Gazebo, giving views across Loch Fyne towards Castle Dunderave
Ardkinglas Woodland Garden

Ardkinglas Woodland Garden is composed of 25 acres of lovely woodland at the northern tip of Loch Fyne, which has been called the most beautiful of all Scottish lochs. The garden is famous for its Champion conifers. A 'champion' tree is the largest (tallest or most broad) of its species in the British Isles.

Ardkinglas itself is a definite 'must-see' for visitors who enjoy the natural beauty of the Argyll and Bute region. The lush woodland gardens are the result of high annual rainfall and a mild climate due to the moderating effect of the Gulf Stream.

The sandy loam soil provides an excellent environment for conifers and acid-loving heath plants. The garden had its origins in the 17th century, and in 1875 the Callendar family of Ardkinglas created a collection of conifers which has made the gardens world famous.

Woodland path strewn with flower petals
A woodland path strewn
with flower petals

In the 1920s Sir John Noble established a collection of rhododendrons to add to the conifers. Noble acquired two railway carriages full of plants from Lord Aberconwy, owner of Bodnant Gardens in Wales. The aptly named 'Bodnant Bank' shows the glorious results! Sir John's son, Michael (Lord Glenkinglas) carried out a highly successful hybridization program which makes Ardkinglas a riot of colour in late Spring and early Summer.

Garden paths are arranged to provide circular walks of different lengths so that visitors can make their stroll as long or as short as they wish. One of the newest areas of the garden is the Sorbus Glade, which features colour throughout the year, with plantings of rowans, Sorbus commixtra, Sorbus megalocarpa, and Sorbus decora.

The Ardkinglas Silver Fir, desinated one of Britains top 50 trees
The Ardkinglas Silver Fir

Champion Trees

At the southern end of the gardens, the trail drops to the River Kings, where the ruins of an old mill stand beside the rushing water. The trail follows the riverside through a Magnolia Bank, a pinetum area, and the aforementioned Bodnant Bank.

The 'Hunting Ground of Champions' features champion trees, including a huge Grand Fir which reaches 203 feet in height. The path then passes the 'Mightiest Conifer in Europe', a Silver Fir. I visited in late spring and found Ardkinglas a riot of colour; a very enjoyable garden with lovely walks.

Ardkinglas manor is open on selected days throughout the season. Movie fans may recognize the house as the setting for the film, 'The Water Horse'.

The path drops down to a narrow footbridge across the River Kinglas
A footbridge over the River Kinglas
Rhodedendron blossoms glisten with droplets after a Spring shower
Rhododendron after a Spring shower
A quiet lochan in the upper garden
A quiet lochan in the upper garden
Ardkinglas offers colour at almost any season
Ardkinglas offers colour
at any season

About Ardkinglas Woodland Garden
Address: The Square, Cairndow, Argyll and Bute, Scotland, PA26 8BG
Attraction Type: Garden
Location: At the head of Loch Fyne, just off the A83
Website: Ardkinglas Woodland Garden
Location map
OS: NN175102
Photo Credit: David Ross and Britain Express


Heritage Rated from 1- 5 (low to exceptional) on historic interest

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Inveraray Castle - 5.1 miles (Historic House) Heritage Rating

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Loch Lomond - 10.3 miles (Countryside) Heritage Rating

St Conan's Kirk - 10.9 miles (Historic Church) Heritage Rating

Loch Awe - 10.9 miles (Countryside) Heritage Rating

Kilchurn Castle - 11.1 miles (Castle) Heritage Rating

Nearest Holiday Cottages to Ardkinglas Woodland Garden:

Nearby accommodation is calculated 'as the crow flies' from Ardkinglas Woodland Garden. 'Nearest' may involve a long drive up and down glens or, if you are near the coast, may include a ferry ride! Please check the property map to make sure the location is right for you.

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