Scotland’s Garden Route: The Gardens of Dumfries & Galloway

Staying at Stranraer and the North West Castle Hotel

5 DAYS | 19th April 2022

This year we tour Dumfries and Galloway, home to some of Britain’s most beautiful gardens and Scotland’s famous Garden Route. Thanks to the Gulf Stream, Scotland’s southwest corner is warmer than you might expect and the gardens in the area take full advantage of this as Spring explodes with horticultural colour. During our tour we visit Culzean Castle, Threave Garden, Logan’s Botanical Gardens, Castle Kennedy Gardens, and Glenwhan Gardens, there is something new for even the most experienced enthusiast.

Our home for our stay is Stranraer and the North West Castle Hotel. Stranraer has a long history as a ferry port and the town is situated at the head of Loch Ryan. The beautiful town centre is dominated by the Castle of St John, a tower house built around 1500. Many cafes with tables on the pavement line the street and there are plenty of places to take an evening stroll including the recently regenerated West Pier. The hotel is situated in the town centre and boasts leisure facilities, The Regency dining room, and the Alpine Restaurant and Grill. All of the bedrooms are traditionally furnished with en-suite bathrooms, WiFi, and courtesy tray.

We depart stopping for coffee en-route to Threave Gardens, where we will arrive in time for lunch. Created over the years by students of the Trust’s School of Heritage Gardening, it is a fine example of landscape and horticultural endeavour. Lovely at any time of year, it is particularly stunning in April as the fields of daffodils begin to emerge. (NT members free, non-members £10.50)

Today we head to Portpatrick with its pastelcoloured houses and backdrop of bay cliffs for a refreshing morning coffee. Next its to the brilliant Logan Botanical Gardens; arriving in time for lunch you will have a full afternoon to explore all the wonders on offer. The avenues and borders feature a spectacular array of half-hardy perennials, from as far flung as Australia and Southern Africa. Visit the elegant Victorian-style Conservatory, or explore the Walled Garden and fish pond. Then why not drop into Logan’s Discovery Centre to learn more about the gardens’ intriguing history.

Our first adventure today is to the Castle Kennedy Gardens, one of Scotland’s most important historical landscaped gardens. There are 75 acres of sculptured areas to explore with rhododendrons, azaleas and daffodils in abundance, and why not make a stop for lunch in the delightful Tearoom? For the afternoon we head to Glenwhan Gardens; with its unique and stunning sea views across to the Isle of Man, the warmer climate nurtures tender plants from around the Southern Hemisphere, together with large collections of rare trees and shrubs.

Today we traverse the lands of Robert Burns as we take the route north up the west coast. With views over the sea to Ailsa Craig and the Isle of Arran, Robert Adams’ cliff top masterpiece Culzean Castle awaits. This glorious estate was once the playground of David Kennedy, 10th Earl of Cassillis, and is opulent to the extreme; the park is planted with Conifers and Beech, sculpted around miles of sandy coastline dotted with caves, and finished off with a Swan Pond, an ice house, flamboyant formal gardens and fruit-filled glasshouses. (NT members free; non-members £12.50). After lunch we make our way back to the hotel for a little leisure time before dinner.

Before we head for home we journey to Kirkcudbright for a coffee and a short wander around this picturesque fishing town; known as ‘The Artists’ Town’, behind the harbour the streets have housed generations of creatives, a tradition continued today by a flourishing colony of painters and craftworkers. Enjoy free time for a stroll around this quaint little town and soak up the last of the Scottish air. Making our lunch stop at Houghton Hall Garden Centre there is one last chance to satisfy any remaining horticultural purchasing needs at this fantastic store. Then sit back and relax as we head south, aiming to arrive home early evening.

Tour includes: 4 nights dinner, bed and full Scottish breakfast; entrance to Logan Botanical Gardens, Castle Kennedy Gardens and Glenwhan Gardens.

£468.00 per person sharing twin/double
NIL single room supplement (limited)
£80.00 double for sole occupancy
£40.00 Supplement per person Loch View Room Doubles/Twins
£35.50 insurance per person, inc. IPT
£23.00 Non-National Trust Members

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