'Hanging Gardens of Babylon' inspires seven-figure castle restoration

The castle was previously run as a youth hostel before being bought by Samantha Kane in 2022.

‘Hanging Gardens of Babylon’ inspires seven-figure Carbisdale Castle restoration in the Highlands Strutt and Parker

The owner of a castle in the Highlands has taken the Hanging Gardens of Babylon as inspiration for a multi-million pound restoration project.

Samantha Kane, known as Lady Carbisdale, owner of Carbisdale Castle, says one of the seven wonders of the ancient world provides the backdrop for a £10m plus project to create formal gardens in Sutherland.

The 20-bedroom estate, first built for the Duchess of Sutherland between 1905 and 1917, is to become a members’ club that is hoped to bring in around 90 jobs to the site.

The project, expected to last around three years, aims to also add a three-story spa complex, infinity pool, cinema and 23 en-suite bedrooms to the grounds.

Lady Carbisdale says Babylon gave her the “romantic” idea to plan the gardens in a tiered fashion with work to get underway in the summer.

Samantha Kane, known as Lady Carbisdale, bought the estate in 2022.Lezli and Rose via Lezli and Rose

She told STV News: “There’s always been a plan for a garden around the castle.

“Historically, the castle itself was the owner of the ground around it.

“When I took over, it was apparent that the castle was in need of a formal gardens. I looked at various plans, including the ones already produced.

“I found that inspiration for it is the tiered gardens, going down the hill, with a water feature coming across it. It reminds me of that legendary Hanging Gardens of Babylon.

“It’s where the King of Babylon fell in love with his wife and I thought it was a romantic idea to make the gardens so magnificent that people want to come and perhaps it will become a wonder of modern Scotland.”

The castle was previously run by the Scottish Youth Hostels Association for around 60 years before it was bought by the current owner in 2022.

The interiors of Carbisdale Castle which was run as a youth hostel since 1945.Strutt and Parker

She added: “The most important benefit for the Highlands – if not for Scotland – is the restoration of Carbisdale Castle, and to preserve it for future generations as an important historical and architectural asset.

“We shall be displaying art belonging to the Duchess of Sutherland Collection, and memorable pieces for visitors and guests.

“The castle will be able to earn sufficient income for its upkeep from visiting members and visitors. 

“This will provide an economic benefit to the local economy, and local employment of up to 90 jobs.”

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