Take a ‘staycation’ in Angus urges MSP

The MSP for South Angus visited Pitmuies Garden earlier this week as part of an effort to highlight the hidden gems of Angus tourism.

Graeme Dey MSP was at the privately owned 19th century walled garden which is open to the public to meet with the owners and discuss possible ways to help expand the foreign and domestic tourist appeal of Angus.

Jeanette Ogilvie, who co-owns and runs the 19th century estate with her husband Ruaraidh, believes not enough is made of what Angus has to offer visitors.

She said: “Angus needs to promote what it has to offer. It’s a terrible thing. We are in a bit of a black hole and then visitors come here and they are amazed at what we have. It’s one of those things.”

According to Ruaraidh there have been around 4,000 visitors to House of Pitmuies and the gardens this year. He said: “We’ve definitely picked up this year. We won’t really know until the end of the year. The gardens are there to be enjoyed by everybody.

“A lot of groups do a circuit of here, Glamis Castle and so on. We need to make it accessible to everybody.”

And Mr Dey believes there is scope to attract more ‘staycationers’, people who holiday at home. He explained: “They make up about 82 per cent of visitors. We need to think about that in Angus. They’ve got so much on their own doorstep that they don’t know about.

“I think Angus has something for everybody pretty much and if we can set up plans designed right to allow them to do what they want to do. It’s about making it easier for them to do that.”

He added: “There is scope for better promotion once the V&A comes to Dundee. We can’t just sit back and wait, we have to be very proactive.”

Jeanette added: “If you’re a real garden enthusiast you would come back every month because you can see the changes in the garden.

“It’s trying to tell people that we’re not a museum. You can bring your children and let them run around and scream and shout because it’s their day out. It’s trying to promote to families that you can have a day out.”