, a fascinating 18th Century house and garden which was home to E A Hornel from 1901 until his death in 1933. During his lifetime he had twice lived in Japan and his experience there influenced many of his paintings. The garden which runs down to the estuary of the Dee also shows the influence of his time in Japan and is always full of colour.

After our visit to Broughton, we spend some more time in Kirkcudbright, a haven for artists, as paid testament to by its abundance of art galleries. We visit one such gallery and browse the work of local artists before stopping for a well-deserved lunch (not included).

Following this we visit the wonderful plantsman’s nursery of Ellenbank. This wonderful nursery is full of cottage garden perennials such as violas, clematis and penstemons.

Our last visit of the day will be to the gardens of the Threave Estate. The gardens have been largely created by students at the School of Horticulture which started here in 1960. Mature woodland of beech, conifers and oaks form the background to a large collection of shrub roses, sweeping mixed borders, dwarf heathers, peat and rock gardens, a walled kitchen garden and superbly maintained glasshouses.

Finally, we return to our hotel in time for dinner.

Meals include: Breakfast, Dinner

Hotel: Woodland House Hotel, Dumfries

This morning we check out of our hotel and visit the gardens at Drumlanrig Castle. Surrounded by the 120,000 acre Queensberry Estate, Country Park and grand Victorian gardens, Drumlanrig Castle was completed in 1691 by William Douglas, 1st Duke of Queensberry and is one of the first and most important Renaissance buildings in the grand manner in Scotland. Drumlanrig hit the headlines in 2003 following the audacious theft of the Leonardo da Vinci painting ‘Madonna with the Yarnwinder’ and it was as a consequence of this that formal guided tours of the castle were introduced.

Our final visit is to the Crawick Multiverse, a hidden gem nested in a bowl of rolling hills in the heart of Dumfries and Galloway. This major new land restoration project on the Duke of Buccleuch’s Queensberry Estate has transformed a former open cast coal mine into a spectacular artland and public amenity and was designed by Charles Jencks, the celebrated landscape architect and author. The ecology of the site, and the materials found within it, inspired its design which is based around space, astronomy and cosmology. Following our visit we return to our original departure points.

Meals include: Breakfast

18 August 2019: Additional Info

18 August 2019: Accommodation

Woodland House hotel is a grade B listed Georgian mansion on the edge of the market town of Dumfries. Set amongst a secluded rural landscape the family-run hotel offers free private on-site parking.

Guests are greeted on arrival by a period fireplace in the large hallway and can enjoy the warm log fires in the bar and dining room.

Bedrooms at the hotel are spacious and fitted with bespoke hardwood furniture. The en suite tiled bathrooms are large in size and contemporary in design.

18 August 2019: Enquiries

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8 June 2019

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Led by Colin Crosbie

4 day tour, from £575

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11 September 2019

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