Sign up for our newsletter

View our Privacy policy


Garden of the Season – The Pineapple NTS

March 16th 2023

Why should we visit?

A touch of the exotic provides a welcome antidote to the grey, cold days of January and nowhere in Scotland is more exotic than the Pineapple, a gloriously over-the-top folly that for 250 years has flourished close to the village of Airth, near Falkirk. The giant stone fruit, which is 14m high and contains a circular room, presides over a walled garden that is a haven for wildlife and a favourite spot for picnics even during the coldest months of the year.

Story of the Garden

When John Murray, the 4th Earl of Dunmore returned home in 1776 after serving as the last colonial governor of Virginia, he marked the occasion by commissioning a stone pineapple to sit on top of the range of gardeners’ cottages and hot houses that ran the full length of his walled garden.

The pineapple was a symbol of wealth and hospitality and having one set in stone was an ostentatious flourish. It was also a work of genius on the part of the stonemasons who created it and whose skills ensured that no part of the fruit could be damaged by frost.

When the estate was sold off in 1970, the Pineapple and its surrounding gardens were bought by the Countess of Perth, who gifted it to the National Trust for Scotland.

Following restoration, the cottages within the Pineapple are now available as holiday lets through The Landmark Trust.


The walls around the garden are lined with bulbs and herbaceous plants that provide a succession of flowers from early spring. The sheltered atmosphere promotes early growth and the dried teasel heads still standing from last summer attract birds throughout the winter months.

Beyond the herbaceous borders are smooth lawns and an orchard of old apples.

Don’t Miss

Doors set into the walls allow visitors to explore the woodland that surrounds the garden. Snowdrops grow here, followed by ferns and other woodland plants that flower before the canopy overhead closes over. These woods are home to a wide range of wildlife including woodpeckers and owls.



Anything else to look out for?

The former curling pond is surrounded by wetland plants that provide shelter for invertebrates and insects. In early summer the flag irises that grow here in abundance come into flower and water forget-me-nots provide an understory of blue petals beneath the upright yellow irises.

Best Time to Visit

In May the orchard is smothered in blossom, while in summer the walls are covered in climbing roses whose scent is trapped by the high walls.

Any Recommendations in the Area

Alloa Tower is an imposing stone keep that once guarded an important crossing on the River Forth. Inside there are lavish interiors while from its rooftop there are views across nine counties.


The Pineapple is located one mile west of Airth, off the A905.


The garden is open daily.

Entrance is free.

Courtesy of The Herald