St Mary’s Pleasance, Haddington

A private garden maintained by HGT for the public
For more information and photographs of the garden go to the website

Welcome to Haddington Garden Trust and St. Mary’s Pleasance, Haddington.

Haddington Garden Trust (HGT) was established in 1972 by the 14th Duke of Hamilton. The Trust is responsible for the garden, which is known as St. Mary’s Pleasance. A bronze plaque naming the garden is at the main gates. In 1972 Haddington Garden Trust was registered as a Scottish charity, number SC014078.

An aim of the Trust (stated in the Deed of 1972) is: “to preserve the garden as an open precinct to enhance the environment of St. Mary’s Church and Haddington House, and for the enjoyment in all times coming of members of the public.” This aim forms the basis of the ongoing management of the garden for the public today. Because of it being over 40 years since it was first created the various features of the garden are undergoing renewal as part of a rolling 5 year programme

St. Mary’s Pleasance is a heritage walled garden and occupies about 0.65 hectares (1.6 acres) between St. Mary’s Churchyard, Lady Kitty’s Garden and Haddington House, which dates from 1648. The main access to the garden is from Sidegate, one of the oldest streets in the Royal Burgh.

The garden was designed by the architect Schomberg Scott to a specification of the late Sir George Taylor, former Director of the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew. It contains a “mount” and “sunken garden”, both period features of a 17th century garden. Other features are pleached allĂ©es of laburnum and boxed hornbeam and a community orchard that includes a Sprng flower meadow. As far as is possible, all the trees, shrubs and herbs are of a type known to have been in existence in Scotland in the 17th century to reflect a garden that might have been associated with Haddington House .

Of special interest is an Apple House, restored as a memorial in the 1970s by the Douglas-Hamilton family, contains the family crests. It is opened for special events. Elsewhere in the garden are memorial plaques to Sir George Taylor and to all the founder members of the Lamp of Lothian Trust as well as plaques marking the garden’s establishment.

In early June the Laburnum walk is a major attraction and well worth a visit.

Through the year a number of events are held to celebrate the garden and to encourage community use. These have included an Apple Fest, a Teddy Bear’s picnic- with the opportunity to parachute bears, an annual Easter Egg Hunt and throughout the summer guided walks. Further information on events is advertised in the local press. For further information go to

Scottish Charity No. SC014078