Balfour Castle and the Island of Shapinsay
Balfour Castle was the creation of two distinguished men; David Balfour, the 4th Laird of Balfour and Trenaby and David Bryce, the pre-eminent Scottish architect of his generation and leading exponent of the Scottish Baronial style. Bryce's designs incorporated the old Balfour house of Cliffdale, described by contemporaries as a "finely proportioned Georgian villa".
The very first Balfour to arrive in Shapinsay planted trees in the late eighteenth century. These new plantings grew into the magnificent woodlands we see today. Not only is this now the largest wooded area in Orkney but the trees also provide excellent shelter for the Castle and the Victorian walled garden.
Balfour architect David Bryce also designed the two-acre walled kitchen garden which still fulfils its primary function of providing the Castle's kitchen with its fresh produce right the way through the year.
Traditional Sunken Gardens
The traditional sunken gardens sit just to the west of the main house. After the Second World War they fell into disrepair but today they have been lovingly restored and incorporate a delightful water feature and recently planted maze. Ladies Walk leads to the walled gardens, the path’s width designed to accommodate the full skirts of the ladies' Victorian dresses. Follow in their footsteps in more modern attire such as wellingtons, perhaps not as elegant but infinitely more practical.