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Visiting the garden at Castle Drogo

View looking down a wooded path. The trees are autumnal with orange leaves and mossy green trunks
The gardens in December at Castle Drogo | © Trevor Ray Hunt

Castle Drogo’s garden is the highest garden cared for by the National Trust. Relax in the sunken rose garden and tranquil chapel garden or wander through the formal terraces and rhododendron garden. Children can play in the Bunty House, explore in the orchard or burn off steam on the circular lawn. Whatever the weather there's something of interest to see in the garden.

Garden highlights


Take a walk around the formal garden and see the shrubbery transform into an array of autumn colour. The garden arbours put on a show changing from a brilliant green to gold before dropping for winter. Surrounding the formal garden, the beech trees transform to deep yellow and the Rhododendron Garden also provides a vibrant display with birch planted among the rhododendrons.

If you want to find out more about the garden you can download our garden guide here before you visit. We also have a BSL guide availble on request from the Entrance Hall.

Herbaceous borders

From Spring through to Autumn, the Herbaceous borders are constantly changing and full of colour. The garden team work hard throughout the year to keep these borders looking at their best, from mulching in early spring and weeding and deadheading throughout the summer. There's always something to do to keep the garden looking spectacular.

Circular Lawn

The simple space of the Circular Lawn is an oasis of green surrounded by yew trees. At the top of the granite steps there's an enjoyable view straight down the garden. Throughout the summer the circular lawn can be used for picnics, play or simply relaxing. Throughout the school holidays we also put out tennis equipment, come and have a game with your family just like the Drewes used to do.

What not to bring

For everyone's safety and enjoyment we ask that there are no ball games, or bikes in the garden.

Bunty House

Always popular with families the Bunty House is a treasured and charming additon to the garden. Look out for this tiny playhouse as you explore around the Shrubbery. The Bunty House is modelled on a 1930s suburban home and was built for the youngest of the Drewe children, Frances. The house in the gardens is a replica of the original and visitors young and old are welcome to play in it.


Many of the original trees and shrubs planted by Dillistone are still thriving today. Connecting the circular lawn with the terrace, the shrubbery has trees and shrubs chosen for their rich spring and autumn colour.

Many of the plant specimens in this area originate from China, Japan and Chile. These countries encounter very cold nights and produce plants hardy enough to survive the altitude at Castle Drogo.

Rose garden

Frances Drewe loved roses, so a rose garden was a ‘must-have’ feature. The Dartmoor weather is challenging for rose cultivation, but the milder microclimate of the sunken rose garden gives some protection from the elements.

Each rose bed is labelled with the plant name varieties. During the summer the rose garden is full of perfume, enjoy the different fragrances from one of the garden benches.

Chapel Garden

The peaceful, secluded Chapel Garden is a compact garden adjoining the castle. Follow the granite steps under the Entrance hall leading you to this tranquil space. The borders comprise of roses, catmint and lavender. A mature fig tree on the wall grows well even in the strong winds and challenging weather.

Rhododendron garden

Situated below the main garden and accessed through the Chapel Garden, this woodland garden has a south-westerly aspect so takes the full force of the winter storms.

Despite being at its best in spring and early summer, the Rhododendron Garden also provides a vibrant display of autumn colour, with acers and birch planted among the rhododendrons.

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