Brodick Castle Gardens, Brodick, Arran, KA27 8HY

Widely renowned as one of Scotland’s finest designed landscapes, the gardens and policies at Brodick Castle are varied and rich in history. Amidst breath-taking scenery, the 18th century parkland and woodland provide a distinctive backdrop and setting for the Castle.

The gardens consist of the Upper Walled Garden and a Woodland Garden that largely focuses on rhododendrons. The planting reflects the mild climate enjoyed on Arran thanks to the North Atlantic drift and the sheltered position of the gardens within Brodick bay.

Warm winters, high rainfall and good soil combine to produce very fertile growing conditions and, where shelter is provided from the often violent winter winds, growth rates can be quite astonishing. Trees, shrubs and herbs, originating from most temperate regions of the world – particularly China, the Himalayas, New Zealand, Tasmania and Chile – all thrive here. Many plants grown outside at Brodick need the protection of glass if grown elsewhere in Britain.

Little remained of the Victorian plantings in the 1920s when the Duchess of Montrose started to develop the woodland garden into its current format. Growing the rare and unusual and providing the conditions in which the plants could thrive became the most important focus for the garden. It is largely thanks to the vision of the Duchess that the gardens boast such a varied plant collection today.

Brodick hosts three National Collections of Rhododendron, which look at their best in April and May. It also has many rare rhododendrons, some of which were originally collected by some of the most famous Plant Hunters of the Edwardian era. George Forrest and Frank Kingdon-Ward are the collectors with the strongest links to the gardens.

A large amount of work has been undertaken in the gardens over the winter months, including in the Walled Garden and Plant Hunters walk, for visitors to come and see. The Castle and Tearoom reopened yesterday (5th April 2019).

Opening times: Until October 31, 10am-5pm daily.

See or phone 01770 302202 for admission costs.

Garden of the Week is in association with Discover Scottish Gardens. For more information, advice and day-out ideas, visit