The Scottish Snowdrop Festival in Perthshire

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The Scottish snowdrop: each February, as sure as the weather will grip you tight and the nights will start to stretch, these magical little plants will transform bleak winter forests into beautiful seas of white and green.

There is something reassuring and uplifting about the arrival of snowdrops; a sign that spring is just around the corner and with it, a promise of bracing walks in the great outdoors of Perthshire. Always ones for a party, never let it be said that us Scots would allow such a force of nature to go by without jubilation. Never let it be said that us Scots would allow such a force of nature to go by without jubilation.

Now in its fifth year, the Scottish Snowdrop Festival takes place over February and into March, and encourages locals and visitors alike to wrap up warm and get out into the woodlands, gardens, churchyards and forests, to celebrate the arrival of these dainty little flowers.


Where Are The Best Gardens and Walks For Spotting Snowdrops in Perthshire?

Here in Perthshire, we’ve tracked down six of the best walks, all brimming over with beautiful buds that will satisfy even the most passionate Galanthophiles - see our top five facts at the bottom!

Scone Palace, Perth, Perth & Kinross >>>

Friday, Saturday and Sunday until March 10th
10am – 4pm | Free Entry |Dog Friendly

Take a leisurely stroll through the snowdrop lined paths within 100 acres of beautiful grounds and gardens.

Enjoy walking through the drifts of enchanting snowdrops which can be found throughout the grounds, lining Lime Avenue and hiding in the shadows of towering conifers. The majority of snowdrops at Scone are of the Galanthus nivalis variety, which although not native to Britain, have naturalized extremely well and enjoy the conditions here at Scone Palace.

At the end of your walk the Old Servants' Hall Coffee Shop is open, as well as the famed Palace gift shop.

Fingask Castle, Rait, Perthshire >>>

Monday and Thursday only until 7th March
Time by arrangement
£3 donation suggested – Honesty Box in Car Park

Fingask Castle's gardens and grounds are private property, opening only twice each year to the public. We're very pleased to tell you that one of these openings is in celebration of the Scottish Snowdrop Festival.

There are large drifts of snowdrops throughout the gardens, and these are best enjoyed by following the marked 15-minute walk.  Here you will pass through the steep dell to a medieval wishing well (St Peter’s), over a Chinese bridge crossing the Fingask Burn via the Iron Age Fort to Fingask Loch and Sir Stuart’s House, back along another path to the orchard car park - wellies are highly recommended!

The garden is truly breathtaking and is famed for its quirky sense of humour: Alice in Wonderland style topiary, stone globes, marble balls and statues, some of which span three centuries. Historical and literary figures are scattered among pleasure gardens first laid out in the 18th century.

Kilgraston School, Bridge of Earn, Perth and Kinross

Sunday 19 February 
1:30pm – 4:00pm | £4.00, children free | Dog Friendly

For on eday only you can enjoy the grounds of Kilgraston School, wandering along wild woodland pathways and exploring the chapel, main hall and artworks within the school.

This is a wonderful opportunity to see the snowdrops whilst exploring the surroundings of this very unique garden. Statues and sculptures (including work by Hew Lorimer) intermingle with ancient trees, snowdrops and even the resident red squirrels.

Teas from the school’s award-winning catering team are available (indoors, if the weather is against us), alongside a wide range of activities for children.

Cluny Gardens, Aberfeldy, Perth and Kinross

23rd Feb to 11th Mar
10am-6pm | From £1 per ticket

As Cluny lies at 180 metres their snowdrops and snowflakes are generally later than in other parts of the country but they last well into March. Once in bloom, the gardens have a wide range of beautiful snowdrops interspersed with other early spring flowers including Asiatic primulas, hellebores, winter aconites and cyclamen.

Leucojums or snowflakes, a relative of the snowdrop with their lampshade-like bells, also do extremely well at Cluny and have a long flowering season.

At this time of year Cluny's trees stand out especially the conifers including the 2 Giant Redwoods. Also noticeable are the different coloured barks of Tibetan cherries, snake bark maples and various birch species. 

