Established in 1670, the Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh is one of Europe’s oldest botanic garden. Covering an area of more than 70 acres (28 hectares), the garden—which encompasses everything from Victorian glasshouses to a giant water lily pond and a rock garden—is a haven of tranquility in Scotland’s bustling capital city.
Many visitors explore the garden independently, using the John Hope Gateway visitor center to acquaint themselves with the garden’s various sections and layout before exploring at their leisure. For a more in-depth experience, join a drop-in guided tour. Guided tours take place at 2pm on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Thursdays, and Sundays from March through September. Complimentary audio handsets are also available at the visitors’ reception desk.
As well as wandering the open-air gardens, you can purchase admission tickets for the Victorian Palm Houses and the 1960s Front Range glasshouses. Because of its picturesque appearance, the garden is a prime location for private photography shoots.
Things to Know Before You Go
- The Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh is a must-visit for keen gardeners and anyone seeking a quiet escape from the city.
- A restaurant, two cafés, and a shop selling souvenirs, seeds, and gardening equipment are located within the gardens.
- All buildings and most key areas of the gardens are accessible to wheelchair users. The garden’s Benmore Explorer people carrier helps transport visitors with reduced mobility.
How to Get There
The Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh is situated around 1 mile (1.6 kilometers) from Edinburgh city center. Lothian buses 8, 23, and 27 all run to Inverleith Row, where the east gate entrance is located. The No. 8 bus connects Waverley Station with the gardens.
When to Get There
The botanic garden is open year-round. Spring is the best time to visit, when rhododendrons, snowdrop trees, and lilacs are in bloom. Summer weekends are the busiest time, but even then its many different paths and areas to explore rarely feel crowded.
Blooms of the Royal Botanic Garden
The Royal Botanic Gardens Edinburgh encompass some 70 different landscaped areas, presenting a kaleidoscope of flowers and rare plants. Among the standout sections is the Chinese Hillside, home to many of the garden’s collection of wild-origin plants from China. Also worth seeking out is the Rock Garden, which features approximately 5,000 alpine plants, as well as the Victorian Temperate Palm House and the 1834-built Tropical Palm glasshouse, which mimics a rain forest environment.