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The Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh (RBGE), which will celebrate its 350th anniversary in 2020, is one of the world’s leading botanic gardens. Established in 1760 as a medicinal plant or physic garden at Holyrood, the garden moved several times within Edinburgh until in 1820 it arrived at its present site in Inverleith.
Today, within the 70 acres of the Garden and Living Collection, visitors can see more than 13,500 plant species and over 128,000 plants from more than 150 countries, including one of the largest collections of Chinese plants outside China. Garden highlights include the world-famous Rock Garden, Chinese Hillside, Woodland Garden, Queen Mother’s Memorial Garden and Herbaceous Border.
Just a mile from the centre of Edinburgh, the garden is a delight throughout the seasons. In winter, visitors can escape from the cold and discover ten different climatic zones in the glasshouses. The glasshouses are home to 3,000 exotic plants from around the globe including the largest cultivated collection of Vireya rhododendrons in the world.
An important aspect of RBGE’s work is furthering the appreciation and understanding of the natural world through a programme of public engagement. It hosts regular events and has a far-reaching education offering, from MSc courses to one-day workshops.
Christmas at the Botanics, the garden’s one-mile illuminated trail, now running until December 30, is a major annual event which engages new audiences. In conjunction with the event, the garden is staging Gifts of the Christmas Tree, an exhibition and trail which focuses on plants associated with midwinter festivals – their habitats, their uses, the threats they face – and the work RBGE is doing to conserve some of these most iconic species.
Website: rbge.org.uk Telephone: 0131 248 2909
Opening times: Open daily from 10am except 25 December 25 and January 1. Closes at 4pm in November, December and January, 5pm in February and October, and 6pm March to September.
Admission costs: Admission to the garden is free but there is a charge to get into the glasshouses.
Garden of the Week is in association with Discover Scottish Gardens. For more information, advice and day-out ideas, visit discoverscottishgardens.org