• Francine Beaton

Edinburgh Royal Botanical Garden

The Royal Botanic Garden in Edinburgh was the highlight of my recent visit to the Scottish Capital, even though the wind blew a gale and I couldn't visit the glasshouses as it was considered to be dangerous.

It is only a mile north of the city centre and is easily accessible by bus or taxi – that is if you do not want to talk. According to their website, you can get a beautiful view of the city but I, of course, only searched for flowers and didn't look at the skyline.

If you go, be prepared to walk. The garden is set in over 70 acres of beautiful landscape. But you don't have to worry finding a place to sit. Benches are scattered throughout the garden where you can rest your weary feet or just chill on a late afternoon.

The Botanics, as the garden is affectionately known, is probably beautiful any time of the year. My visit coincided with early autumn, and even then, I was not disappointed even though only a few trees and the scattering of fallen leaves indicated that autumn was just around the corner.

Strong winds don't help if you want to photograph flowers, but I managed to get at least some. (I wonder why they were all pink?).

A highlight is a tour of the garden's 10 magnificent Glasshouses including the Victorian Temperate Palmhouse and Tropical Palmhouse, which I couldn’t see, unfortunately. With ten different climatic zones, from steamy tropics to arid desert, the Glasshouses are home to over 3,000 exotic plants from around the world. Other highlights include the Rock Garden, the Alpine Houses, Woodland Garden, Pond, the Arboretum or tree collection, the Chinese Hillside, the Rhododendron Collection and the Scottish Native Plants Collection in the Heath Garden.

With wide open pathways, the garden is easily accessible for wheelchairs.

Several large hedges divided the Garden into different sections, making you wonder what you will find around the next corner.

Of course, everywhere in the garden, you will find these quirky elements or just a feature that makes it different from other gardens. I later find that I was looking for these more than I did for flowers. (Oh, the birds are actually on glass doors near the entrance.)

Several water features added to the tranquility of the garden, and a peaceful haven for water birds.

Next time you are in the Scottish capital, take the time to visit the gardens. It is well worth the visit. And check out their website for special events throughout the year.

Useful Information


Open daily

Oct and Feb: 10:00 to 17:00

Nov-Jan: 10:00 to 16:00

Mar-Sep: 10:00 to 18:00

Closed 25 December and 1 January.

Library & Archive: Mon-Fri: 10.00-16.00 (excl. public holidays).


Garden entry FREE

Glasshouses admission: Adult £7.00, Concession £6.00, Child (15 and under) Free. Includes voluntary donation. Standard Adult £6.30, Concession £5.40.

Email the garden

+44 (0) 131 248 2909

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