Threave Estate

Castle Douglas

Dumfries and Galloway


Why We Should Visit

Threave Estate, which sits on the western edge of Castle Douglas, is more than just a beautiful garden, it is also a unique nature reserve that plays a vital role in the ecology and environment of southern Scotland.

Between them, the beautifully-tended gardens and adjacent wetlands support a huge variety of wildlife as well as plants and tree species that offer year-round interest for visitors.

The garden’s position in the south west of Scotland allows it to grow semi-tender plants outdoors, while the mild conditions promote rapid growth.

Story of the Garden

Threave House was built in 1871 in the Scottish Baronial style. Major Alan Gordon gifted Threave to the National Trust for Scotland in 1948 and 60 years ago it became home to the Trust’s School of Heritage Gardening, providing high level training to professional gardeners. As a result of this activity, the gardens have been extensively developed and maintained to an exceptional standard. Recently a Diamond Trail, made up of 60 trees, was opened to commemorate the School’s anniversary.


Threave has a huge collection of holly varieties, which are at their best just now. Many other plants have been used to offer colour and structure during the winter months and then in spring, 360 different kinds of narcissi transform the Daffodil Bank into sheets of yellow flowers. The first of these bulbs was planted in 1872 and they have been multiplying ever since.

The daffodils are followed by bluebells and blossom in the apple orchard.

Don’t Miss

The hugely-productive walled garden provides vegetables and fruit for the estate’s cafe and the mild climate supports an outdoor grapevine. All kinds of hothouse flowers grow in the glasshouses and from the edge of the estate there are expansive views over the Galloway hills.

Anything Else to Look Out For

Threave is home to Scotland’s only bat reserve, helping to provide a safe habitat for eight different species. There are badgers too as well as red squirrels, and the skies above the garden are frequently filled with red kites. In summer, ospreys nest in the wetlands before flying south to Africa as winter approaches.

Best Time to Visit

In spring, rhododendrons and azaleas provide colour and scent and the rose garden flourishes throughout the summer months. Threave has been carefully planted to provide autumn colour, while during winter, many of the wildlife species that live on the estate are easier to spot, including the waterfowl that overwinter on the estate.

Early in the year, Threave’s woodlands are carpeted with snowdrops.

Any Recommendations in the Area?

Galloway Forest Park is the largest forest park in the UK. It offers walking and mountain-biking trails, hill climbing, kayaking and prehistoric sites. It is a designated Dark Skies Park, offering some of the best night sky gazing experiences in the country thanks to the lack of light pollution.


Threave sits just off the A75, one mile from Castle Douglas.


The garden is open daily, 10am-5pm. Tickets: £4/£3.50

Tel: 01556 502575

Cringletie House near Peebles is a renowned country house hotel with 27 acres of estate and gardens that are open to the public.

The estate has nature trails and sculpture, while the walled garden’s 400-year-old yew hedge is believed to be the oldest in Scotland. The garden itself dates from 1666 and it is surrounded by carefully-tended lawns and mature woodland.

The estate sits amongst the Tweedale Hills and borders the Eddleston Water, which is a tributary of the Tweed.

During the summer months the walled garden provides produce for the hotel kitchen, while the grounds are home to badgers and owls.

Cringletie House


Scottish Borders

EH45 8PL

In association with Discover Scottish Gardens.