Gardens

Gàrraidhean

Experience a haven of scent and colour in our magnificent Castle Gardens. The gardens were originally laid out by Lord Macdonald in the early 19th century. They were later restored and developed by our charitable trust for everyone to enjoy.

Today you can explore 40 acres of trees, shrubs and flowers, including many exotic specimens which thrive in the mild, sheltered climate of south Skye. Ponds, herbaceous borders and terrace walks provide a tranquil place to sit or stroll. Magnificent trees, many over 100 years old, tower above carpets of bluebells and orchids in spring and summer. Our Victorian arboretum has some particularly fine specimens, mostly planted in the 1870s. We have recently started planting a new generation of trees through our Trees for the Future initiative, in collaboration with the International Conifer Conservation Programme.

At the centre of the Gardens sit the picturesque ruins of Armadale Castle, the former manor house of the Macdonald chiefs. Imagine its glory days as you take in panoramic vistas over the Sound of Sleat.

Parts of the garden date back to the 1790s, when the original mansion house was built. Substantial remodelling took place in the 1820s when the area in front of the new Castle building was levelled to enhance the fine views across to the mainland. The Gothic bridge, a Historic Environment Scotland designated monument, was built in 1825.

As well as colourful and exotic plants you will find many interesting sculptures dotted around the grounds. These include ‘2 Rising Lines II’ by contemporary Scottish artist Julie Brook, which uses Torrin marble to respond to its woodland site; ‘Teko the Swimming Otter’ by Laurence Broderick; and ‘The Homecoming’, a much-loved pair of bronze Skye Terriers to honour the island’s famous breed of dog.

To listen to our audio guide to the gardens, download the free Candide app and search for Armadale Castle in ‘Places’.

Watch our 10 minute garden history video on Vimeo.