VISITORS of all ages flocked to Geilston Garden this week as the popular attraction opened its gates for the first time this year.

The Cardross garden was one of almost 30 estates and gardens owned and operated by the National Trust for Scotland (NTS) which welcomed visitors on Monday, July 6 for the first time in 2020, following confirmation of the latest stage in the Scottish Government’s easing of the country’s lockdown restrictions.

The busy scene at Geilston on Monday was a much-needed tonic both for supporters of the attraction and for the NTS, which told more than half of its 751 employees – including three of the five staff members at Geilston – earlier this year that their roles could be made redundant.

The NTS says the move is part of efforts to tackle an estimated £28 million drop in income caused by the pandemic.

READ MORE: Reopening date announced for Geilston Garden – but not for the Hill House in Helensburgh

Allison Hillis, chair of the Friends of Geilston volunteer group, set up in 2018 to support the garden and its activities, told the Advertiser on Monday: “It was heartening to be able to visit Geilston today.

“During lockdown we received emails from our members saying how much they were missing the garden and when I went this morning, the car park was full and there was a steady flow of visitors.

“Head gardener Alison Farrell and Malcolm McNeill have done a wonderful job looking after the garden - in particular, the kitchen garden which is always high maintenance and the main attraction in July and August.

“We are pleased Geilston is one of the 27 NTS properties which are opening this year, but are concerned for the staff who face redundancy, the properties which remain closed and indeed the long-term future of the NTS.”

READ MORE: NTS launches emergency appeal to save visitor attractions as more than half of staff face redundancy

For the rest of the summer, Geilston will be open to the public from Thursday to Monday each week from 10am to 5pm, with the last entry to the garden at 4pm.

More information to help keep you safe on your visit to the garden is at the Friends of Geilston website (

Meanwhile, the Friends have also launched their annual calendar competition, giving members of the public the chance to see their photos of Geilston at its best adorning the Friends’ 2021 calendar.

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You can enter up to three post-lockdown pictures of Geilston – but they must be in landscape layout and must also have a file size of at least 1MB each.

Entries can be emailed to by Tuesday, September 1.

Prizes of £25, £15 and £10 will be awarded to the top three photographs – full terms and conditions can be found at the Friends’ website.

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