Royal Botanic Gardens  Edinburgh

Royal Botanic Gardens Edinburgh

The Royal Botanic Gardens Edinburgh was first sited at Holyrood Park beside Holyrood Abbey in 1670. It moved to near Leith Wynd in 1675 which stretch from where Cranston Street off the Royal Mile is now to Calton Road. The Physic Garden which was removed due to Waverley Station being built 1763 spent a period of time in Leith Walk 1763 -1820 where it remained before finally moving to its present location at Inverleith in 1820. The Gardens were the imagination of two doctors Andrew Balfour who look after the Royal Gardens at Holyrood House Edinburgh 1695 and Robert Sibbald a physician who collected plant specimens from all over Europe when on their travels, which were look after in the Physic Garden. The two Gardens coming together in 1820 at Inverleith. In the early 1900s a plant hunter George Forrest introduced over 10,000 specimens and the gardens continue to grow to this day. The Cottage in Leith can now be seen in the Royal Botanic Gardens grounds, as it has been rebuilt as it was in Leith. There is also a night light show annually within the Royal Botanic Gardens Edinburgh.

Royal Botanic Gardens Edinburgh 

 John Hope Gateway

Things to See

Royal Botanic Gardens Edinburgh 

The Botanic Gardens have displays of plants from around the world in over 28 hectares of beautifully landscaped grounds. Britain’s tallest Palm House, 100-Year-old hedge over 8 metres high, rock gardens, woodland gardens and arboretum, Pringle Chinese Collection, Azalea Lawn, Alpines and the Winter garden. A variety of animals and there is also a café and restaurant.

 The Glass Houses

Royal Botanic Gardens Edinburgh.

The large glass house in the Royal Botanic Gardens Edinburgh (RBGE) was opening by

HRH Princess Margaret on 25th October 1967, further glass houses were opened to store the many different varieties of plants and flowers. 

Botanic Gardens Glass Houses Edinburgh

Rock Garden

Royal Botanic Gardens Edinburgh 

  The Rock Garden has a collection of over 5,000 plants from mountain, mediterranean and Arctic climates around the world. There are concentrations of plants from China, Europe, Japan, North and South America and South Africa.

 Britain’s Tallest Palm House

​Royal Botanic Gardens Edinburgh

The Temperate Palm house in Edinburgh's Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh opened in 1858 and was the tallest in the UK. It became one of the must see things of its time in the UK as most people had never travelled overseas and the plants and trees were a massive attraction.

Inverleith House

Royal Botanic Gardens Edinburgh.

Inverleith House was built in 1774 for Sir James Rocheid and his family on his estate, which would have covered Inverleith Park, Botanic Gardens and part of Stockbridge. The Botanic Gardens today stands on most of the Rocheid estate.

In 1877 the Botanic Gardens took over all but Inverleith Park of the estate.    

The Gardeners Cottage

Royal Botanic Gardens Edinburgh.

The Botanic Gardens Cottage stood at Shrubhill of Leith Walk and was taken brick by brick and rebuilt in the botanic gardens. The Cottage was the lead gardners house and entrance to the gardens The cottage was designed by the leading architects of the time James Craig and John Adam and built in 1765. 

The cottage also had a classroom to tech Botany to Edinburgh student 

Old Beech Hedge

Royal Botanic Gardens Edinburgh.

The Old Beech hedge stands at circa 8m (156 ft) in Height and 165 m (535 ft) in length. First planted in 1906 with 200 young beech trees, today only 158 trees are in the Hedge. Thought to be one of the oldest hedges in Scotland at over 100 years.

Old Beech Hedge Botanic Gardens Edinburg

Caledonian Hall 

Royal Botanic Gardens Edinburgh.

The Royal Caledonian Horticultural Society built the Caledonian Hall in 1841 to hold flower shows. 20 years later it had a change of use to a Herbarium, scientific reference collection of preserved plants which now has over 3 million specimens.

Alpine House

Royal Botanic Gardens Edinburgh.

The Alpine House provides a strict dry environment for plants All the plants are growing in clay pots and the Alpine House has a manmade climate to imitate the mountainous windy conditions where the plants would naturally grow.

Alpine Garden Royal Botanic Gardens Edin

Chinese Hillside

Royal Botanic Gardens Edinburgh.

The Chinese Hillside garden is planted to recreate a natural Chinese hillside garden setting with over 1600 plants found in the south west of China. The garden opened in 1997 and is the largest collection of chinese plants growing outside China.

 Edinburgh New Town

Lilian Alcock

(Nora Lilian Scott)

Lilian Scott was born in August 1874 and married Nathaniel Alcock in 1905 a professor of physiology at McGill University in Canada. Lilian was the first government plant pathologist appointed in Scotland. She was the pioneer of the study of seed pathology and was honoured in 1935 with and MBE. She was appointed plant pathologist in Department of Agriculture for Scotland at Royal Botanic Garden in 1924 till her retirement in 1937.

The plaque can be seen on the wall of 21c Inverleith Row Edinburgh. 

Lilian Alcock Plaque Inverleith Row Edin

Edinburgh New Town

Inverleith Row

Sibbald House

Sibbald House. RBGE Inverleith Row Edinb