Royal Botanic Garden

Edinburgh, United Kingdom

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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Founded: 1670/1820
Category: Miscellaneous historic sites in United Kingdom


4.7/5 (based on Google user reviews)

User Reviews

Liam Mclaughlin (2 years ago)
***Note - This review only covers their Winter Garden Light Show *** This was a great family outing for Mid December (though make sure to wrap up warm as it's all outdoors). The presentation was great, all the lighting features were set up to make the most of the gardens plant life and features. Took some pretty nice photos. Also half way round they had a epic Santa, took his Xmas cheer job seriously. Kids were mesmerized. Well worth the entry fee.
Dharmesh Parmar (2 years ago)
Beautiful place with lots and lots of different types of plants and trees. There is a waterfall as well and the water flows in between the garden. I especially enjoyed my time in the cafe in the garden which was very peaceful and quiet. You will find description at each place. No entry fees for anyone. It's a photographic place.
tony montana (2 years ago)
If you love plants, you will love Botanic Garden at Edinburgh. Amount of unique plant ☘️ is staggering, you could spend entire day wandering around and try to hunt new species. Depending on time of year could be more or less spectacular ,but always equally amazing. If you love heat , visit Large greenhouse area ( which is paid) to enjoy tropical plants and usually one or another is blooming so always something new is ready to unfold it's beauty. Coffee ☕ available on site in multiple areas. This is one of iconic places which should be visited multiple times to truly appreciate its beauty.
David Weatherley (2 years ago)
Large, beautifully kept gardens with excellent labelling of plants and explanations. The best way to get there is a 23 bus which stops outside the East Gate. The gardens are free to enter; the glasshouses which are charged for are closed for an extended renovation. It is worth paying £1 for a map at the entrance - a helpful man circled the main places to see at this time of year, some of which we would have missed, such as the Alpine house tucked away behind the area under renovation. There is a great view of the city centre from the hill above the Chinese garden.
Katie Paterson (2 years ago)
Gorgeous gardens. Free entry. Always have a wonderful time here! They have lots of different beautiful plants and areas to wander around and see. There’s a couple of ponds, a huge waterfall, rock gardens and a herb/vegetable garden section. Lovely way to spend a couple of hours & it’s nice being able to visit at various points throughout the year to see how it changes.
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