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Tulliallan (also known as Scottish Police College)

Pgds 20111121 201942 Tulliallan Castle


The designed landscape at Tulliallan Castle comprises parkland, woodland and formal and informal gardens dating from the 19th century, with some 20th-century developments. The well-maintained formal garden consists of lawns, clipped hedges and rose beds. The layout of a 19th-century Italian terraced garden remains but the terraces are now grassed over. There is also a walled kitchen garden.Tulliallan has been home to the Scottish Police College since the mid-20th century.

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

Tulliallan Castle lies on the north side of the Forth estuary just to the north of the Kincardine Bridge. The site is about 12 miles (20km) distant from both Stirling to the north-west and Dunfermline to the east, and is bounded by the A977 to Alloa on its west side, and by the A985 on its south side. The geology of the area is Carboniferous, with coal measures underlying the estate and with several coal mines in the area. The Lower Series has been worked for limestone, and sand and gravel are also excavated. There are extensive views to the west and particularly to the Ochil Hills to the north. The lodge and offices are visible from the A977 and the extensive area of woodlands is visible from the A985.

General Roy's plan of 1750 shows the old Tulliallan Castle to the west of the road north to Alloa, with three fields enclosed by shelter planting. There was no designed landscape apparent at that time and although extensive woodland plantations are shown to the east, they appear quite separate from the Tulliallan estate. There was no bridge across the Firth at Kincardine in 1750. The new Castle was built on a site to the east of the former Castle in 1815-20, and is set facing west across the river. The designed landscape dates from this period and appears on the 1st edition OS map of 1855. Its extent remains similar today despite the subsequent fragmentation in ownership of the land. Historically, the parks were bounded to the west by the Alloa road and by the Dunfermline road to the south. To the north the parkland extended to the mausoleum, although there are some parkland trees shown in the fields as far north as 'West' Lodge on the north drive, which was lined by an avenue. A large area to the north and east of the estate was planted up as forestry and this area remains under forestry today. The three estate lochs had been dammed between the 1750 and 1855 maps and the North, or Peppermill, Loch supplied the water to the new Castle. Windyhill Farm, south of Peppermill Loch, was the Home Farm. There are 230 acres (93ha) in the designed landscape today.

Landscape Components

Architectural Features

Tulliallan Castle was designed by William Atkinson and built between 1818-20 and is listed A. It is Gothic in style, with castellations and has a main three-storey building attached to two wings; a modern extension has been added to the north wing. The main entrance and porte-cochere is to the east of the Castle. The ancient Castle of Tulliallan lies to the west of the estate and is ruinous, although three storeys still stand. Blackhall Lodge was built in 1908 to the design of Watson & Salmon and is listed B; the lodge gates have been recently restored. The Court of Offices includes the converted farm and stable buildings, garages, estate cottages dated 1719 and a lectern-style Doocot, listed B.

A separate laundry building was built at the same time as the Castle. The Boathouse was built by Mackenzie and Moncur and appears in their catalogue of 1907. They also designed greenhouses for the walled garden which appear in the same catalogue. The West Lodge and Gardens House were built in 1918. Viscount Keith's Mausoleum is now dilapidated and endangered by the mineral workings in the north of the park; it is now the property of Dunfermline District Council. There were many statues and other forms of ornamentation in the formal gardens, most of which were auctioned off in the 1950s. Two statues remain and several urns. The impressive fountain to the west of the Castle was removed in recent years, probably at the time of the sale in 1949.


The 1st edition OS map shows numerous park trees in the parks immediately around the new Castle and extends northwards near to the drives up to Peppermill Loch and up to West Lodge. Many of these trees have since been lost, but there are still some interesting specimen trees near the Castle, of both deciduous and coniferous species, and there are also some newly planted ornamental trees along the main drive. Of particular note are the Quercus robur purpurescens, the cut-leaf beeches and the Cedars of Lebanon near the Castle. At one time there was a collection of some 200 or more varieties of Rhododendrons and Azaleas and, while many of these have been lost, some varieties remain in the gardens west of the Castle. These were used to line the drives all the way up to the lochs, Peppermill or North Loch, Moor Loch and Keir Loch, of 90, 48 and 6.5 acres respectively. Moor Loch was used for curling, boating and fishing, and all the lochs attracted wildfowl. Photographs in the 1920s show the newly built Boathouse. In 1925 there were several miles of well laid out driving roads and rides through the pleasure grounds and many of the footpaths remain in the woods.


Most of the woodlands were purchased by the Government during World War I and felled. By 1923 the Forestry Commission was leasing 112 acres for a nursery, and a large area was recorded as having been planted twenty years previously. Species included Scots pine, larch, beech and oak. Most of the woodland is now in commercial forestry management, some privately owned and some owned by the Forestry Commission.

The Gardens

There are formal gardens laid out along the west front of the Castle in the form of lawns, clipped hedges, and rose beds, with the corners marked out with yew trees. On either side of the central drive are spreading cedars, and a pond and fountain formed a feature at the west end of this formal area until after the war when the fountain was sold at auction and the pond infilled and planted as a rose bed. The latter was removed in recent years to permit lorries to turn into the drive, and in 1984 an urn was placed in this central position.

To the south of the Castle is the terraced or Italian Garden, put in, it is thought, by Admiral Keith's daughter, Baroness Keith. Today this area has been grassed over, but the fine terrace walls remain. The terrace was ornamented with parapets, statues and vases, and was laid out in a pattern in the form of a knot garden. Steps led down from the terrace to the ornamental pond fed by water from Moor Loch.

