Last weekend we visited Dunbeath Castle Gardens for their annual summer open day. Staying at home more than normal over the holidays has encouraged us to check out some of the attractions on offer on our own doorstep (or at least within a 30 minute radius of our house 😉 ). And what attractions they are – Caithness has offered so much to see and do over the summer. Visiting Dunbeath Castle gardens has got to be one of the highlights – after living here for most of my life I can’t believe I’d never visited before!
Dunbeath Castle is privately owned and not routinely open to the public. However, for one day of the year (and by appointment otherwise), they open the doors of their beautiful walled gardens for the rest of us to explore. Just driving along the stunning driveway towards the castle is enough to make your jaw drop. I mean, a beautiful Scottish castle, perched atop a rocky peninsula on the rugged Caithness coastline? Eat your heart out Game of Thrones.
Of course we had to get a photo (or 300). Can anyone lend me a few million to buy a Scottish castle please?
A wander round the two walled gardens was equally enthralling. The displays of herbaceous borders, roses and lily ponds had us all ooh-ing and aah-ing in delight. And we weren’t the only ones – it was lovely to hear other visitors’ exclamations of wonder. It was fantastic to see all the smiling faces, chatter, and nods of agreement about just what a lovely experience this was.
And then there was the Wick Royal British Legion Scotland Pipe Band playing ‘Highland Cathedral’. As any Scottish heart will know, this is a tune that rouses emotions to the max. Well, it was played at our wedding and always makes me feel teary. Add in the sea views and the castle backdrop and I thought my little heart was going to burst.
Back to our wanderings around the gardens, though, and there was just time for tea and ice cream before departing. As the castle faded into the distance I think we all agreed what a wonderful day we’d had. Hopefully we won’t leave it another half-a-lifetime before returning.
Caithness – when it comes to summer, you really are the best.
Dunbeath Castle Gardens are open to the public on their annual open day and otherwise by appointment only. You can find out more about the castle here on their website. Do make a visit soon!