A stroll through nature can help shake off even the toughest of days, and the West coast of Scotland is anything but short of a spot to spend time outdoors. Argyll and the Isles themselves are home to over 20 pretty green spaces, a delightful mix of wall gardens, native woodlands and exotic botanical trails. In fact, there are so many trails in the area around our hotel, that we even have our own Walking holiday Offer!
In honour of National Walking Month, let us take you on a tour of some of our favourite gardens and colourful walking routes on the West coast of Scotland.
Only mere footsteps away from our outdoor decking, it goes without saying that the team at Loch Melfort Hotel have a soft spot for Arduiane Gardens. Its quiet location makes it an ideal setting to re-boot the batteries without being interrupted.
Exotic flora is probably not the first thing that springs to mind when you think of the exposed coast of West Scotland. However, Arduaine Gardens is a hidden hotspot for far-away botany. The coastal North Atlantic Drift encourages a wealthy variety of East Asian and South American species, and guests can easily lose a morning exploring the twists and turns of the garden’s diverse trails.
Famous for it’s rhododendron and azalea collections, pretty Arduaine has plenty of secluded bench stops to sit down and admire the striking pinks and reds. And, be sure to take the short uphill walk to the viewpoint for endless coastal views across the Inner Hebrides.
Secret gardens don’t get much more remote than those of Achamore. These sub-tropical gardens are nestled away on the smaller Isle of Gigha, accessible by ferry from Tayinloan on the west coast of the Kintyre peninsula.
As with a lot of Argyll’s gardens, this 54-acre spot benefits from it’s very own micro-climate, allowing for an unexpected mix of plant life from across the globe. The garden is noted for its view across to the larger islands of Jura and Islay, and you’re sure to be delighted by their great display of bamboo.
If you’ve allowed enough time, extend your walk with a stroll down the white unspoiled beaches of the island. At only 7 miles long (and relatively flat as far as Scottish islands go), they were rumoured to be the Queen’s favourite during her trips to Scotland and her cruises around the islands.
Inverary Castle Gardens
One of the most iconic tourist stops on Scotland’s castle list, Inveraray’s fairy-tale gardens span across 16 acres of pristine Scottish land. The meticulously kept laws and flowerbeds compliment the romantic architecture of the 18th century castle perfectly and, if you look closely around the borders of the central path, you should notice that they are displayed in the style of the Scottish Saltire.
A walk up to the old look-out post behind the castle rewards visitors with memorable views over Loch Fyne.
The gardens provide the perfect climate for impressive conifers, redwoods, and evergreens (to name a few).
Another hidden treasure, this time on the shores of Loch Fyne. This 50-acre National trust woodland garden boasts one of the most significant groups of rhododendrons in Scotland. Like Arduiane Gardens, Crarae Gardens are dog-friendly, so a good sniff for squirrels is always on the cards.
The property allows for plant species that thrive at high altitudes, hence the blaze of colours from the resident rhododendrons. Paths are well sign posted and offer handy little information boards about the trails. Explorers should follow the tranquil mini glens to the garden’s popular waterfall.
Benmore Botanic Gardens
Stretching out across 120 acres at foot of Beinn Mhòr, Benmore Botanic Gardens is a rambler’s dream! Pick up a map on arrival; they’ve been designed to highlight routes suitable for those who don’t fancy steep hills etc, allowing everyone to enjoy the paths at their own pace.
Most famous for its welcoming tunnel of 150-year-old Redwood’s, both locals and visitors alike have been known to declare the Avenue of Giant Redwoods, “One of the finest entrances to any botanic garden in the world”.
If you’re booking a trip to stretch your legs in Argyll, Loch Melfort Hotel’s grounds are a fantastic base for your West coast adventures. Our country house hotel sits calmly by the waters of Asknish Bay, surrounded by 17 acres of peaceful grounds.
Please note: During Covid restrictions some of Argyll’s gardens may have limited access. Please see official websites for most recent updates.
Learn more about our Walking Holidays and relaxing Sea-View Lodges.