Three Colorful & Artistic Spots To Visit In Bonnie Scotland

Kelburn Castle, Largs, Scotland
Kelburn Castle, Largs, Scotland [Imate by g_cowan/Flickr

While Scotland is renowned for its striking scenery and Scotch whisky, this beautiful country also has its colorful and artistic side.

Read on to learn about three attractive and whimsical locations to explore this summer in Bonnie Scotland.

1. Balloch Park Fairy Trail

Balloch Park Fairy Trail was created by Patrick Muir, a local tree surgeon. The trail is located in Balloch Castle Country Park, in Balloch, Scotland. It lies close to Loch Lomond in West Dunbartonshire.

Balloch Park Fairy Trail
Balloch Park Fairy Trail [Image by Lairich Rig on Geograph]
Patrick decided to turn the ugly stumps of diseased trees into something magical. He took a chainsaw and carved the stumps into wonderful fairy houses, fascinating faces and even a marvelous dragon. Better yet, each carving has its own fictional back story to enjoy.

Part of the fun of the fairy trail is hunting for the carvings, as they are scattered across the area. Some are close to the main road, while others are on rural trails. To speed up your hunt, a map has been created on Google Maps.

Balloch Park Fairy Trail
Balloch Park Fairy Trail [Image by Lairich Rig on Geograph]

Muir hasn’t finished his work yet, and new carvings can appear at any time. This makes the fairy trail a great place to return to while hunting for the latest additions. The castle itself is also worth a visit. The property offers beautiful views over the surrounding countryside all the way to Loch Lomond.

2. Kelburn Castle, Largs

Next on our artistic and colorful tour of Scotland, we visit Kelburn Castle, a stately home built around the 13th century. Located in Largs, the building consists of a castle, occupied by the family over several centuries. It also includes a Norman Keep, which was built for protection and was completed in 1581.

In June 2007, the castle was falling into ruin and needed to have its concrete facing replaced. The owners decided to invite a group of Brazilian graffiti artists to decorate the walls.

Kelburn Castle
Kelburn Castle, Largs, Scotland [Image by Anne on Flickr]
The artists were Nina, Nunca and Os Gemeos (the twins), who created a colorful and amazing mural that covered the entire wall. The contrast between the original building and modern Brazilian graffiti is striking. It makes for a unique, delightful and whimsical view.

3. Garden of Cosmic Speculation, Holywood

You wouldn’t normally think of modern physics in terms of whimsy. However, it turns out the Garden of Cosmic Speculation definitely fits the bill. This 30-acre garden was inspired by modern physics. It was designed by architectural theorist Charles Jencks. He worked on the garden with his late wife, Maggie Keswick, who was an expert on Chinese gardens.

Universe Cascade, Garden of Cosmic Speculation
Universe Cascade, Garden of Cosmic Speculation [Image by John Lord on Flickr]
The garden is located at Portrack House, their private home close to Dumfries. According to Jencks, their design relates to the basic elements underlying the cosmos.

There are five major areas in the garden, all featuring geometric fractals. All are inspired by concepts like black holes, the “Big Bang” and string theory. Also, all the individual features are connected by bridges, artificial lakes and other constructions. These include terraces and staircases, zigzagging down the hillside.

The Black Hole in the Garden of Cosmic Speculation
The Black Hole in the Garden of Cosmic Speculation [Image by Flexdream on Wikimedia Commons]
The only drawback is that the garden is only open to the public on one day each year through Scotland’s Garden Scheme. Visit their website to find out more. All proceeds raised go to a cancer care foundation, Maggie’s Centres, named for Jenck’s late wife.

Have fun exploring the more whimsical and colorful side of Scotland this summer! Keep watching this space for more exciting destinations.