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Little Sparta

Sculptural poetry at landscape scale on a beautiful wild moorland.

  • 4.6

  • from 73 Google reviews

A wooden bench in a grassy field
A wooden bench in a grassy field

1 of 8

About the garden

Set in the Pentland Hills, near Edinburgh, Little Sparta is Ian Hamilton Finlay’s greatest work of art. Finlay moved to the farm of Stonypath in 1966 and, in partnership with his wife Sue Finlay, began to create what would become an internationally acclaimed garden across seven acres of a wild and exposed moorland site.

Collaborating with stone carvers, letterers and at times other artists and poets, the numerous sculptures and artworks created by Finlay, which are all integral to the garden, explore themes as diverse as the sea and its fishing fleets, our relationship to nature, classical antiquity, the French Revolution and the Second World War. Individual poetic and sculptural elements, in wood, stone and metal, are sited in relation to carefully structured landscaping and planting. In this way, the garden in its entirety is the artwork.

Opening times

June - September Thursday - Sunday 1PM – 4PM Last Entry 3PM

Useful details

Garden area

7 Acres

Dog walking

No - Guide dogs only.

Cafe or restaurant

No cafe or restaurant on site


Yes - Children of all ages.

Wheelchair access

Completely inaccessible. Access is via a 700m steep, stony farm track. Access is unsuitable for people with breathing or walking difficulties.



ML11 8NG

Check local coronavirus guidance before you visit

Weather forecast


Find the garden

Little Sparta
ML11 8NG
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Google reviews

  • 4.6

  • from 73 Google reviews

Henry Keazor

5 months ago


In my opinion, the experience of "Little Sparta" surpasses what one can read about it or see in photos: The whole site is indeed much more spacious and expansive, and the synthesis of landscape and art, nature and text is even more subtle than expected. One is constantly amazed at the ingenious relationships that are unobtrusively woven between an object in one place and words in another in such a way that each illuminates the other. The whole thing thus has something of a meditative, poetic treasure hunt, laid out in a highly idyllic landscape in which one feels enraptured. It's wonderful that the whole thing is kept very natural and at the same time without too many visitors and without unnecessary distractions or hectic.... An absolute delight!

Brian Lavelle

a year ago


This garden is magical, a work of art, a haven. It’s probably my favourite garden anywhere and it makes me happy just to be here, enjoying the surprise of hidden artworks around every corner and revelling in Ian Hamilton Finlay’s genius and playfulness. It’s such a beautiful corner of the world and well worth supporting. Go if you can.

Neil Thomson

4 months ago


A hidden gem! Well worth a visit even if it is off the beaten trail. Parking next to the house by arrangement for those that might struggle walking from the car park a distance away. One of the most important sculpture parks even though it is quite small. Ian Hamilton Finlay's vision is astounding.

Annie Tait Chalmers

6 months ago


Beautiful place to visit. Very tranquil

Stephen McBride

2 years ago


It was free for us, so I shouldn't grumble too much, however, we left feeling very disappointed. It seems to have passed it's hey day, and is possibly not cared for as much as it has been in the past. The walkways, paths and public areas are all heavily overgrown with weeds, making it hard to navigate and appreciate.

Contact the garden

07826 495677

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