Little Sparta - a garden of magical surprises.

It has been described as the most important garden made in Britain since the war, but  it is also one of Lanarkshire's best kept secrets. Set in the Pentland Hills above the village of Dunsyre, Little Sparta is the creation of the artist and poet Ian Hamilton Finlay. Here you will find a beautiful, shaded place, with trees, flower beds, running streams, bridges, ponds and paths, a place to explore and discover again and again.

But beware! "Certain gardens are  described as retreats," said Finlay, "when they are really attacks." What he meant was that this is a garden of the unexpected, where more than 200  artworks convey  messages about war and revolution as well as poetry and nature.  

You will find secret codes to be translated, learn stories about the Greek and Roman Gods, find a pineapple that turns out to be a hand grenade, stumble on a makeshift guillotine or the conning tower of a nuclear sub. This is a garden of surprises where you are the explorer, and new ideas are encountered at every turn.

Above all, however, Little Sparta is a place of great  beauty, a garden  to dream in as well as explore. Not surprising, then, to learn that it has been voted the most important modern artwork in Scotland.

See website for opening times and admission costs.

Location: Stonypath, Dunsyre ML11 8NG

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