The Garden of Cosmic Speculation

Dumfries & Galloway | Holywood | Garden | ★★★★

[Slug Lakes and the Snake and Snail Mounds]

The Garden of Cosmic Speculation is only open for one day each year, but if the sun's shining and you're in the area you should make every effort to visit this unusual, quirky work of landscape art. Graceful landforms, sculptures, bridges and gardens celebrating the universe, nature and the senses are waiting to be explored, only slightly marred by hundreds of others doing the same thing. Some of it gets quite technical (the Quark Walk gets you up to speed with the Standard Model of Elementary Particles, for example), many parts are fun for kids (with curving mounds, bridges and walkways including the Snake and Snail Mounds and the Comet Bridge), while other areas are simply beautiful gardens in the more conventional sense (such as the Linear Paradise Garden). It's all spread over 30 acres of picturesque Dumfriesshire countryside bordering the River Nith, and is the brainchild of American landscape designer Charles Jencks; he also created aspects of Jupiter Artland near Edinburgh and Crawick Multiverse in Ayrshire.

[One of the slightly creepy "Six Senses & DNA" sculptures]

Location & info

📌 The Garden of Cosmic Speculation ★★★★
Portrack House, minor road off A76 3 mi north of Holywood, G.R.: NX 939830 ///prowl.hunt.annual
No open day in 2020. 2019 date was May 5th only - advance booking compulsory | £10 adult / free for children (2019)

💬 Open days are extremely popular, so arrive fairly early in the day to avoid queuing and crowds. Print out a map of the garden in advance so you know what you're looking at (though if you're lucky you'll be given one on arrival).

[Black Hole Terrace]


  1. Such a great pity that this marvellous place is only open one day of the year. Is there a particular reason why this is so?

    1. It is a bit of a pity! The garden is privately owned and a large part of the proceeds from the annual open day go to charity.


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