Mey in August | The Castle and Gardens of Mey

Absolutely loved The Castle and Gardens of Mey on our recent visit to Scotland. Didn’t tour the castle, but thoroughly enjoyed the grounds and was captivated by the walled garden.


Mind you we had a nearly perfect sunny day – unusual. The location was spectacular overlooking the North Sea on the rugged coast. The property is immaculately kept and the garden was so beautifully designed it overcame me with emotion. Magical really.


Built between 1566 and 1572 the Castle of Mey, known for a time as Barrogill Castle, is located in Caithness on the north coast of Scotland, just west of where we stayed at John O’Groats. In 1952 the semi-derelict edifice was purchased by the Queen Mother, the widow of King George VI, and restored as a holiday home. Now managed by a trust, the walled garden of the castle is beautifully managed and a near story-book experience. Certainly one of the most memorable gardens I had the privilege to enjoy on my Scottish travels.


The Queen mother oversaw the development of the two gardens. The two acre walled garden to the west of the castle is designed like outdoor rooms and is home to many of her favourite flowers, including the “Shell Garden” in the shelter of the northern wall featuring roses. The surrounding wall protects the garden from the strong winds off the north shore and creates a micro climate of sorts.

This romantic paradise has been fastidiously restored to its former glory after years of neglect by many successive gardeners and is important to enjoy if you’re travelling nearby.

As a photographer and gardener this must-see spot definitely captured both my imagination and heart. I will never forget the Gardens of Castle Mey.