Hopetoun House and New Hopetoun Garden Centre, South Queensferry, Edinburgh

Often called, the Scottish Versailles, the 17th-century house and its sweeping grounds, are open to explore from April 30, but book online beforehand. On-site events include May day bank holiday Itison Drive In Movies. After a visit, it’s worth taking a detour to nearby New Hopetoun Garden Centre to pick up a few plants to posh up your own garden.

Visit hopetoun.co.uk and newhopetoungardens.co.uk/


Logan Botanic Gardens, Port Logan, Dumfries and Galloway On the Rhins of Galloway is one of Scotland’s most exotic gardens, home to plants from farflung parts – palm trees, tree ferns, groves of eucalyptus. Among its special features is a conservatory, the first in the UK to be heated by all green energy.

Visit rbge.org.uk/visit/logan-botanic-garden

Inverewe Garden, Poolewe, Wester Ross

A remarkable garden paradise in remote Wester Ross (well, remote if you don't live there), developed in the 19th century, by Osgood Mackenzie, from a patch of wilderness. Huge California redwoods tower over exotic plants and a rhododendron collection that is always in flower.


Dawyck Botanic Garden, Stobo, Scottish Borders

Host to one of Scotland’s finest collections of trees, some of which date back to the 17th century. Upcoming highlights include the vibrant azalea terrace, and meconopsis, the blue poppy which blooms in early June.

Visit rbge.org.uk/visit/dawyck-botanic-garden/

Arduaine Garden, Oban, Argyll

On a rocky promontory jutting out into Loch Melfort, is a garden famous for its rhododendrons, azaleas and magnolias. Paths wander between spring-fed ponds and herbaceous borders. You might even spot a feral goat.

Visit nts.org.uk/visit/places/arduaine-garden

Falkland Palace, Cupar, Fife

One of the best examples of Renaissance architecture in Scotland and home to the oldest real tennis court in the world – on which Mary, Queen of Scots, played. Gardens and shop open from April 28, and from May 27 the palace throws open its doors. Visit nts.org.uk/visit/places/falkland-palace

Pollok House, Bellahouston, Glasgow

Often described as Scotland’s answer to Downton Abbey, this Georgian house has a magnificent upstairs and a fascinating downstairs. Open from April 30, access available via timed, booked entries.

Visit nts.org.uk/visit/places/pollok-house


Mount Stuart House, Isle of Bute

Some say this astonishing Gothic revival fantasy is the grandest historic house in Scotland. As yet the house is still closed, but (prebooked) visits to gardens and café start on May 1. Check the website for house reopening, and the chance to ogle its historic heated indoor swimming pool and marble chapel.

Visit mountstuart.com

The Hill House, Helensburgh, Argyll

An iconic house, built by Charles Rennie Mackintosh, so precious and vulnerable it’s now encased in a protective box. Open from April 30, with visitors requested to limit visits to the interiors to 30 minutes – but permitted to linger in the garden. Advance-booking necessary.

Visit nts.org.uk/visit/places/the-hill-house


Scone Palace, Perthshire

A magnificent centre of past power, once home of the Stone of Destiny and the crowning place of the Kings of the Scots. Palace and gardens will open April 28, but until May 31 only be open Wednesday to Sunday, after which the site returns to seven-day operation.

Visit scone-palace.co.uk

Doune Castle, Doune, Stirling

Many a visit to Doune Castle has been made on the basis of its movie credentials – those starring roles in Monty Python And The Holy Grail and Outlander. But there’s more to the medieval courtyard castle than coconut shells. Reopening on April 30 to history and film buffs alike.

Visit historicenvironment.scot/visit-a-place/places/doune-castle/

Stirling Castle, Stirling

From April 30, the castle will be sharing some of its wonders with visitors again: the giant banqueting hall, the Stirling Heads oak medallions. Even unicorn-hunters will find something to delight, including sighting the mythical creatures in the Stirling Tapestries.

Visit stirlingcastle.scot

Edinburgh Castle, Edinburgh

This jewel in the crown of Scottish historic buildings – home to the Honours of Scotland – has been declared the world’s most Instagrammed castle. Many interiors and exteriors are open from April 30. Book tickets online and in advance.

Visit edinburghcastle.scot/

HeraldScotland: Edinburgh Castle. Picture via Pixabay

Culzean Castle, Maybole, Ayrshire

Culzean has everything going for it, from its location, poised on an Ayrshire clifftop to its architectural drama. A visit to the Robert Adam oval staircase can feel like finding yourself at the centre of a vortex of wonder. Explore its peripheries: follies, deer park and children's Adventure Cove. Opens April 30.

Visit nts.org.uk/visit/places/culzean

READ MORE: Scotland: Days out with kids (big and small)

Glamis Castle, Angus

Legend and a thousand years of history collide. Shakespeare took the original castle as his inspiration for Macbeth, King Malcolm II died there, its present building was childhood home to HM Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother, there’s even tragic mystery involving a hidden deformed child heir.

Visit glamis-castle.co.uk/