Susan Worner Tours

Scotland – The Glorious Gardens of Angus and Aberdeenshire

04 – 09 September 2017

A collection of remarkable gardens are to be found throughout Scotland and several are in the beautiful counties of Angus and Aberdeenshire. The magnificent borrowed landscapes and the purple haze of moorland heather in early September combine well with our chosen gardens. The owners or head gardeners will accompany us showing enthusiasm and dedication. Walled gardens are important in Scotland allowing plants to thrive despite the sometimes harsh climate.

Our main base is a country house hotel – Douneside House Hotel in Royal Deeside with its delightful garden and we have an overnight stay at Ballathie House Hotel on the river Tay. The final night is spent in Edinburgh giving an opportunity to discover its rich heritage. We will have a maximum of sixteen participants. Travel will be in a luxury small coach.

Our guide, Patrick Scott, is most knowledgeable, chief executive of Scotland’s Gardens for eight years and now a founder director of Discover Scottish Gardens

To know more please contact us on or +44 (0) 1423 326 300.




Meet at Edinburgh Waverley Station by 11 am. We depart northwards with a stop for lunch in Kinross after which we visit Kinross House built in the late 17th century. The house is set in a superbly designed landscape on the banks of Loch Leven looking onto the island castle where Mary Queen of Scots was imprisoned. The extensive gardens were restored in the early 20th century with a walled garden laid out in an Arts and Crafts manner, fine terraces and borders.

We continue to Ballathie House Hotel with gardens on the River Tay. Early evening drinks with a short talk on the tour before enjoying dinner together.


After breakfast we leave north eastwards to the county of Angus and to the gardens of the House of Pitmuies considered to be amongst the finest in Scotland. Set in impressive designed landscape gardens, the heart of which is the double-walled garden on two sides of the house dating from the 17th/18th centuries. The garden has an excellent collection of plants and daring planting combinations. Jeanette Ogilvie will be our guide and we are invited for lunch in the house. 

In the afternoon we proceed to Gallery. Designed by Veronica Adams, this garden flows through a series of ‘rooms’ each offering exciting vistas, plantings and colour palettes. A garden of theatre with each path leading to a focal point. John Simson and his head gardener will be our guides.

We travel north through mountainous countryside and Royal Deeside to Douneside House near Tarland in Aberdeenshire, our base for three days. Douneside is the former home of the MacRobert family. The house has been upgraded recently to a very comfortable hotel.


Morning tour of the gardens at Douneside House. A series of well designed terraces around the house have undergone recent new planting. The walled garden has a excellent selection of vegetables and fruit for the house, flowers for cutting and a good greenhouse. The water and rock garden alongside the burn has waterfalls and bridges and is well planted. Head Gardener, Stephen McCallum will be our guide. We then proceed to Crathes Castle, flagship of the National Trust for Scotland. Crathes is famous for its remarkable extensive walled garden containing a series of ‘rooms’. Although there has been a garden at Crathes for many centuries the main development of the garden was in the 1920s by Sir James and Sybil Burnett. The eight garden rooms and several colour themed borders are spectacular with some outstanding plantings. Chris Wardle, head gardener will be our guide.

We will have lunch at Crathes and our afternoon visit is to Findrack where Angelica Salvesen has done much to create this superb garden over the last twenty years. The head gardener will show us the walled garden with its circular lawns and the terraced garden by the house with a pond. The stream garden has a good collection of water loving plants. We return to Douneside and enjoy dinner together.


The garden of Leith Hall dates back to mid 1750s though much of the present lay out was the responsibility of Charles and Henrietta Leith-Hay in the early 1900s. The steeply sloping garden is dominated by the zigzag herbaceous border filled with many favourites which climbs up the hill. The rock garden and fernery are gradually being restored and large borders have been redeveloped in a Gertrude Jekyll style. The head gardener will guide us. The property is now owned by the National Trust for Scotland.

We continue to Kildrummy Castle where the head gardener, Alastair Laing will accompany us around the remarkable garden. Created in the early 1900s by the Aberdeen soap manufacturer, James Ogston and planned by Japanese designers, it is set in a ravine.

The highlight is the water garden well planted with water loving plants. We have lunch nearby.
Our afternoon visit is to Tillypronie, an upland garden with spectacular views across Deeside. Terraces of perennials, shrubs and climbers slope down towards the lawns. The owners created a Jubilee garden planted in hues of yellow gold to celebrate H.M. The Queen’s Jubilee. The head gardener, Kate Redpath will be our guide.


We leave Douneside this morning to visit Kincardine, a magnificent Victorian fantasy with amazing views over the mountains of Deeside. The gardens date from the early 19th century and have been restored starting in 1996. Andrew Bradford will guide us. After seeing the gardens the Bradfords will give us a tour of the house following which we enjoy lunch. We then continue to Glenbervie House which has an excellent garden with a large south-sloping walled garden. It has been continuously cultivated for three hundred years and has a very good selection of fruit and vegetables together with perennial borders and roses. The large restored greenhouses have a remarkable collection of plants, climbers and fruit, all heated by waste from the nearby family-owned food business. The head gardener will accompany us around the garden.

We make our way back to Edinburgh and check into the Roxburghe Hotel in the centre. Our final dinner will be enjoyed in a local restaurant with an excellent cuisine.


The tour comes to an end after breakfast. The railway station is nearby and the airport accessible by taxi.

Map of Scotland

Tour Costs

£1,925 per person sharing Single supplement £325


5 nights accommodation in country house hotels except in Edinburgh.
Delicious meals indicated
B – breakfast
L – lunch
D – dinner.
Transport in small luxury coach from and to Edinburgh.
Garden entrances and guides.
Services of excellent tour manager.

Not included:

Drinks except the first evening aperitif.
Driver’s tip and hotel staff tips.
Items of a personal nature.
Travel insurance.


Ballathie House Hotel, Stanley, Nr Perth
Douneside House Hotel, Tarland, Royal Deeside
Roxburghe Hotel, Charlotte Square, Edinburgh

Activity Level:

Some gardens are extensive and are often on hillsides with terraces.


Early September weather should be warm in the daytime with a nip to the air in the evenings.
Layers are recommended, a showerproof jacket and good shoes/waterproof boots especially for early morning dew and showers.
Smart casual in the evening.