A tour taking visitors around the Great Gardens of Northern Scotland is to take place this summer.
Run by George Goldsmith Exclusive Properties and Sporting Estates, the tour will take place from 14-18 July.
The four-day tour will take in some famous castles and their gardens, which will enchant those who participate.
George said: ‘In the North of Scotland, which receives some of the harshest weather in the British Isles we will explore some of its unique, varied and beautiful gardens. Many of these gardens are private and are seldom open to the public.’
The party will meet and stay overnight in the Best Western Inverness Palace Hotel on Sunday 14 July. The group will leave the hotel in Inverness at 9.30am the next day.
Day One – Monday 15 July
Old Allangrange in the Black Isle. A 17th century lime washed house is surrounded by a formal landscape which has been naturalistically planted and gardened organically for wildlife which then leads into informal areas of the garden. The garden uses formal hedges to create a strong structure and frame wonderful views. Within the garden can be found a viewing mound, vegetable garden, orchard and ice house.
The group will have morning coffee and cakes at Old Allangrange.
Dunrobin Castle. This castle has been home to the Sutherland family for over 700 years. It is the most northerly of Scotland’s great houses and in appearance resembles a French chateau. The gardens were laid out by the architect Charles Barry and were designed to resemble
those of the Palace of Verseilles. Guests will have the opportunity to purchase light meals from the Castle Buffet.
Day Two – Tuesday 16 July.
The Bighouse Lodge. Built in 1765 and a former home of the Chieftains of the Bighouse and Sandwood Chieftains of the Clan Mackay, The Bighouse Lodge sits at the mouth of the River Halladale, a well-known spate salmon river. Recently refurbished, the Lodge offers all the warmth, comfort and charm expected of a traditional Scottish Highland house. The Bighouse Lodge with its stunning location and views will be our luxury base for three nights. Bighouse Lodge has its own unique two acre walled garden consisting of a central axis leading to a charming bothy with lawn, herbaceous border, a sunken garden and four separate conceptual gardens. Each of these gardens contains a sculpture to reflect aspects of the Bighouse Estate namely the River, the Forest, the Strath and the Hill. Visitors will then have a chance to explore the wider estate.
Castle of Mey. This was the former home of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother. Here she created a garden in one of the harshest and windiest parts of the country which would be full of colour as well as producing fruit and vegetables for when she was in residency during the summer months. You can almost feel her presence as you walk through the garden. The garden has been developed sensitively under the guidance of HRH the Duke of Rothsay so that it has a longer period of interest for visitors. After the tour of the garden there will be an opportunity to visit the castle.
Day Three – Wednesday 17 July.
Dunbeath Castle. This Baronial style Scottish castle has one of the finest views over the Moray Firth. It has two walled gardens with one being very masculine and the other very feminine. The larger of the two walled gardens was originally designed by Xa Tollemache who used hedges to create shelter and colourful garden rooms. This garden grows a wide range of plants and overflows with colour.
Langwell Garden. A beautiful old walled garden with wonderful borders. The garden is surrounded by immense woodland and is located in the secluded Langwell Strath. During the 19th century the garden was used to grow fruit and vegetables for the house. In the 20th century the garden was laid out in a cruciform shape and the impressive borders planted. The fruit and vegetable growing areas were concealed behind yew hedges.
Day Four – Thursday 18 July.
The Walled Garden at Culloden House Country Hotel. This walled garden was redeveloped six years ago by Michael Innes, the former Gardens Advisor for the National Trust of Scotland, to give it a stylish new look. The group will have a light lunch at the Culloden House Hotel after a walk round the garden.
The group aim to arrive back in Inverness at 3.30pm.
Please note, Bighouse Lodge does not have a lift and there are no rooms on the ground floor.
The cost of the tour will be £1600 per person, fully inclusive and includes:
• One night’s accommodation in Inverness including breakfast.
• Three nights stay at Bighouse Lodge to include dinner, bed and breakfast and drinks.
• Lunches for three days, not included is lunch at Dunrobin Castle.
• Transport for four days
• Entry fees at all gardens and coffee and teas at most gardens, afternoon tea at the Castle of Mey is not included.
For more details visit www.georgegoldsmith.com.