The Shrubbery was planted to the west of the pond up to the main drive 'in the natural manner' with Rhododendrons, Azaleas and American trees and shrubs, and specimen trees of oak, horse chestnut, and beech. The conifers were planted in different groups for their colour. A cypress hedge now screens the sports pitches to the north from the main drive.

A modern garden has been developed in the courtyard of the residential buildings of the north of the Castle. Two of the fine Italianate statues had been found on the estate, probably originally from the terraced garden, and these have now been placed in the shelter of this courtyard. Gravel paths lead to the statues and are bordered with mixed groundcover planting around the courtyard.

Walled Garden

The walled garden lies to the north-west of the present Castle, adjacent and to the east of the offices. It possibly predates the modern Castle and an enclosure is shown on General Roy's map of 1750 in the same position. At the east side of the Court of Offices on the approach to the walled garden is a new Heather Garden levelled out and planted up in 1974. A 1961 sundial forms a feature in this garden which faces the Doocot. The Orchard lies to the west of the walled area and was formerly lined on the west side by a broad herbaceous border, which has now been put to vegetables. The walled garden itself covers about two acres and has a central west/east dividing wall, which once had glasshouses on its south side. There is still a range of glasshouses on the north wall which once incorporated the Palmhouse, and some smaller glasshouses beyond the garden. In 1842 the Gardeners' Magazine recorded the presence of Vineries, Peach and Pear Houses and the Palmhouse. In the late 19th/early 20th century, Mackenzie and Moncur designed a range of glasshouses, with a central feature for the walled garden. Today the walled garden is in use for vegetables and the former box-edged compartments have been removed to enable a small tractor to get into the garden. Fruit, vegetables and cut flowers are grown for the College and for the students and staff to purchase, and the glasshouses are also used to grow potted plants for the College. The garden is self-sustaining.

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

This designed landscape, which is now run as Scotland's police training college, comprises parkland, woodland, gardens and some outstanding architectural features. The formal gardens and Italian garden are also notable features.

Site History

There are no known design plans remaining of the policies or grounds at Tulliallan. The Countess de Flahault is known to have introduced the Italian Garden and there are old photographs of the estate in the 1900 period.

The traditional owners of Tulliallan were the Blackadders but the lands were purchased in 1798 by the distinguished Admiral, the Hon. Sir George Keith Elphinstone KB. He was the 3rd son of the 10th Baron Elphinstone of Drumkilbo and was created, in 1797, Baron Keith in the peerage of Ireland, with special remainder to his daughter Margaret. In 1803 he was created Baron Keith in the peerage of Great Britain and, in 1814, Viscount Keith. The modern Castle was built between 1818-20, and Viscount Keith died in 1823. He was succeeded by his elder daughter Margaret, Baroness Keith in her own right, who married Auguste Charles Joseph, Count de Flahault de la Billardrie, and later became Baroness of Nairne in 1837. The Countess had a large role in developing the gardens, particularly the formal Terraced or 'Italian' Garden. She died in 1867 leaving five daughters and on her death the Barony of Keith became extinct, but the Barony of Nairne devolved on her eldest daughter Emily who had married the 4th Marquess of Lansdowne. The estate of Tulliallan passed first to her half-sister Georgiana who had married Lord William Godolphin Osborne, nephew of the 6th Duke of Leeds (whose elder brother succeeded his cousin, as 8th Duke), and on her death in 1892, passed to Emily, 4th Marchionness of Landsdowne. She died in 1895, and was succeeded by her son, the 5th Marquess of Landsowne, a distinguished politician.

The estate was acquired in 1901 by Sir James Sivewright who carried out much new building on the estate. He died in 1923 when it was purchased by Colonel Alexander Mitchell, TD DL JP, who was succeeded in 1934 by his son Harold Paton Mitchell MP, author and lecturer, who was created Baronet of Tulliallan and of Luscar in the Province of Alberta in 1945. As Liaison Officer to the Polish Forces in North-West Europe, Harold Mitchell allowed Tulliallan Castle to become the Headquarters for the Polish Forces in Scotland and the Castle was occupied by the President and the Prime Minister of Poland along with the Polish Forces. Memorials of this occupation are in evidence both within the building and the Estate. After the war, in 1949, the Castle and 88 acres of the surrounding policies were purchased by the Scottish Home Department and became part of the Crown Estates, for use as a police training establishment for the whole of Scotland, now known as the Scottish Police College. The Castle and offices were modernised and the first course was run in 1954. New college buildings have been added and the first new block was opened by HM the Queen in 1960. A new heather garden was added in 1972 and training pitches have gradually been constructed since 1954. The Skid Pan was constructed, in the north- eastern corner of the present College Estate, in 1965/66 for Traffic training. The Traffic Division was housed at the same time in what had been former farm and stable buildings at Blackhall.

Associated People
Features & Designations


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


  • Dovecote
  • College (featured building)
  • Description: Tulliallan Castle was designed by William Atkinson and built between 1818-20 and is listed A. It is Gothic in style, with castellations and has a main three-storey building attached to two wings.
  • Earliest Date:
  • Latest Date:
  • Kitchen Garden
  • Lawn
  • Rose Border
  • Garden Terrace
  • Description: The layout of a 19th-century Italian terraced garden remains but the terraces are now grassed over.
  • Earliest Date:
  • Latest Date:
Key Information





Principal Building






Open to the public


Electoral Ward

Kincardine, Culross and Low Valleyfield




  • Historic Scotland