House, Gardens & History

Dougarie was built as the sporting lodge for the 11th Duke of Hamilton around 1865 and until the 1970s had antlers adorning the external walls. The Duke married Princess Marie of Baden and it is thought that her European connections and perhaps the strong influences from Bavaria and Hungary gave rise to many of the unique features such as deerskins on the passage walls, antler door handles and a window over the main fireplace.

Beyond the Lodge, is the Towers and the plans for the ruinous castellated style were drawn in 1875 by John Currie, although there were previous buildings on this site.  The Towers includes two domestic residences, kennels and various outbuildings, currently used by the gamekeeper to the estate.

The game larder, built in 1883, is a large dodecagonal building of a similar style to the Bavarian summer house at Brodick Castle (also formerly owned by the Dukes of Hamilton).

In 1885 a large boathouse, built out of local red sandstone was built not only for launching boats but also for parties and entertaining guests.

The gardens were added in 1905, built as a castellated folly to celebrate the marriage of the daughter of the 12th Duke of Hamilton to the Duke of Montrose. It was designed by James Mather, who was the architect for many of the other buildings on the Island.

Semi hardy plants grow happily due to the Gulf Stream and the garden is terraced on three levels.

The garden is open to the public once a year and by appointment for garden societies and touring groups.


The Estate dates back to 1865 when the 11thDuke of Hamilton chose to build his summerhouse here and they continued to add the other buildings surrounding the Lodge over time.

The Hamilton, Montrose and Gibbs families have overseen the stewardship of the Estate over the last 150 years and we see ourselves as the custodians for future generations.