There are many red squirrels present, usually seen around the feeders but also throughout the garden. Some have very long ear tufts and beautiful coats. There are plenty of woodland birds present feeding at the feeders and the remaining berries in the garden. Most of the migrant thrushes have moved on. The sparrowhawk visits the feeders several times a day but most times misses its prey.


RSPB Scotland at Loch Leven, Loch Leven

4th to 11th March |  10am-5pm
Child Price: £1 per ticket | Full Price: £5 per ticket

Set on the southern shore of the loch, RSPB Scotland Loch Leven offers a spectacular array of snowdrops and is the perfect choice for nature lovers and wildlife watchers alike. Climb the trail through the woodland to the top of Vane Hill for a spectacular view over the Kinross-shire countryside, or meander down to the wetland trail where our three hides allow you watch the wildlife on the Loch. 'Goosewatch' spectacles are one of winter’s highlights, as are the whooper swans on the loch.

Flocks of garden birds gather at the feeders around the visitor centre, cafe and hides. Our café serves delicious, local and ethical food all year-round, all with a fantastic view over Loch Leven itself.

Branklyn Gardens, Perth, Perth & Kinross

16 &17 and 23 & 24 February
10am-5pm | Concessions Free, Full Price £4

With many wonderful cultivars on display, there is plenty to see in this beuatiful National Trust Garden. They’ll also have a limited number of choicer snowdrop cultivars for sale together with a few Branklyn-grown plants.

The Head Gardener will be on hand to give a conducted tour of the garden and speak about some of the more unusual cultivars as well as the stunning yellow snowdrops. The tearoom will be open, serving freshly made scones, teas and coffee. Car parking is available free of charge above the garden in Fairmount Terrace.

Innerpeffray Library and St Mary’s Chapel, Crieff

Grounds are open all year round | Free

The Library and Chapel reopens on March 1st

Wednesday - Saturday 10.00 - 5.00pm
Sunday 2.00 - 5.00

One of the best places to see the snowdrops in Crieff is at Innerpeffray Library and St Mary’s Chapel. Scotland’s oldest lending library is a real hidden gem and a stroll round its tranquil woodland garden with striking views of the River Earn makes it an ideal springtime destination. As an added bonus, you can also explore the chapel churchyard and the 18th Century library, which includes a special exhibition of gardening books.

A view of ruined Innerpeffray Castle is a short walk nearby, and the Roman road from Braco to Perth along the Gask Ridge passes through Innerpeffray. Only 90 minutes from Glasgow or Edinburgh, Innerpeffray is on the B8062, four miles from Crieff and six miles from Auchterarder and Gleneagles.

Other Free Crieff Snowdrop Walks >>>

Snowdrops Legends and Folklore 

Such is the enigma of this early blooming flower that many legends have surrounded it over the years.  It has been said that snowdrops were first introduced in the Garden of Eden. After banishment, Eve was beginning to grow tired of the endless winters. And so, an angel created snowdrops from the snowflakes to give hope to Eve that winter wouldn’t last forever.

In German folklore, a request from God prompted the snowdrop to give the snow its colour. In return, the snowdrop was given permission to bloom each year before all the other flowers.

The Victorians considered it to be good taste to decorate their graves with snowdrops – which will explain the wide spread carpets of white and green across old churchyards.  

Top Five Facts About Scottish Snowdrops

SNOWDROP Festival latin

  1. Snowdrops have many names:  Candlemas bells – they traditionally bloom at Candlemas on February 2nd - dewdrops, death’s flower, Eve’s tear, February fair-maids, and Mary’s tapers.
  2. Snowdrops arrived in Scotland from southern Europe in the late 16th century but it was almost 200 years later before it was the iconic wildflower that it is today
  3. In folklore, it was written that snowdrops hung their heads because they were shy. In reality, the flower’s pollen can only attract winter insects if it’s dry.
  4. There are extreme fans who take their love of snowdrops to fetish level!  Not the most common of traits, but significant enough to have been named – galanthophiles
  5. It is considered to be extremely unlucky to take snowdrops indoors
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