Grounds & Activities
Lawns and Woodland
Guests of Kames Castle Cottages are free to enjoy the 20 acres of private grounds that form the estate. At the entrance to the estate is a large lawned area that overlooks Kames Bay, providing beautiful views over the waterfront and marina. Further lawned areas are located next to the courtyard cottages where guests will find the small putting green and football nets - plenty of space for younger guests to enjoy. Picnic benches and a BBQ are also located in this area providing a lovely space to enjoy a wonderful family holiday.
A short path leads from the lawned area to the walled garden. The South facing wall of the garden is covered with a variety of apple and pear trees. Guests are welcome to try the fresh produce when in season. The North facing wall backs on to a forested area. This boasts a number of aged trees dating back some hundreds of years. The trees are home to an abundance of bird life...owls, buzzards and woodpeckers to name but a few. Running along the edge of this woodland is a small, natural stream. Visitors with children are asked to make note that this stream is open with no fence surround.
Kames is home to an abundance of birds and the current owners are making efforts to encourage this. In addition to smaller garden birds, such as Blue Tits, Black Birds and Robins, Kames is frequented by Pheasants, Owls and Buzzards. Wherever possible the Bute Bird Group is kept informed of rarer species so that they can be ringed and monitored where appropriate. Please consult the following website for further information about the Bute Bird Group: http://www.butemuseum.org.uk/butebirdgroup/about/
Roe deer are welcome guests in the estate and can often be seen on the lawns and wooded areas. Smaller animals, such as rabbits and hedgehogs are equally welcome. Unfortunately, hedgehog numbers are in rapid decline in the UK. Kames Estate is therefore proud to be a supporter and member of the British Hedgehog Preservation Society (BHPS). Those with a keen eye will be able to spot a number of hedgehog houses dotted throughout the grounds. For further information about the BHPS please consult their website: https://www.britishhedgehogs.org.uk
As part of the renovations to the Keep, and under the guide of expert Ecologists, the current owners have installed a specially constructed false ceiling at the top of the tower to protect the habitat of protected brown long-eared bats. A number of Bat boxes can also be found within the grounds.
Kames has 20 acres of gardens and grounds for guests to enjoy. With many mature trees and a small stream at the edge of the estate, guests can spend quality time with family or groups of friends in the great Scottish outdoors. A number of activities are provided within the grounds - lots of fun for those on family holidays or holidays with groups of friends. Equipment is provided and all at no extra cost.
Kames Estate has the only tennis court on the Island of Bute and this is exclusively for guest use. There are a number of tennis raquets and standard tennis balls provided for adults in addition to a range of sizes of raquets and ‘sponge’ balls for younger players.
Golfers might prefer the putting green, situated amongst mature trees and opposite the main courtyard and Kames Castle. Putters of various sizes are provided as well as a plentiful supply of golf balls. For aspiring Ronaldos there are football nets on the lawned area also opposite Kames Castle.
Traditional croquet, a game of skilful touch and tactics, can be set up in the wonderful walled garden lawn. Written rules are provided!
Victorian Walled Garden & Glasshouse
The magical spaces of walled gardens are sadly disappearing throughout the UK. Thus, that Kames boasts a two acre, 18th century walled garden with an original glasshouse, adds to it’s unique charm and provides a unique setting for a wonderful family holiday in Scotland. It is thought that the garden dates from the ownership of William Bannatyne, the last in the Bannatyne line, an advocate and so-called great "improver". The garden wall is traditional red brick with a South facing double-thickness wall. Large borders, for flowers and produce, remain in place surrounding a traditional four–quartered middle section.
The 18th century Mackenzie & Moncur glasshouse remains remarkably intact. It has retained its timber glazing, slanted roof and unusual channelled side wall. The pipes which originally heated the glasshouse are still in place. In days gone by loose bricks from the brick wall were also removed and the holes stuffed with hay. This was then burnt in order to create enough heat to allow the growth of soft fruit. The glasshouse currently houses a number of aged vines and also lemon trees.
In 2018 restoration work began on the glasshouse. It is now fully restored, boasting aged vines and central staging with colourful annuals.