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World-renowned scientific centre for the study of plants, their diversity and conservation
The Royal Botanic Garden has delighted both plantlovers and those just out for a casual stroll for almost two centuries. The Botanics is Edinburgh’s most peaceful tourist attractions, but it’s also a centre for botanical and horticultural research, and houses the oldest botanical library in Britain.
The glasshouses are divided into ten different themed zones. Among them are the Orchids and Cycads House, where some of the species are over 200 years old, and the Plants and People House, with a pond dominated in summer by gigantic water lilies.
The gardens are constantly being remodelled and improved, and there’s usually something new to see: the Rock Garden Stream is one notable recent addition. However, perhaps the main highlight in the gardens is the Chinese Hillside, which focuses on intrepid Scottish plant-hunters of the past such as George Forrest and Robert Fortune. Plant specimens in this area grow in drifts beside winding paths and carved bridges.
The pond, with its resident ducks and swans, and the waterfall in the rock garden area, where a heron sometimes fishes, are particularly popular. If your visit leaves you or them inspired, there’s a small plant centre on site, accessed through the Botanics shop at the East Gate. The latter stocks an array of gifts, stationery and pocket-money toys, as well as a good range of publications about the gardens, plants native to Scotland and horticulture in general.
Royal Botanic Garden
20a Inverleith Row Edinburgh, Edinburgh
Phone: 552 7171
Open Hours: Nov-Feb 10am-4pm daily. Mar, Oct 10am-6pm daily. Apr-Sept 10am-7pm daily
Price: Cost money