AFTER a long, wet winter it appears that spring has finally arrived in Scotland.

As the sun comes out and flowers start to bloom Scots are being encouraged to visit one of the country’s many gardens and estates overseen by the National Trust for Scotland (NTS).

A recent survey conducted by the heritage charity found that 48% of respondents ranked gardens and country estates as their favourite place to spend time outdoors, with 95% stating that spending time outdoors effectively reduces stress.

“As spring progresses, it’s joyful to see our places come to life around Scotland, through the plants that they grow,” said Ann Steele, head of gardens and designed landscapes at the National Trust for Scotland.

READ MORE: Scottish woman hospitalised in brutal Highland cow attack

“Our charity is privileged to care for 38 gardens across the country, and as the weather becomes warmer and days become longer, each place changes as leaves unfurl and flower buds burst and we’re excited to share with visitors the beauty of nature and the stories of our gardens and the plants and wildlife that thrive there.”

While the NTS looks after more than 100 properties around Scotland, we’ve highlighted five of the best gardens and estates which make the perfect springtime daytrip.

Brodie Castle and Estate, Moray, Highlands

Brodie Castle & Estate is home to a national collection of rare daffodils. 

Visitors can view over 200 different varieties, each different in shape, size, and form, creating a memorable and fragrant floral walk.

The National:

Across the estate, you can also witness mature rhododendrons bursting into flower this spring.

Families can make a day of it by exploring the adventure playground behind the castle, after meeting one of Scotland’s biggest rabbit sculptures in the playful garden and spotting the wildlife around the pond.

Threave Garden and Nature Reserve, Dumfries and Galloway

Threave Garden boasts more than 360 varieties of daffodil, with the collection dating back to 1872. 

However, it’s not just daffodils that Threave is known for. It also oversees Keltonhill Wood, which is carpeted in spring with bluebells, and the walled garden where you’ll be able to see blooms including iris reticulata ‘Katharine Hodgkin’, and the pink and white blossoms of the apple and pear trees.

Those looking for a more exotic sight this spring can walk among cacti, orchids, and bromeliads in the warmth of the glasshouse.

Greenbank Garden, Glasgow 

Nestled in the southside of Glasgow, Greenbank Garden hosts over 3600 named species of plants.

These include more than 500 different varieties of daffodils, found within the historic walled garden or throughout Greenbank’s five-acre woodland shelterbelt.

From cherry blossoms to magnolias , primulas and bergenia, there’s no shortage of things to see at Greenbank.

Branklyn Garden, Perthshire

Located within walking distance of Perth city centre - requiring a short but scenic jaunt over the River Tay - Branklyn Garden is one of Scotland's most unique gardens. 

As well as a renowned alpine flowers collection it also has giant lillies, lady-slipper orchids and blue poppies, with their season starting in May and continuing into June. 

The National:

There's even a small café where visitors can relax after a leisurely walk around the garden. 

Pitmedden Garden, Aberdeenshire

Pitmedden is a recreated Scottish Renaissance walled garden, with a fascinating blend of historic formal design and 21st-century sustainable planting.

The garden’s fruit trees, trained against the historic walls, are starting to blossom as the season progresses.

And with 20,000 annual bedding plants making up the parterres at the heart of the garden, there’s no shortage of colour to come later in the summer.