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Garden of the Season – Drumlanrig Castle Gardens

March 28th 2022

Why Should We Visit

Drumlanrig Castle Gardens extend for 40 acres around one of Scotland’s great houses and the space is divided into many separate areas that offer interest throughout the seasons. The house is approached down a long driveway and the sight of the castle, with its cupola domes, does not disappoint. The castle sits amongst the rolling countryside of Dumfries and Galloway and the woodlands are filled with wild flowers that will bloom until the canopy above them closes over, while in spring the formal gardens are just coming to life.

Story of the Garden

The Castle, which is owned by the Duke and Duchess of Buccleuch, has 17 turrets, four towers and 120 rooms. Its walls are lined with exceptional artwork by Rembrandt, Gainsborough and the Dutch masters. The castle was established in the 17th century on 14th century foundations and the gardens have been altered and extended in keeping with the fashions of different eras. Today there is a cafe, a ranger service and walks throughout the estate where visitors can enjoy the extensive tree collection and the local wildlife.


The formal gardens are laid out in large parterres, each an acre in size. The  West Parterre is a rose garden in the Victorian style, with a mix of traditional and contemporary varieties of roses such as the strong scented Duchesse de Buccleuche (corr),William Lobb, Felicia and Penelope. The East Parterre was restored in 1978 by Jane, Duchess of Buccleuch, and follows a 1738 scroll pattern design from the Castle archives. Simplified in detail, the garden is made up of Ilex Crenata, juniper, yew and cypress.

The original Victorian greenhouses have been restored and a more recent architectural feature is a striking arch created by internationally-renowned artist, Andy Goldsworthy.

Don’t Miss

The Duchess’ Garden sparkles in spring with 600 tulips and alliums. The plants that grow here include established shrubs, herbaceous perennials, fruit trees and herbs. Climbing roses are trained along the walls along with Actinidia kolomikta and heavily scented mock oranges fill the garden with perfume. The paths are lined with yew trees that date back to the 17th century.



Anything Else To Look Out For

For many years a Victorian rock garden lay hidden under scrub, but now it has been restored and replanted with alpines and bulbs. Across the Marr Burn a gorge is all that remains of an 18th century cascade. The Bog Garden, which was created in 2005 is filled with hostas, giant gunnera and colourful primulas.

Best Time To Visit

Across this 90,000 acre estate there is always something to be enjoyed, whatever the season. There are winter plantings; bulbs, rhododendrons and bluebells in spring; summer perennials, an abundance of roses, and trees that in autumn flame with colour.

Any Recommendations in the Area

The skies in Dumfries and Galloway are filled with Red Kites and visitors can see these magnificent birds close up at Bellymack Hill Farm feeding station near Castle Douglas. Red Kites almost disappeared from the UK in the early 20th century, but were re-introduced to south west Scotland in 1996 and now flourish here.


Drumlanrig sits three miles north of Thornhill on the A76.


Open daily - 11am - 4pm


Tel: 01848 331 555

Courtesy of The Herald