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The Gleneagles Hotel


The designed landscape at Gleneagles is associated with the early-20th-century purpose-built luxury hotel. It is most noted for the golf courses, two of which were laid out by James Braid. There are formal gardens around the hotel and an interesting collection of trees and shrubs with yellow foliage or flowers lining a path to a loch. Additions in the 1930s and 1980s include housing developments and an associated water garden.

The following is from the Historic Environment Scotland Gardens and Designed Landscapes Inventory. For the most up-to-date Inventory entry, please visit the Historic Environment Scotland website:

Location and Setting

The Gleneagles Hotel is located 2 miles (3km) west of the village of Auchterarder and 1 mile (1.5km) from the main A9(T) road to Perth. It is situated between Strathearn to the north and Strathallan to the south-west. The site is bounded by the A9 on its eastern border and by a minor road to the north. The golf courses extend to the south of the hotel. The hotel lies at 525' (160m) in the broad strath between the Ochil Hills to the south and the foothills of the Grampians to the north. The site was chosen for its dramatic scenery and views in all directions. The hotel itself is screened from view from the surrounding area by the policy woodlands.

The hotel is set on a formal terrace on higher ground facing south-east across the park and Laich's Loch with a splendid view along Glen Eagles to the south. The present landscape was designed c.1910 and the King's and Queen's Golf Courses were laid out between then and 1919, created from bare moorland. The present A823 formed the eastern boundary of the estate until 1980 when the Glendevon course was added to the east of the A823 extending to the A9. The structure of the design has remained similar to that originally laid out, and consists of 750 acres (303ha), of which 500 acres (202ha) are golf courses.

Landscape Components

Architectural Features

The Gleneagles Hotel is a large, five-storey square building. It has a traditional Scottish tower at the west entrance and a wide sweeping Georgian bow on the south front which is mirrored by the terrace below. It was designed by Matthew Adam in c.1913 and is listed B. The preliminary scheme for it was by James Miller. The North Lodge is now used as a shooting shop and there is also a South Lodge. The Terrace is balustraded and ornamented with pavilions at its southern corners. A circular pool with a fountain lies outside the south front. There is a modern sundial near the west front and two eagles guard the approach to the terrace from the Golden Path.

Paths and Walks

The Golden Path from Laich's Loch to the hotel is planted with a wide variety of exotic and ornamental trees, many of which have been planted for their golden or yellow colours, while others are planted for contrast. Alan Mitchell has measured over fifty interesting trees at Gleneagles and many of them grow in this area. The Golden Path is lined with ornamental shrubs, which again are planted for their yellow, orange and gold foliage or flowers. At the south end of the path, to the west of the loch, is a small burn, the banks of which are to be planted with ornamental trees, such as Acers, and with moisture- loving plants.


The area to the south of the terrace was originally laid out and fenced as a park and Highland Cattle were grazed there. In recent years this area has been converted into the pitch and putt course but it retains many of the fine parkland trees and its open character. Laich's Loch has been used as a water feature in the first hole of the new Glendevon course which extends to the east of the park and the A823. The Queen's Course was laid out to the west of the main drive, to the north of Loch-an-Eerie, with the King's Course to its south, and west of the A823. The Club House and Professional's Shop are sited to the south of the main drive near the South Lodge. The Prince's Course has been laid out on either side of the A823, to the south of the Glendevon Course.

The main drive approaches the hotel from the west side and is lined with massive banks of Rhododendrons. There used to be a railway branch line direct to the hotel which approached from the east side around the Wheel Garden but this has been discontinued.


There is a mix of deciduous and coniferous strips planted as part of the golf course design and as screens around the car park to the west of the hotel. To the north of the North Lodge, there is a small belt of coniferous woodland sheltering the hotel from the surrounding moorland.

Water Features

In 1981 the offices to the north of the hotel were converted into a Country Club and a new covered swimming pool was constructed within the courtyard. The area around it has been designed as a water garden with a covered glass walkway leading through it to the Country Club. The ponds are stocked with goldfish and planted in and around with water-lilies, Hostas, Astilbes, Lysichitums and other moisture-loving plants. Herbaceous borders line the edge of the courtyard, planted with Senecio, Berberis, Spiraea, Potentilla, and several varieties of Buddleia (which have been put in to encourage butterflies).

