Armadale Castle opens doors for busy 2019 season

Press release issued 21.2.19

  • Skye visitor attraction opens early March for extended 9 month season
  • Lively new programme includes music events and family activities
  • Tourism businesses invited to open day in April

Armadale Castle, Gardens & Museum opens its doors early this year, on Monday 4 March. The Visit Scotland 5 star visitor attraction has extended its visitor season in response to Skye’s growing popularity as a year-round destination. The castle gardens and museum will be open Monday-Friday during March and November, and daily from April to end October.

The south Skye attraction has also announced a busy programme for all ages and interests, including family activities, music and garden events. It’s fast becoming a foodie destination too, with the new café-bar-restaurant, Gasta at Armadale Castle, winning plaudits from locals and visitors alike.

2019 programme

Families are a big focus for this year.  The Museum has launched a new weekly play session for pre-school children, ‘Exhibition Explorers’, where babies and toddlers can enjoy games, stories and songs on Museum themes. Funding from Museums Galleries Scotland has also enabled the team to enhance the popular adventure playground in the gardens, with the addition of new play equipment for small children. Other family events include a hands-on traditional music day on 1 June, and a Jacobite Day with costumed re-enactors in July. Weekly activity sessions for all the family will run throughout the school holidays.

There’s plenty for music fans and the musically curious, too. A new Gaelic Arts Week, supported by Event Scotland, will bring ‘pop up’ performers to the museum and gardens to entertain visitors. The week will culminate in two prestigious traditional music competitions, for clarsach and piping. The castle grounds will also host a major new music festival, Beò, on 17-18 May, with headliners the Vatersay Boys. The popular café-bar-restaurant,  Gasta at Armadale Castle, will continue to run regular music sessions where a lively evening is guaranteed.

The magnificent gardens at Armadale Castle have always been a highlight for any visit. This year the team will be offering regular garden tours alongside the Discover Scottish Gardens Rhododendron Festival and Tree Festivals. Further enhancements to the gardens are planned,  and  garden consultant Andrew Peters, well known for his work across Skye, has been appointed to help develop and deliver the new vision.

Sue Geale, Museum Manager and member of the Management Committee, commented: ‘We had a great season last year with lots of positive feedback from both local residents and visitors. The new café, family activities and musical events were particularly successful and we are delighted to be building on those in our programme this year. We’re greatly looking forward to opening on 4 March and welcoming both local friends and visitors from around the globe.’

Business open day

The team at are keen to encourage tourism businesses to find out more about what’s on offer at Armadale Castle and across the Sleat Peninsular. Businesses are invited to an open afternoon on Thursday 4 April at 2.30-5, to meet the team, take a garden or museum tour and sample refreshments from Gasta at Armadale Castle. There will also be the chance to meet the team from neighbouring Torabhaig Distillery, taste some whisky, and find out about other Sleat attractions.

Marketing Manager Christine Davis adds: ‘We’re teaming up with Visit Sleat, Torabhaig Distillery and the Hebridean Whisky Trail to organise the event so there will be the chance to find out about the wealth of attractions in the Sleat Peninsular – ‘the Garden of Skye’. We encourage all businesses, big and small, to come along and experience Armadale Castle first hand. It will be a great networking opportunity too, and leaflet swaps are very welcome.’

2019 programme at a glance

For more information see Armadale Castle events page.  

  • Monday 4 March: Armadale Castle, Gardens & Museum open Mon – Fri, 10am – 3pm
  • Thursdays 7 March – 6 June, 10.30 – 12.00: Exhibition Explorers baby & toddler group. Games, stories and songs for pre-schools in the museum. Also activities for all the family during Easter holidays (11 and 18 April).
  • Monday 1 April – end October: Armadale Castle, Gardens & Museum open daily 9.30 – 5.30 pm
  • 1 – 31 May: Rhododendron Festival. Garden tours and trails.
  • Thursday 4 April, 2.30 – 5pm: Open afternoon. All tourism businesses welcome.
  • Thursday 18 – Monday 22 April, 10am – 5pm: Easter Treasure Hunt. Family fun in the gardens and museum.
  • Friday 17 – Saturday 18 May: Beò Festival. Ticket holders only. Site closed to visitors 17 – 19 May.
  • 1 – 8 June: Clan Donald Gaelic Arts Week / Seachdain nan Ealan Gàidhlig aig Clann Dòmhnaill. With pop up musical performances during the week.
  • Saturday 1 June: Gaelic Arts family day. Part of Gaelic Arts Week. Have fun with traditional musical instruments and more.
  • Friday 7 June, 7.30 pm: Donald MacDonald Cuach Piobaireachd (Piping) Competition.
  • Saturday 8 June, 3 pm: Princess Margaret of the Isles Senior Clarsach (Scottish Harp) Competition.
  • Thursdays 11 July – 29 August, 10.30 – 12.00: Family holiday activities. Drop in for art & craft activities, games and more.
  • Saturday 13 July, 11.30 am – 4pm: Jacobite Day. Watch costumed re-enactors and join in Jacobite themed activities.
  • September – November: Scottish Tree Festival. Garden tours and trails.
  • Thursdays 17, 24 & 31 October: Half term family fun. Drop in for art & craft activities, games and more.
  • 1 – 29 November: Armadale Castle, Gardens & Museum open Mon – Fri, 10am – 3pm

Plus other events to be announced including garden tours and live music sessions in Gasta at Armadale Castle.