Skip to main content

The Scottish Snowdrop Festival 2016: snowdrops take a star turn

Press Release   •   Jan 28, 2016 16:10 GMT

The popular Scottish Snowdrop Festival returns to gardens throughout Scotland from 30 January to 13 March 2016, as thousands of beautiful snowdrops appear across the nation to create stunning displays which hint at the approach of spring.

A range of almost 60 gardens across Scotland will showcase their snowdrops in walled gardens, historic castles, nature reserves and even a school. Some of the venues open exclusively for the festival and many offer delicious local food in their restaurants and cafés, which visitors can enjoy after wandering through the idyllic displays.

As part of the festival a variety of unique experiences will be on offer, including a night sky observatory experience and an option of afternoon tea to accompany the snowdrops at Craigengillian Estate, Aryshire which feature as part of a celebrated designed landscape of 3000 acres. An atmospheric night-time display of snowdrops is offered at Cringletie House, Peebles, alongside a taste of specially created snowdrop scones as part of afternoon tea and, at Cambo Gardens, Fife, a daily guided walk to view the snowdrops also features a chance to feed piglets.

NEW gardens taking part this year include: 

Craigengillian Estate, Ayrshire

Craigengillan is peacefully set in a rugged landscape, about 14 miles from the sea. Visitors will also have the opportunity to enter the house through the stunning hallway built in 1905 to a design by celebrated French architect Jan Sen, and enjoy tea and scones in the enchanting drawing room and dining room. The estate has a fascinating history and its 3,000 acres are recognised by Historic Scotland in their Inventory of Designed Landscapes. The gardens are beautiful and include a sweeping lawn set among time honoured trees. After exploring the snowdrops, visitors will be able to visit the Observatory as it gets dark (approx. 5:30pm). The Resident Astronomer will give a presentation and, if the sky is clear, visitors will be able to star watch through the powerful telescope to find the Milky Way, shooting stars, planets, comets and maybe even the Northern Lights. 

Dates:   21 Feb 2016

Open:   15:00 – 19:00, on a pre-book basis only.

Cost:   Adult, snowdrops only £3. Adult, observatory only £12

  Child, snowdrops only, free.  Child, observatory only £4

Seniors , observatory only £8 (aged 65 and over)

Tea, coffee and scone only £3 per person

Craufurdland Castle, Kilmarnock, Ayrshire

Enjoy a ramble through the woods and grounds of the historical and beautiful Craufurdland Castle to explore the Snowdrops Woods (wellies advisable).

Dates:   23 Jan - 14 Feb 2016

Open:   Please phone for times: 01560 600760

Cost:   Adult £3, concessions £1.50, children free

Barjarg Tower, Dumfries & Galloway

Barjarg Tower lies on a gentle slope enjoying the lovely views of the surrounding Lowther hills. The original Tower House dates back to the late 16th century but has had various cleverly designed additions over the years. The gardens have undergone considerable development since they were last opened to the public, though the carpets of snowdrops in the surrounding woods and the swathes of daffodils that line the driveway remain a tribute to the care of earlier generations.

Dates:   24 Feb – 27 Feb 2016

Open:   10am – 4pm

Cost:   There will be an honesty box for donations, with a recommended donation of £3

Further highlights:

Cringletie House, Peebles, Scottish Borders

Cringletie enjoys millions of the Genus Galanthus Snowdrops, believed to have been planted and grown wildly since the days of the Crimean War, when soldiers brought them back from their time serving in the army. Today the snowdrops continue to create a blanket of beauty throughout the woods and valley beside its waterfall.  Following on from the success of the event in 2015, beautiful lighting in the grounds will showcase the magical glittering of flowers after dark. Visitors can also enjoy specially created Snowdrop Scones which will be served with afternoon tea (prices from £18.50 per person) throughout the festival.

Open:   Daily from dawn to dusk

Cost:   Free

Abriachan Garden Nursery, Killianan, Inverness

Abriachan Garden Nursery boasts over four acres of exciting plantings with winding paths through native woodlands and views over Loch Ness.

Dates:   1 Feb – 13 March 2016

Open:   9am – 7pm

Cost:   £3 per ticket.

Royal Botanic Gardens, Edinburgh

The Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh has a fascinating collection of specialist snowdrops. Join a Garden Guide on a walk to discover the collection.

Dates:  12 Feb – 6March

Open:   11am – 12:30pm

Cost:   Adult £5, ages 14+ only

Tours:  Every Friday, Saturday and Sunday from 12 Feb – 6 March

House of Dun, Dundee and Angus

Stroll through Lady Augusta’s walk to view the carpet of snowdrops throughout the wooded den. Along the way you will find information relating to their history and differing species.

Dates:  30 Jan - 13March

Open:   9am – dusk

Cost:   Adult £2, child free

Blair House, Ayrshire

Blair is a ‘Sleeping Beauty’ of a garden which is being lovingly restored.  For one special night in February enjoy beautiful displays of snowdrops in this garden which has an atmosphere of a grand 19th century park with masses of changes in mood: sweeping vistas, magnificent trees, shady promenades, and secret groves - everything that is typical of the period.  Please wear stout footwear. The proceeds will go the Scottish Garden Scheme and St Margaret’s Parish Church, Dalry, Ayrshire.

Dates:  14 Feb

Open:   11am – 4pm

Cost:   Adult £4, child free

Cluny House, Aberfeldy

Experience this exceptional wild woodland garden overlooking the scenic Strathtay Valley. Enjoy the beautiful display of snowdrops and look out for the red squirrels, which are usually very easily seen. Cluny is a treat not to be missed.

