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Visiting Little Sparta - summer 2016

Little Sparta is open to the public in June, July, August and September on Wednesday, Friday and Sunday afternoons, 2:30-5pm. 

There is no need to make an appointment unless you are organising a visit for a group of 20 or more, in which case, please call Laura Robertson on 07826 495677 or contact her by e-mail

The fee for visiting the garden is 10. You can pay cash on arrival, or pre-pay tickets with a debit or credit card or with your PayPal account. Your pre-payment will appear on our door list; no tickets will be sent.

Select number of visitors

Car parking is about half a mile (700 metres) from the garden and strong footwear is recommended for the track leading up from the car park to Little Sparta.

Please scroll down to see a word of warning about using SatNav to find us.

Dogs are not allowed in the garden.

Text updated 18 August 2016


Little Sparta: a guide to the garden of Ian Hamilton Finlay

By Jessie Sheeler & Robin Gillanders

Birlinn, August 2015, 14.99

This new companion to Little Sparta tells the story of Ian Hamilton Finlay’s extraordinary creation, exploring the underlying themes, and introducing and explaining the significance of the main elements and artworks in each part of the garden. Featuring new photography, as well as archive material, it also shows how the garden has matured and developed over the last 50 years.

front cover

Price including P&P

If you buy from us we retain one hundred percent of the cover price and all funds are reinvested in conserving the garden.

Page updated 13April 2016

Four Fridays in August

This summer our popular minibus transport to Little Sparta will depart from the Scottish Poetry Library, just off the Royal Mile, Edinburgh. Please click on the link for full information.

Buy tickets for Four Fridays in August 2016

Driving Directions - SatNav Warning

Little Sparta is reached from Edinburgh by following the A702 as far as Dolphinton, where there is a right turn to Dunsyre. About a mile after passing through Dunsyre, Little Sparta's car park is on the right hand side.

From Glasgow leave the M8 at junction 6 for the A73, then the A721 at Carluke; continue to Newbigging where there is a left turn to Dunsyre. After about 3 miles, and before you reach Dunsyre, Little Sparta's car park  is on the left.

For satnav users, the postcode is ML11 8NG, but be sure to turn in at our car park and not one of the neighbouring farms. SatNav will direct you to turn off the road near a dilapidated phone box: do NOT follow this instruction. Our carpark is about 1.3 miles closer to Dunsyre, directly adjacent to the road. If you don't see a sign saying Little Sparta, you are in the wrong place.

Photography Policy

Little Sparta in its entirety is protected by copyright. On payment of a 5 fee, visitors may take photographs or video for their own private use or study. However, no images of Little Sparta may be published or broadcast without explicit prior permission from Wild Hawthorn Press  (telephone  +44  (0)1899 810252).

Public Transport and Accommodation

Travelling to Little Sparta by public transport is a challenge. One option is to travel by bus from Edinburgh and then either walk 4 miles from the Dunsyre road end, or arrange to meet a pre-booked local taxi.

You can see the timetable for the  Edinburgh-Dumfries bus service 100/101/102 at TravelineScotland.

There are several accommodation options available locally including bed & breakfast and self-catering.

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Photographs by Andrew Lawson except where noted