This morning, meet your garden guide, Iain MacDonald and your coach at The Alex Hotel, Fenian Street, Dublin. Transfer to Larne for your P&O Ferries crossing from Larne to Cairnryan (sailing 13:30).
Castle Kennedy Gardens
On arrival, we visit our first garden, Castle Kennedy. This picturesque ruin is situated on a peninsula and, thanks to the Gulf Stream has a unique microclimate. It is surrounded by a richly planted walled garden, which in turn is encircled by formal gardens. Transfer to Stranraer to our beautifully located hotel.
Dine together as a group each evening.
Glenwhan Gardens & Culzean Castle
After breakfast depart for a visit to the private garden of Tessa & Bill Knott – Glenwhan - a magical 12 acre garden with breathtaking views over Luce Bay. Vast collections of trees, shrubs and herbaceous plants are arranged around a series of lakes and bog gardens
Culzean Castle & Garden
A contrast in the afternoon, when we visit Culzean Castle, perched on the Ayrshire cliffs. It was designed by Robert Adam in the late 18th century and is filled to the turrets with treasures that tell the stories of the people who lived here.; a gothic house in a splendid cliff top location. Free time for lunch before exploring the 40 acres of gardens which feature an orangery, pagoda, fountains and walled garden and secret follies.
Threave Castle Gardens and Elizabeth McGregor's Nursery & Garden
This morning visit Threave Gardens, a National Trust of Scotland garden which is used as a school of horticulture and has extensive plantings of specimen tress, shrubs and herbaceous borders. Then a visit to Elizabeth MacGregor’s small, award-winning nursery and garden on the outskirts of Kirkcudbright selling classic cottage garden plants In addition to the sales area, the nursery also boasts a half-acre formal garden. Thanks to its high curved walls, the garden provides a showcase for plants in their mature form. At its best from mid-summer, the garden's scents and colours are truly memorable. Stocks beds also allow the plants to propagate, giving rise to promising new trails of shrubbery.
Broughton House Garden
Free time for lunch and to explore Kirkcudbright, this delightful, coastal fishing village, known as ‘The Artist’s Town”. Then visit Broughton House home of the artist, E.A. Hornel, one of the Glasgow Boy painters, who created this delightful 1.5 acre garden in the early 20th century and fused old world cottage charm with fantasy Japanese elements
Depart your hotel for a morning visit to Dumfries House, one of Britain's most beautiful stately homes. Set in 2,000 acres of land, this stunning estate and 18th-century house with its unrivalled collection of original furniture has something for everyone. Saved by the intervention of HRH, The Prince Charles, Duke of Rothesay in 2007, Dumfries House combines the neoclassical architecture of Robert Adam with the furniture of Thomas Chippendale and leading 18th-century Scottish cabinet makers.
Glenapp Castle Garden Visit & Cream Tea
Afternoon visit to Glenapp Castle with its thirty-six acres of castle grounds, tended lawns and pathways, surrounded by a vast array of exotic plants that have been collected since Victorian days. Visit the walled garden and Italian garden designed by Gertrude Jekyll, one of the pre-eminent garden designer of the early 20th century.
After exploring the grounds enjoy a cream tea (included) with home-made scones and cakes in the newly restored tea rooms or surrounded by the lush vegetation of our 150 foot glass house.
Logan Botanic Gardens
Check out of your hotel this morning before enjoying a visit to the renowned Logan Botanic Gardens, probably the most exotic garden in Scotland. Caressed by the Gulf Stream, it specialises in southern hemisphere plants, with majestic tree ferns adding scale and structure to the luxuriantly planted walled garden with its magnificent herbaceous borders. Free time for lunch in their lovely cafe.
Ferry Sailing & Return to Dublin
Transfer to Cairnryan for your afternoon ferry sailing to Larne (sailing time 16:30) On arrival travel onwards to The Alex Hotel, Fenian Street, Dublin.