Travel with me to the enchanted Emerald Isle and the land of Loch Lomond to visit Gardens and Castles of Ireland and Scotland. This unique tour offers the opportunity to visit both countries in tandem on a combined tour, or just Ireland or Scotland on a shorter single-country tour.
These northern lands are kissed by the warm waters of the Gulf Stream, creating a unique environment in which diverse plants from around the globe luxuriate in intimate proximity. Palms thrive in the company of giant Gunnera, opulent roses and diminutive alpines. Within each of these gardening utopias we are sure to discover a wealth of rare botanical and horticultural gems, often arrayed in planting combinations unique due to the warm currents that bathe the region. Ireland’s verdant landscapes, storied history, rich culture and gracious people have endeared this island nation to travelers the world over. With a mild but changeable climate and ample rainfall, it’s no wonder Ireland is known as the Emerald Isle. We have the opportunity to visit ancient monuments as well as an eclectic variety of the country’s most intriguing public and private gardens to experience the best this special country offers. Gardens vary from formal to naturalistic, with a strong design tradition rooted in cultural traditions and the compelling landscape. Close to stately homes and castles, grounds often include formal beds of herbaceous perennials, or mixed perennials and shrubs, together with a wider variety of garden trees for a long season of interest throughout the spring and summer and into the autumn. Some gardens in sheltered areas of the west coast are noted for their collections of tender species from subtropical regions of the world.
Scotland also enjoys a rich cultural history, much of which is preserved in historic buildings throughout the country. Prehistoric settlements can be traced back to 9600 BC, as well as the famous standing stones in Lewis and Orkney. If there is anything that evokes the spirit of Scotland; it is the grandeur and history of its castles, from those that perch on top of volcanic crags to others that stand amidst the purple heather. From the imposing and magnificent Stirling Castle to the small and simple Lochleven Castle. Scotland also has a separate design tradition from both Ireland and England. This is more evident in architecture than in garden design but the presence of Scots baronial buildings and local construction materials and techniques gives Scots gardens a distinctive character. Scotland offers a wide variety of stunning public and private gardens in the cities and parks, in magnificent castle grounds and throughout the countryside.