Dates:  30 Jan -13 March

Open:   10am – 4pm

Cost:   Adult £4, child £1

Kilgraston School, Bridge of Earn

Set within the grounds of Kilgraston School, this is a wonderful opportunity to see the snowdrops whilst exploring the woodlands and surroundings of this very unique garden. Impressive art sculptures (including work by Hew Lorimer) intermingle with ancient trees, snowdrops and even the resident red squirrels. Spend an afternoon wandering along wild woodland pathways and through the extensive grounds whilst taking in the surrounding winter landscape. There is also an opportunity to explore the chapel, main hall and artistic works within the school itself.

Dates:  21 Feb

Open:   1:30pm – 4pm

Cost:   Adult £4, child £1

Cambo Gardens, Fife

Discover a snowdrop wonderland with woodland walks to the sea.  In addition to this national collection of snowdrops Cambo Gardens also offers daily guided walks featuring piglets to feed. Weekend drop -in family workshops are available, as well as a tearoom and well stocked gift shop.

Dates: 30 Jan – 13 March

Open: 10am – 5pm

Cost: Free

Lochwinnoch Nature Reserve, Renfrewshire

Stroll through the snowdrop woods alongside one of the few wetlands left in west Scotland.  Look out for the whooper swans, wigeons and elusive otters along the way.

Dates: 30 Jan – 13 March

Open: 10am – 5pm

Cost: Adult £3, concession £2, child £1.50

Hopetoun House, Edinburgh

The stunning Hopetoun House enjoys 150 acres of rolling parkland which includes several walks and 2 nature trails with superb views over the Deer park and the River Forth. Tea, coffee and bakery goods available in Stables tearoom.

Dates: 21 Feb

Opening: 10.30am - 4pm

Cost: Adult £4.25, concession £3.75, child £2.50, family ticket £11.50

Tour: Guided Walk 2 - 3.30pm Limited spaces – please book in advance.

Full details of the participating gardens can be found on www.visitscotland.com/snowdrop

- ENDS -

Notes to Editors

  • Follow us on twitter: @visitscotnews
  • VisitScotland is Scotland’s national tourism organisation. Its core purpose is to maximise the economic benefit of tourism to Scotland.
  • The organisation’s core objective is to contribute to the Tourism 2020 Strategy ambition of growing tourism revenues by £1 billion by 2020.
  • This will be supported by seven overarching strategies:
    1. Marketing: we will market Scotland and its outstanding assets to visitors from all parts of the world, including the promotion of Scotland to people living in Scotland       to visit different parts of the country
    2. Events: we will support the national events strategy and its delivery, and sustain, develop and promote Scotland’s international profile as one of the world’s foremost events destinations
    3. Internationalisation and International Engagement: we will utilise all our platforms to enable Scottish-based tourism businesses to better understand international       opportunities and market to a global audience and we will work within One       Scotland Partnerships to optimise the potential of Scotland’s Diaspora and our strategic partners at regional, European and global levels
    4. Customer Experience: we will provide information and inspiration to visitors both locally and globally via their preferred medium of choice
    5. Quality and Sustainability: we will provide support and advice to businesses, with the goal of improving the quality and sustainability of the tourism sector in Scotland. We will provide quality assurance to visitors through our Quality Schemes
    6. Inclusive Tourism: we will strive to make tourism in Scotland inclusive and available to all
    7. Working in Partnership: we will listen to and work with the industry, partners and communities to shape our offering and support
  • VisitScotland works together with tourism businesses to make tourism a success for everyone and ensure the industry continues to grow.
  • The organisation employs 700 people and has offices and VisitScotland Information Centres across Scotland.
  • Spending by tourists in Scotland generates around £12 billion of economic activity in the wider Scottish supply chain and contributes around £6 billion to Scottish GDP (in basic prices). This represents about 5% of total Scottish GDP.
  • For VisitScotland’s press releases go to http://www.visitscotland.org/media_centre.aspx, tourism statistics and frequently asked questions go to http://www.visitscotland.org/
  • Where possible, a Gaelic speaker will be made available for broadcast interviews on request (Far an tèid iarraidh, agus far am bheil sin nar comas, bruidhinnidh neach le Gàidhlig aig agallamh)
  • For holiday information on Scotland go to www.visitscotland.com
  • For information about business events in Scotland go to www.conventionscotland.com


    Year of Innovation, Architecture and Design 2016

  • 2016 will shine a spotlight on Scotland’s achievements in innovation, architecture and design through a wide-ranging, variety of new and existing activity.
  • The Year of Innovation, Architecture and Design begins on 1 January 2016 and ends on 31 December 2016 and will build on the momentum generated by the current 2015 Year of Food and Drink as well as previous years including Homecoming Scotland 2014, the Year of Creative and the Year of Natural.
  • Through a series of exciting events and activity, the year will showcase Scotland’s position as an “innovation nation”, its outstanding built heritage, and its thriving, internationally acclaimed creative industries sector.
  • The Year of Innovation, Architecture and Design is a Scottish Government initiative being led by VisitScotland, and supported by a variety of partners including Scottish Government, Creative Scotland, Architecture + Design Scotland, Scottish Tourism Alliance, Scottish Enterprise, The National Trust for Scotland, Historic Environment Scotland, Highlands and Islands Enterprise and The Royal Incorporation of Architects in Scotland (RIAS).
  • The Year of Innovation, Architecture and Design events fund is managed by EventScotland, part of VisitScotland’s Events Directorate.
  • Join the conversation at #IAD2016
  • Events can join the 2016 Year of Innovation, Architecture and Design Partner Programme throughout the year by visiting http://www.eventscotland.org/YIAD_partner_programme