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
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4.7/5 (based on Google user reviews)

User Reviews

Felicity Ap (4 months ago)
One of the nicest places in Edinburgh. We had a little picnic on the lawn and it was beautiful. So many interesting plants and very aesthetically pleasing. Large enough to be peaceful and spacious without being so large that it’s really tiring to walk around. There are maps at the major intersections. They also do ‘Christmas at the Botanics’ in December, which is a wonderful event and the perfect photo op.
Jaspreet Kaur (5 months ago)
Truly beautiful! My only tip would be to leave a good time slot to visit so that you have time to walk around the whole park. Took off a star just because a lot of the areas within the park that I wanted to see were closed. Definitely worth the visit though!
Andrew Clarkson (6 months ago)
I enjoyed a peaceful stroll about through the giant poppies and rhododendron. Most specimens are labelled, so you can at least find out the real name of something. The beds are well tended and paths clear. As this is a free attraction, it is well worth a good wander and maybe buy a coffee. A shame that the glasshouses are closed at the moment, but the developments planned will add more interest and habitat areas to enhance the collections. I look forward to going back once the development work is completed.
Jacinta Cooke (6 months ago)
What's not to love about this beautiful and interesting garden. Unfortunately long queue at the tiny mobile cafe/van and suspect with a bit more thought/effort catering could be improved whilst cafes are being refurbished/shut. However we were lucky, got the last 2 sandwiches and a bright interlude between rain to enjoy the view. Gorgeous !
paul birrell (8 months ago)
This place is lovely to visit, even if your not into plants it's so colourful and peaceful in parts of it. Great place to switch off and unwind for a few hours As long as its booked in advance mobile scooters are available for the disabled as well at no cost. Although you can pay a £5 donation if your so inclined. There is a nice outside cafe to get good coffee from as well with a reasonable amount of seating available. Only caveat for next couple of years at least is the glass houses won't be open as a major renovation will be on going for this period at least. So don't expect access to any of them for now. Overall it's well worth a visit though.
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