Monday, 9 July 2018

Castle Kennedy Gardens

Attempting my best Craig Revel Horwood impersonation:  A -  MAZ - ING !

If you are used to visiting the grounds of National Trust properties then Castle Kennedy would probably not strike you as anything out of the ordinary.  I am not, therefore it did: With Knobs On.

The loveliness starts the moment you turn off the A75 and enter the estate.  I've had a bash at editing some DashCam footage but it does not really show the magnitude of the approach.  (The quality was a lot better before YouTube got hold of it . . .)

This Google satellite image made me chuckle - there must be hundreds of times the satellite has caught an aeroplane below but I've never seen it before.  But I digress, the purpose was to point out the scale of this place, and where I "had" to park.

In order to protect a narrow entrance and small bridge, anything larger than a car has to park in the small clearing at the end of my video.  Oh what hardship [not!].  Silence, privacy, nice view - a perfect place to return to for a quiet lunch midway through my visit.

I usually start a garden visit with a quick recce, then go back to the van for a cuppa, and then set off again for a long, slow meander;  the day was shaping up to be brilliant when one of the first things I came across was this tiny Muntjac doe, she had a fawn with her but it's not visible in this photo.  A short while later a red squirrel kitten ran in front of me and a pair of raven were calling above the castle ruins.

The scale of this place is staggering.  Most of these pictures were taken in the general area of the plane (see first photo!)    I did not go all the way to the castle - sadly the sunken garden was closed so that's a good reason to go back.

If you look for the very large estate wagon in this picture the scale is apparent.

I walked miles in this visit, and covered nearly all of the "drives" twice, this is the Monkey Puzzle drive.

Another reason to go back would be a visit earlier in the year to see the rhododendron in flower.  There were very few still in bloom, but those which still had flowers were stunning.

This is a garden of two very different styles - the expansive 'estate' woodland and grassy walks, and an absolute GEM of a walled garden.  If I could pitch a tent against an inside wall I might never ever leave.

Not everything in the garden was rosy - after admiring a completely untouched and massive hosta

I came across this poor little baby . . .

The Aeoniums were trying to pretend they grew outside but close inspection revealed the tops of massive tubs, sunk into the ground.  They will spend the winter in the (not accessible to visitors) huge glasshouses & polytunnels in the other walled garden.  Yes, two huge walled spaces, I'm guessing the second would have originally been used for vegetables for the Big House

Two walled gardens, and two castles - this place doesn't do anything by halves - including the vegetation all over the ruin, not ivy as you might expect but wisteria, which sadly had finished flowering.   Definitely another reason to visit earlier in the year.

The best (outside the walled garden) is saved until nearly last.  The Lily Pond - two acres of rare Victorian plants, but this time I was a couple or three weeks too early for there to be much in flower.   This massive panorama is compiled from the four photos which follow.  I've deliberately left it large so a double-click might be worth a moment of your time.

If you look closely on the left-hand side you can just make out two people on a bench - completely dwarfed by the scale of the 'pond'.

And of course, beautiful gunnera

and what's this - yes, another Wollemia!  (A very fuzzy one because it was there was a heck of a wind coming off the lochs)

This made me smile, a hark back to the days when the Estate was a far more significant part of the local community.

And so we end with the information boards, a smashing place and one I look forward to visiting again.

PS:  It is very dog friendly.


  1. It certainly does look an amazing place. I watched your drive-in video and wondered why you parked where you did, that was before reading your explanation. Love the aeroplane in the Google image too. Your photos are wonderful, love the walled garden and huge pond. Somewhere to take Daisy along with you next time maybe :)

    1. Thanks Eileen. It turned out to be a much nicer (and more level) parking spot than everyone else had to use!

      Management joked there is probably a Facebook group or something online for people who "collect" aircraft on Google satellite images.

  2. It looks stunning Jayne. Thank goodness you discovered this gem following your previous trip out.
    It might be dog friendly but possibly not Lily friendly. It's so huge I'd lose her! X

    1. I wouldn't worry about Lily - mostly it is such a wide open space she couldn't get away from you unless she's faster than Usain Bolt!

      I just realised the time on my DashCam is an hour wrong - I arrived there just after 10.00am and did not leave until gone 4.00pm. Plenty of time to wear Lily out :-)

  3. Sounds bliss, once again beautiful photo's

  4. What a fantastic place and fabulous photos, I love the panorama and the lake shots :)

    I don't know if you've seen my latest post and tried to comment but couldn't? The comment box had somehow gone awol, however the fault has been rectified now and it's back so hopefully everything's ok again :)

    1. Thanks Eunice, your girls would enjoy this garden - the website says they are welcome :)

      I saw last night your blog was having a 'moment'. Glad it is fixed now.

  5. That is 'some' garden & I want to come next time. Please. Thanks for the photos & I'm off to catch up on the next two posts.


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