The Callender family established the mature conifer collection, for which the garden is renowned, around 1875. The Victorian legacy ensures that Ardkinglas Woodland Garden now has a number of Champion Trees. It was Sir Andrew Noble's son, Sir John, who established the outstanding collection of rhododendrons in 1920.
Encouraged by his early success and with the aid of his son, Michael (later Lord Glenkinglas), he set about planting a gift of rhododendrons from fellow enthusiast Lord Aberconway. Two railway carriages were dispatched from Bodnant, North Wales and sent to Arrochar station in 1935. These splendid mature specimens can now be seen in all their glory upon the aptly named Bodnant Bank. Lord Glenkinglas and his wife, Anne, continued to garden at Ardkinglas until the mid-1980s. Their influence is demonstrated throughout the woodland garden every March to mid~June with the flowering of the many hybrid rhododendrons that resulted from their extensive breeding programme.
Ardkinglas Woodland Garden covers 25 acres of hillside,amongst one of Scotland’s most beautiful landscapes, around the head of Loch Fyne. Visitors can follow a network of informal paths which rise from the tumbling waterfalls of the River Kinglas through richly varied areas of garden and woodland to the hillside above from where there are spectacular views of Loch Fyne.
The Ardkinglas site exploits a combination of high annual rainfall (80-100 inches) and Gulf Stream mildness to provide a unique growing environment. The fertile sandy loam prevalent throughout the garden contributes further to ensure conditions suitable for both ericaceous and temperate conifer species.
The woodland garden holds a number of ‘Champion Trees’, the tallest or broadest of their species in the United Kingdom. These include the tallest tree in Britain and the ‘mightiest conifer in Europe’.
A woodland lochan, ancient mill, numerous woodland walks and a very visible and thriving population of rare Red Squirrels add to the attractions at Ardkinglas.
A gazebo, made from Argyll oak, houses a unique scriptorium of tree-related poetry and prose to fire the imagination.
There is much to enjoy in the Woodland Garden at any time of the year, but the visitor who arrives in the spring and early summer will marvel at the magnificent flowers of the Rhododendron collection and the spectacular, fragrant carpet of bluebells.
The beauty and sense of history in the garden will appeal to all visitors and the outstanding plant collection will delight those with more specialist knowledge.
OTHER THINGS TO SEE & DO
The present house at Ardkinglas was completed in the autumn of 1907 and is generally considered to be the architect Sir Robert Lorimer’s masterpiece. It was built at a time when traditional materials were skilfully and creatively mastered by expert craftsmen but where a wealth of new technology could be incorporated into the design. The house remains practically unaltered and is a very popular location for TV dramas, film production and product launches. The House is still a much-loved family home and although not open to the public on a regular basis, a private tour of the house can be booked at any time of the year. Public tours are available from April to October on the second and last Fridays of every month and every Wednesday afternoon in April. Booking essential.
The beautifully furnished reception rooms with their wonderful views of Loch Fyne are perfect as an exclusive venue for special events and are available for hire throughout the year. Please contact us for help in planning your special event. "Ardkinglas must be one of the finest locations in Scotland for a wedding. A perfect day and many thanks for all your help with planning"
A day can be filled with activities in the local area; visit the Tree Shop Garden Centre (supplied by our nursery) and its café for some refreshment or enjoy a more formal meal at Loch Fyne Oysters. Enjoy a local beer from Fyne Ales after having had a short walk to the Tree House or climbed a Munro. Nearby is Inveraray with its Jail, castle and bell tower and just beyond Argyll Adventure a place to let off steam or Auchindrain a unique outdoor museum. Towards Dunoon in the Cowal Peninsular are quad bikes, laser shooting and other activities with many places to eat and the ferries to the Isle of Bute or Gourock.
PLACES TO STAY
Ardkinglas has a unique self-catering holiday apartment, the original "Butlers Quarters" can be rented all the year round, with free access to the House Grounds and the Woodland Gardens.
Inveraray has the atmospheric George Hotel or there is The Creggans at nearby Strachur in the Cowal peninsular
HOW TO FIND US
By Car: From the South: 1 hour drive from Glasgow, by Loch Lomond-side (A82) to Tarbet, then take the A83 to Arrochar and continue along the A83 for 10 miles to Cairndow. Take the signposted cut off for Cairndow and access to the Estate Woodland Garden is on the left opposite Kilmorich Church. Alternatively, from the North: From Oban, Dalmally, Fort William, etc, take the A85, and just outside Dalmally, the A819 will take you directly to Inveraray. At the A819 road end junction with the A82, Cairndow is about 10 miles distant by turning left and following the signs in the direction of Glasgow and Arrochar.
Dawn to Dusk every day
£4.50, £3.50 for concessions, under 16s free
FOOD & DRINK
Available at the Tree Shop
POSTCODE FOR CAR SAT NAVs
We’d love to have you