The Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh (RBGE) is a scientific centre for the study of plants, their diversity and conservation, as well as a popular tourist attraction. Originally founded in 1670 as a physic garden to grow medicinal plants, today it occupies four sites across Scotland — Edinburgh, Dawyck, Logan and Benmore — each with its own specialist collection. The RBGE's living collection consists of more than 13,302 plant species, whilst the herbarium contains in excess of 3 million preserved specimens.

The Edinburgh botanic garden was founded in 1670 at St. Anne's Yard, near Holyrood Palace, by Dr. Robert Sibbald and Dr. Andrew Balfour. It is the second oldest botanic garden in Britain after Oxford's. The plant collection used as the basis of the garden was the private collection of Sir Patrick Murray, 2nd Lord Elibank, moved from his home at Livingston Peel in 1672 following his death in September 1671. This site proved too small, and in 1676 grounds belonging to Trinity Hospital were leased by Balfour from the City Council: this second garden was sited just to the east of the Nor Loch, down from the High Street. The site was subsequently occupied by tracks of the North British Railway, and a plaque at platform 11 of the Waverley railway station marks its location.

In 1763, the garden's collections were moved away from the city's pollution to a larger 'Physick Garden' on the west side of Leith Walk. In the early 1820s under the direction of the botanist Daniel Ellis and several others, the garden moved west to its present location as the 'New Botanic Garden' adjacent to Inverleith Row, and the Leith Walk site was built over as Gayfield Square and surrounding development. The Temperate Palm House, which remains the tallest in Britain to the present day, was built in 1858. A small section of the Leith Walk garden and planting still exists in the gardens in Hopetoun Crescent.

In 1877 the City acquired Inverleith House from the Fettes Trust and added it to the existing gardens, opening the remodelled grounds to the public in 1881. The botanic garden at Benmore became the first Regional Garden of the RBGE in 1929. It was followed by the gardens at Logan and Dawyck in 1969 and 1978.

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User Reviews

kojiki123 (2 years ago)
AWESOME ,AWESOME, AWESOME - a very romantic place where I found spring a few days ago, all these lovely, snowy and white snowdrops are one of the most beautiful in the world. So tiny but so nice. Not talking about all the other flowers, plants and trees both outdoors and indoors. I really love coming here at the beginning of spring.
SIMPLY ENGLISH EDINBURGH (2 years ago)
Fantastic place to visit! Amazing that it is free. Really looking forward to visiting the Christmas exhibition tickets are £16 and need to be booked in advance but I reckon it will be worth it! Suitable for all ages! A wonderful family day out.
Nicola Robinson (2 years ago)
Amazing place to go visit in winter or summer. Great for all ages and occasions. I really like the greenhouse. There is also a really nice cafe inside and toilet facilities. It’s around 25 minutes walk from the city centre.
Pauline Connolly (2 years ago)
Wonderful oasis in the middle of the city, ideal for getting away from the hustle and bustle. There are wonderful walks through amazing specimens and the tropical houses are lovely. On one of our many visits we saw the giant smelly plant which only flowers every 100 years! Painting activities etc are often laid on for kids and the cafe provides good quality snacks.
Hazel Birse (2 years ago)
We went to the lights night here over Christmas having gone to the same event last year. I am happy to say it did not disappoint. The lights were fantastic! Different to last year which was a nice change. Great for all the family. We loved the marshmallow stall. Would highly recommend.
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