SCOTLAND has some of the most beautiful and cherished landscapes in the world. Each season brings a different perspective, different light and different weather. But it’s autumn, when our tree-lined hillsides and glens decorated in a blaze of golds, oranges and reds, are arguably at their most resplendent.

Trees cover around 17% of Scotland’s land and these natural giants are being celebrated once again as the Scottish Tree Festival returns for its second year, offering plenty of "leaf peeping" opportunities across the country.

Organised by Discover Scottish Gardens and supported by VisitScotland, the National Trust for Scotland, Historic Environment Scotland, the Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh, the Glorious Gardens of Argyll & Bute and a host of garden owners, nurseries and tree-related event organisers are involved.

Below are our top 10 picks from over 70 events taking place.

1 Armadale Castle Gardens, Skye

Sleat, IV45 8RS

01471 844305, 28th September to 30th November, 10am-3pm

Adult £8.75, child/concession £7.20

Armadale Castle Gardens has a magnificent tree collection dating from the 19th century, with more recent additions nurtured from exotic seeds or planted in memory of loved ones. Visitors can experience the autumn colour of acers and red oak, get close to unusual specimens such as the 'Candy Floss' tree and 'Fossil' tree and marvel at giants such as Sitka spruce and Giant Redwood. There is also a tree trail, a guided tree walk (31 October), and tree-themed family activities to do during half term.

2 Cluny House Gardens, Aberfeldy

Aberfeldy, Perthshire PH15 2JT

07818 065966, 28th September to 1st December, 10am until dusk

Adult £5, child £1

During autumn, Cluny has lots to see including many specimen deciduous and coniferous trees. The autumn tints and hues of a large variety of Japanese maples are particularly special. There are also many colourful berrying shrubs and cones of all different shapes and sizes. Visitors might even spot a red squirrel or two, often seen climbing on or feeding close to one of the Giant Sequoias.

3 Glenwhan Gardens & Arboretum, by Stranraer

Dunragit, by Stranraer DG9 8PH

01581 400222, 28th September to 1st December, 10am – 5pm

Adult £6 (guided tour £7), child £1.50, concession £4.50

Recently named one of the top 10 Best Arboretums in the UK, garden owner Tessa Knott has developed Glenwhan Gardens over four decades out of a barren moorland in a south-facing aspect. Many tender trees thrive owing to the proximity of the Gulf Stream and there are huge numbers of trees and shrubs from around the world together with many native trees. Visitors can see how well these trees have grown in the short time span, together with the evergreens and deciduous trees with their glorious autumn colours. The garden has a designated tree trail and regular guided tours.

4 Mount Stuart, Bute

Isle of Bute PA20 9LR

01700 503877, 28th September to 1st December, 10am – 6pm (4pm from 30th October), Adult £8.25, child £5

Mount Stuart’s 300-acre and 300-year-old designed landscape contains a huge variety of trees, both native and from around the world, which together present a heady mix of exotic, traditional and unusual trees. Amongst the woodland and managed gardens lie Mount Stuart’s proud champion trees – both Scottish and UK awards – measured, recognised and awarded their championship status for height and girth. Each one is an arboreal masterpiece, magnificent in form and maturity. During the festival, visitors can enjoy autumn’s unfolding colour palette of these wonderful trees in celebration of the season’s richness and diversity.

5 Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh, Edinburgh

Arboretum Place, Edinburgh EH3 5NZ

0131 248 2909, 28th September to 1st December, 10am – 4pm


The Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh is one of the world's leading botanic gardens. Visitors can walk over 70-acres of beautiful landscape and enjoy a superb tree collection which is spectacular during the autumn months. Visitors can look out for the Woodland Garden, the stunning redwoods in the John Muir Grove and a collection of Champion Trees identified by blue labels.

6. Cambo Gardens, Fife

Cambo Estate, Kingsbarns, Fife KY16 8QD

01333 450 054, various activities taking place during the festival – visit website for dates, times & costs

In the autumn, Cambo comes into its own with its pleasing and interesting mixture of meandering woodland walks, trees and late-season naturalistic plantings. There’s a whole host of events for visitors to take part in throughout the festival, including Babes in the Woods – toddler and baby tree hunt (2 October); the Tree Treasure Hunt (12 October), the annual Cambo Apple Gala (16 October) and the Samhain Fire Party (3 November). Tree-themed walks and talks are also planned.

7. The Enchanted Forest, Pitlochry

Faskally Wood, Pitlochry PH16 5JZ

0871 288 7655, 3rd October to 3rd November, from 5.15pm

Adult £20, child £10 (under 3s go free)

Set amidst the magical autumn woodland of Faskally Wood in Perthshire, The Enchanted Forest has been captivating audiences for 18 years with its pioneering sound and light shows. With dazzling visuals and an innovative design set against an original music score, visitors can explore the stunning autumn woodland of Faskally Wood. Using the forest as a natural background, the light show is, quite simply, out of this world.

8 Attadale Gardens, Lochcarron, IV54 8YX

01520 722603, 24th October, 7th and 21st November, 2pm-4pm

Adult £8, child £1, concession £6

Visitors can enjoy a relaxed guided tour of Attadale’s amazing variety of trees, from the old Wellingtonia to the newest plantings. Over 1000 new trees were planted at the end of 1980s after two serious storms, which are now well-established, thanks to the Gulf Stream and Attadale’s sheltered position. Visitors can see two Wollemi pines flourishing in among the old rhododendrons and finish with refreshments in the DIY Tearoom.

9. Castle Fraser, Aberdeenshire

Sauchen, Inverurie, Aberdeenshire AB51 7LD

01330 833463, 24th October, 10.30am – 12pm

Child £5 (adults go free)

Castle Fraser is hosting the welly walk for one day only as part of the festival. Suitable for 5-11-year olds, youngsters can pull on their wellies and join the rangers for an autumn walk in the woods. A chance to collect nuts and berries, grow your own trees and forage for craft materials before heading back to the log cabin to make autumn crafts.

10. Kelburn Castle & Estate, Ayrshire

Fairlie, Ayrshire KA29 0BE

01475 568 685, weekends only, 26th October to 1st December, 10am-4pm

Costs vary, visit website for more info

Kelburn welcomes visitors to explore its grounds during the festival and embark on its self-led Heritage Tree Trail to discover the many weird and wonderful trees lurking in its woodland, gardens and glen. Kelburn is famous for its many unusual trees, including the 1000-year-old yews and the weeping larch which have been recognised by the Forestry Commission as two of the 100 most important ‘heritage’ trees in Scotland.

Discover Scottish Gardens is sponsored by Galbraith, Lycetts Insurance Brokers, Alitex, Gardening Scotland, Turcan Connell and Historic Houses Scotland. For more information visit or for Scottish Tree Festival event listings visit