The Gardens

The immediate surroundings of the hotel were laid out as a formal garden with wide well-maintained lawns and formal beds at the south side, filled with bedding plants. These beds were once box-edged and this may be reintroduced. Along the west approach are round formal beds, one laid out with heather and one laid out with a star pattern formed with Cinerarias. The borders alongside the hotel are planted with herbaceous material to give colour throughout the summer. To the west of the hotel are the car park and bowling green, and to the east are the tennis courts. To the south, a flight of steps leads down to the Golden Path.

The Wheel Garden, to the east of the formal garden, is so named for its original design which incorporated diagonal paths in the form of spokes leading from the centre of the garden. It is oval in shape with a broad path along its west to east axis, formerly lined with herbaceous borders and yew hedges. The curved hedges remain as a striking feature from the original design, but the diagonal paths have been lost and the garden is now used for growing turf. It was used up until the mid-1970s as a kitchen garden and for growing cut flowers for the hotel. The original layout is shown on a large plan of Gleneagles kept at the hotel.

Walled Garden

To the north of the Wheel Garden and the north access road is the nursery which contains a large modern range of glasshouses used to grow a variety of pot plants for the hotel, from begonias and geraniums to larger palms and foliage plants.

Visitor Access, Directions & Contacts

The following is from the Historic Environment Scotland Gardens and Designed Landscapes Inventory. For the most up-to-date Inventory entry, please visit the Historic Environment Scotland website:

Reason for Inclusion

A 20th century designed landscape most noted for its golf courses designed by James Braid, and the loch, moorland and woodland habitats that are of outstanding nature conservation value.

Site History

The designed landscape at Gleneagles was developed from 1913 onwards, interrupted for a period during World War I but continued thereafter with additions in c.1930 and 1980. James Braid designed the King's and Queen's Golf Courses in c.1913. There is an early plan of the hotel grounds kept at the hotel.

The idea of a luxury hotel in the Scottish moors was conceived in 1909 by Donald Matheson, a senior executive of Caledonian Railways, who spent his holiday that year in Strathearn. He suggested building 'a Georgian Hotel or country house to attract and cater for the British travelling class' and, in 1913, the Gleneagles Limited Company was formed for the purpose of constructing the hotel and golf courses. Work on the hotel was interrupted in 1914 by World War I, and its three-storey shell was left unfinished for many years. Work on the golf courses went ahead however, and the King's Course was opened in 1919. The courses were designed by James Braid, five times winner of the Open Championship. In 1922, Scottish & Midland Railways took over from Caledonian Railways and the hotel was completed.

A service branch line was built from the nearest railway station at Crieff Junction to bring in building materials and this was later kept for passengers to the hotel. Permission was sought from Lord Camperdown of Gleneagles House, some 3km to the south, to change the station name to Gleneagles. Permission to name the hotel Gleneagles was 'neither sought nor granted' and the Haldanes of Gleneagles were not amused at the time.

The hotel was opened in 1924 with a burst of publicity, targeted very successfully at the upper end of the market, attracting visitors from America and all over Britain, some flying in by private plane. Golf has always been important at Gleneagles and its courses were internationally renowned from the start; the first major tournament was held on the King's Course in 1925, and the Prince's Course was opened as a 9-hole course in 1930.

During World War II, the hotel was requisitioned and used as a hospital and convalescent home. Since the War, Gleneagles has seen the development of televised Pro-Celebrity Golf and the opening of a new course in 1980, the Glendevon Course. In 1981 Gleneagles Hotel plc acquired several hotel properties from British Transport Hotels and began a phase of renovation at The Gleneagles Hotel. The hotel was stonecleaned and restored and new bedrooms were added. A new Country Club was opened in the converted court buildings to the north of the hotel, designed by Cobban and Lironi of Glasgow, and a water garden was developed around the new building. Some housing development has been added to the grounds, well screened from the hotel itself, and executive suites have also been built near the hotel. The King's Course has been extended to almost 7,000 yards.


  • 20th Century (1901 to 1932)
  • Early 20th Century (1901 to 1932)
Associated People
Features & Designations


  • Historic Environment Scotland An Inventory of Gardens and Designed Landscapes in Scotland


  • Garden Terrace
  • Hotel (featured building)
  • Description: The Gleneagles Hotel is a large, five-storey square building. It has a traditional Scottish tower at the west entrance and a wide sweeping Georgian bow on the south front which is mirrored by the terrace below.
  • Earliest Date:
  • Latest Date:
Key Information





Principal Building



20th Century (1901 to 1932)





Open to the public





  • Historic Scotland