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Garden of the Season – Hill of Tarvit – NTS

December 1st 2022

Why should we visit?

The elegant lines of Hill of Tarvit Mansion are testament to the work of Robert Lorimer, Scotland’s finest architect of the Edwardian era. Lorimer transformed 17th century Wemyss Hall into a modern home for the Frost family of jute barons. But Lorimer didn’t just restyle the house, he also worked his magic on the surrounding parkland and the result is a testament to Lorimer’s eye for form and structure, as well as a haven for the wildlife that lives in the peaceful surroundings.

Story of the Garden

When Robert Lorimer began work on Hill of Tarvit, he recognised that a fine house required a suitable setting, so he planted the back of the house with a shelter belt of shrubs and trees, while in front of it he created south-facing terraces that led the eye towards the distant hills.

He set formal features closest to the house and then softened their lines as they moved further out, allowing the gardens to blend seamlessly with the landscape beyond.


The terraces drop down over several levels and the staircase that connects them is lined with topiary yew trees. To one side of the formal garden there is a sunken rose garden and in summer the borders are filled with flowers.

Eucryphia, hoheria and catalpa thrive in the micro-climate and the shrubbery on the east side of the house has a collection of Japanese maples.

Don’t Miss

Kingarrock Golf Course, which is the UK’s only dedicated hickory course, is an outstanding feature of Hill of Tarvit. It lies immediately in front of the house and has been completely refurbished in recent years. Players can book a round and experience the authentic feel of hickory clubs.

The gardens also contain a late 18th century doocot, where once pigeons would have been bred for eggs and meat.



The Rose Garden. August 2007.

Hill of Tarvit chritsmas lunch - Discover Scottish Gardens

Anything else to look out for?

HIll of Tarvit’s 113 hectares are a haven for wildlife and both pipistrelle and long-eared bats roost in its trees. Roe deer, badgers and red squirrels live on the estate and the healthy bird population includes woodpeckers, chiffchaffs, barn owls and skylarks.

Best Time to Visit

Hill of Tarvit’s south-facing position makes it an attractive prospect even in the midst of winter, when the fields in front of the house are covered with frost and there is snow on the hills. The roses and flower borders are at their best from June onwards, while the trees and shrubs that sit behind the house provide good autumn colour.

Any Recommendations in the Area

Loch Leven is one of Scotland’s most important stop-over points for migratory birds and it is also steeped in history. All kinds of ancient artefacts have been discovered in the fields around its edges and Mary Queen of Scots was famously imprisoned on one of its seven lochs. Today an all abilities track circles the entire 13 miles of the loch.


Hill of Tarvit is two miles south of Cupar, off the A916.


The gardens and grounds are open daily from dawn to dusk.

Courtesy of The Herald