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Drummond Castle Gardens: One of the grandest in Scotland

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Why Should We Visit

Drummond Castle is home to one of Scotland’s oldest and grandest gardens. It sits at the foot of a rocky outcrop, watched over by Drummond Castle, which has occupied this space in one form or another since 1490.


What Drummond does better than anywhere else is deliver an element of surprise. From the approach there’s not sign of a garden, but set foot on the terrace and the designed landscape appears below, looking like a giant board game set against the dramatic backdrop of Ben Chonzie.

Story of the Garden

The garden that lies here today is a 19th century revival of its 17th century incarnation and it is one of the few formal gardens to have survived the fashion for landscaping, when all was swept away to be replaced by ponds and parkland. When Queen Victoria visited in 1842 she planted two copper beech trees and recorded in her diary: “We walked in the Garden which is really very fine, with terraces, like an old French garden.”

Significant figures who have left their mark on Drummond include Lewis Kennedy, who came to Drummond from Malmaison, where he had worked for the Empress Josephine at the height of the Napoleonic Wars, and Sir Charles Barry, architect and landscape designer who would go on to create Italian gardens at Trentham, Staffordshire and Shrubland, Suffolk.

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At the heart of the garden is the parterre, a huge and intricate design in box hedging and beech that covers a full nine acres. Spikes and domes of yew and holly act like punctuation marks between the sharp lines of the hedging and the closely-mown grass.

Within the parterre, the yellow and red blooms of Rosa ‘Top Rose’ and ‘Evelyn Fison’, which represent the Drummond heraldic colours, flower throughout summer, while the inner portion of the parterre forms a St Andrews cross in low box hedging.

Don’t Miss

At the centre of the garden is a multi-faceted sundial, carved in 1630 by master mason John Mylne. Polyhedral sundials were a feature of Scottish gardens in the 17th century and gnomons on the Drummond sundial show the time in different capital cities around the world.

The pattern of wavy lines of black and white pebbles around the base of the sundial is taken from the Drummond coat of arms. The criss cross pattern within the box hedges refers to the Willoughby coat of arms and coronets of box complete a trio of heraldic devices.

Anything Else To Look Out For

Beyond the wall at the far side of the garden is a kitchen garden and a range of greenhouses where peaches grow under glass, while the wider estate is a mixture of parkland and mature, broadleaf trees. A horseshoe-shaped lake within the formal garden flows under a bridge and takes on a natural shape within the wilder area beyond.

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Best Time To Visit

The gardens are are at their brightest when the roses and other perennials are in flower. In autumn, the trees in the garden and across the Perthshire countryside that surrounds it add dramatic tones as they take on their seasonal colours.

Any Recommendations In The Area?

Close to the village of Braco are the remains of Ardoch Roman Camp, said to be one of the most complete Roman camps in Britain, with deep earthworks and the foundations of a watch tower. In 1671 a hoard of silver Roman coins were discovered near the site.


The entrance to Drummond Castle is on the A822 500m, north of the village of Muthill.


Open: Daily until 31 October from 11am – 5pm. £10/£4 Tel: 01764 681433


Scone Palace is one of Scotland’s great estates. It sits at the very heart of the country and its extensive grounds include gardens, woodland and the Murray Star Maze, a leafy labyrinth inspired by the tartan of the Earls of Mansfield, owners of this historic Palace.

On Friday, 3 June and Saturday, 4 June, Scone will be holdings its first ever Garden Fair, when specialist nurseries will be selling a wide selection of beautiful plants. Tickets are £11.50 for an adult.

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There will be talks and workshops too, some involving Brian Cunningham, head gardener at Scone and a regular presenter on BBC Scotland’s The Beechgrove Gardener. The event will also include food stalls and afternoon and and there will be competitions and family activities too.

The Fair will also give visitors the chance to explore the gardens and the many heritage trees including a Douglas Fir, raised from the first ever seed sent home by plant hunter, David Douglas, who was born at Scone. The tree is part of a Pinetum of rare conifers. There is a walled garden too and a kitchen garden where produce is grown for the estate cafe.

Scone Palace

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In Association With Discover Scottish Gardens. See www.discoverscottishgardens.org.

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