Garden of the Season – Armadale Castle GardensOctober 21st 2019
Armadale Castle Gardens sit in a dramatic position on the Sleat peninsula on the Isle of Skye. Forty acres of magnificent woodland gardens surround romantic castle ruins overlooking the Sound of Sleat and mountains of Knoydart.
The castle and wider estate were once the seat of the Macdonalds of Sleat and are now run by a charity, the Clan Donald Lands Trust. The Trust took over the estate in the 1970s and set about restoring the historic gardens planted by Lord Macdonald in the 19th century, while also developing new areas of landscaping. Today visitors can enjoy the scents and colours of herbaceous borders, stroll along scenic terrace walks, and relax by tranquil lily ponds.
Specimen trees and exotic plants thrive here due to the gardens’ sheltered location and the mild climate created by the Gulf Stream. The tree collection dates to the 19th century and includes Giant Redwood, Silver Firs and Monkey Puzzles. More recent additions such as Acers, Sorbus and Birch have been planted, some in memory of loved ones.
Complementing the planting, a number of interesting sculptures are dotted throughout the grounds. These include ‘The Homecoming’, a much-loved pair of bronze Skye Terriers, and ‘Teko the Swimming Otter’ by Laurence Broderick.
Garden visitors can also explore the fascinating Museum of the Isles, which tells the story of the Highlands & Islands through the eyes of Clan Donald. There are also family activities and an adventure playground. Beyond the gardens are three nature trails through beautiful mixed woodlands, with plenty of opportunities for wildlife-spotting.
Armadale Castle Gardens is taking part in this year’s Scottish Tree Festival. Events include a tree advice session and tour on 31 October, and family activities in half term.
Telephone: 01471 844305
Opening times: 1 April – 31 Oct, daily 9.30am – 5.30pm; November & March, Mon-Fri 10 – 3pm
Admission costs: Adult £8.75, Children/senior/students £7.20, family £25