Argyll and Bute gardens share in VisitScotland cash

Argyll and Bute's first Rhododendron Festival will be held this spring.

Argyll and Bute's first Rhododendron Festival will be held this spring.

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Argyll and Bute’s most glorious gardens are to take part in the area’s first ever Rhododendron Festival this spring as part of a new marketing campaign supported by VisitScotland.

Mount Stuart and Ardencraig Gardens on Bute are both part of the Glorious Gardens of Argyll and Bute group, which has been awarded £12,202 through the national tourism organisation’s Growth Fund to help highlight the stunning range of flowers and plants that thrive in the region’s exotic micro climate.

The marketing campaign also includes a revamp of the group’s website, www.gardens-of-argyll.co.uk, the design and printing of special leaflets with itineraries and attendance at a number of trade shows, including Best of Britain and Ireland in Birmingham (March 11 and 12) and VisitScotland expo in Aberdeen (April 22 and 23).

David Adams McGilp, VisitScotland’s regional director for Argyll, said: “Argyll and Bute really does boast some of the most beautiful gardens in the country, and I am delighted that this award from the VisitScotland Growth Fund will help the group to raise its profile.

“I am sure that their new campaign will encourage even more visitors to the region, with the Festival of Rhododendrons set to be a particular highlight.”

VisitScotland research has shown that, every year, nearly 700,000 British holidaymakers visit a Scottish park or garden as part of their trip, with a further 35,000 coming to Scotland with the express purpose of sampling the country’s horticultural delights.

Those who enjoy a stroll through Scotland’s gardens spend £206 million during their holiday, with over 65s comprising nearly a quarter (23 per cent) of those people who visit a park or garden as part of their trip.

The Glorious Gardens of Argyll and Bute group comprises:

Achamore Garden, Isle of Gigha

An Cala, Isle of Seil

Angus Garde, Barguillean

Ardchattan Priory, by Oban

Ardencraig Garden, Rothsay, Isle of Bute

Ardkinglas Woodland Garden, Cairndow

Ardmaddy Castle Garden, by Oban

Ardtornish Garden, Morvern

Arduaine Garden, by Oban

Benmore Botanic Garden, Dunoon

Crarae Garden, Minard, Inveraray

Geilston Garden, Cardross

Glenarn, Rhu, Helensburgh

Inveraray Castle Garden, Inveraray

Kinlochlaich House Garden, Appin

Linn Botanic Gardens, Cove, By Helensburgh

Mount Stuart, Isle of Bute