If you’re seeking escape from the busy city centre, head to Edinburgh’s Royal Botanic Gardens, a 72 acre expanse of greenery and plants. It’s a centre of research and conservation, where you can learn about the thousands of plants grown there, and see climate zones from around the world.
Established in 1670, it’s the oldest botanic garden in Scotland. Your visit to the Gardens is like a trip around the world, as you wander through the ten Glasshouses, each built for a different climate zone, including Rainforest Riches, Arid Lands, Orchids and Cycads, and Ferns and Fossils. These also allow you to enjoy the Botanics in any weather!
You won’t be lacking for things to see outdoors too, with collections including the Chinese Hillside, the Woodland Garden, the Rock Garden, and the Scottish Heath Garden. You can also browse the herbarium, which has over 3 million preserved plant species inside.
You might assume that spring and summer are the best times to visit the Botanics, but every season brings a unique experience. See a riot of flowers in bloom in spring, especially in the Rock Garden and Alpine House. Get lost in a sea of green in summer, but still see colour in the Herbaceous Border and the Arboretum.
Admire the changing colours of the leaves in autumn, and spot the fruits and berries appearing in the Glasshouses. Continue to see tropical flowers blooming in the Glasshouses, even in winter, and play in a perfect winter wonderland if it snows. In December, you can also enjoy the annual Christmas at the Botanics trail, where the Gardens are transformed into a dazzling display of illuminations.
Feb & Oct 10am-5pm
Glasshouses close 1 hour before Garden closing time.
Free for under 15s
Find many more curiosities and anecdotes about Edinburgh in our tours around the city.