In 1850 the 2nd Duke of Sutherland had Sir Charles Barry extend his Highland Castle into a French style chateau; Barry then turned his attention to the garden. He designed a smaller version of the vast Italianate garden he had recently completed for the Duke’s Staffordshire Estate at Trentham.
At its height, the head gardener’s domain comprised: two walled gardens including fruit and vegetables and flower borders inside and out; back-up nursery gardens and greenhouses; and beyond, extensive parkland with walks and coastal views. Although much of this has now reverted to woodland, the surviving East Walled Garden with its three parterres each surrounding a pool and fountain provides a perfect layout to view from the Castle and terrace and a fitting foreground to the panoramic view across the Moray Firth to the distant Cairngorm Mountains.
In recent years overgrown topiary features have been tamed and new ones created. Fine herbaceous borders have been restored and the parterres reinterpreted with formal plantings of perennials. A central grove of overgrown trees has been removed to make way for a formal layout of smaller trees surrounding a grass glade. A new formal garden features 20 wooden pyramids supporting flowering and fruiting climbers surrounded by a jewel-box of colourful perennials framed by stepover apple trees.
Look out for huge clumps of Gunnera, hardy Fuchsias (including F. ‘Dunrobin Bedder’ raised here in 1890) and old climbing roses. In spring, tides of Bluebells follow Snowdrops through the garden and policies. In early summer grass slopes host wild flowers attracting birds and bees. After midsummer tender exotics vie for attention amongst hardy stalwarts. From late summer bold Dahlias and Agapanthus give way to mellow autumn colours.
NEW: we are restoring an 18th century artificial stream winding between trees on the West side of the garden.
Dunrobin Castle is on the east coast of the Northern Highlands overlooking the Moray Firth, just north of the villages of Golspie and Dornoch (famous for its cathedral and Royal Dornoch Golf Club).
Dunrobin Castle is open annually from 1st April to 31st October.
How to find us
Dunrobin Castle is 50 miles North of Inverness on the A9, 1/2 mile North of Golspie. There is parking for 200 cars and 10 coaches.
- Falconry display
- Formal Victorian garden
Group Adults £9.50
Group Senior £8.50
Group Child £6.50
Group minimum of 10 people
- Herbaceous Borders & Plantings
- Woodland Gardens
- Water Gardens
- Rose Gardens
- Edible Gardens and Vegetables in Season
- Autumn Colour
- Bluebell Displays
- Walled Garden
Opening TimesMonday: 10:30-16:30 Tuesday: 10:30-16:30 Wednesday: 10:30-16:30 Thursday: 10:30-16:30 Friday: 10:30-16:30 Saturday: 10:30-16:30 Sunday: 10:30-16:30 also:
October last entry is 4pm.
May, June, July, August & September
Daily 10.00 a.m. - 5.00 p.m.
Last entry is 4.30pm
1 November - 30 April.
Admission pricesAdult: £12.50 Child: £7.50 Concession: £10.50 Family: £36.50 (2 Adults & 3 Children) Group Adult: £9.50 Group Child: £6.50
FacilitiesShop Car park Toilets Dog friendly Assistance Dogs
With the exception of Guide dogs, pets are not permitted in the formal gardens. However they are more than welcome to explore the woodlands surrounding the castle.