Founded in 1670, the Royal Botanic Garden in Edinburgh, Scotland was my favorite place in all of Edinburgh, which is saying a lot because Edinburgh is one of my favorite places I’ve ever been. In fact, my husband and I both agree that we’d love to live here someday. Boasting more than 100,000 plants on 70 acres, some of are more than 350 years old, as well as 10 glasshouses, and 10 different climate zones, this garden is a work of art and an incredible feat of engineering. If ever you find yourself in the Scottish capital, you would be remiss to skip a visit to this gorgeous garden complex.
Royal Botanic Gardens Edinburgh
Location: Edinburgh, Scotland
Address: Arboretum Pl, Edinburgh EH3 5NZ, UK
Admission: Free Garden Admission
£7 Adult Glasshouse Admission
Hours: 10am – 6pm
Closed December 25th and January 1st
Parking: Nearby at Inverleith Terrace
and Arboretum Place
Handicap Accessible: Yes
Visitors of Royal Botanic Gardens Edinburgh can wander the expansive gardens at their leisure, enjoying exotic and endangered plant species, as well as native flora such as ferns and flowers, plus tropical flora like palms, and orchids. Each glasshouse is dedicated to a particular climate, like the Tropical Palm House which is the oldest glasshouse in Edinburgh, and holds the largest and oldest palm tree in the entire garden, or the Ferns and Fossil House, the path of which, shown above, is marked with beautiful plant impressions, reminiscent of fossils.
My personal favorite glasshouse is the Plants and People house, which houses an extensive collection of hybrid Victoria Lilies, scientific name Victoria Amazonica, which are massive lilies that can grow to be up to 9 feet (3 metres) across! They were so beautiful and it was fascinating to learn about them and their life cycles. With proper support, they can hold up to 71 pounds, but something as simple as dropping a pencil a few inches above the leaf would pierce it, meaning a person can’t walk on them unaided. Here are some detailed photos of these rare plants in their various life stages.
There are also many other very rare species housed here, like the Amorphophallus Titanum an endangered Indonesian “Corpse Flower” which has only bloomed three times in the past two decades, and evidently smells terrible, yet never fails to attract thousands of visitors. Those who understand latin might realize how cheeky the name is, but that’s not the only odd thing about this plant. During its peak bloom, the flower reached nearly nine feet tall, making it the largest corpse flower ever recorded. We arrived a few weeks after it was at peak bloom, and it still had a very faint odor, but it was still oddly exciting to witness.
Fans of botany, flowers, the great outdoors, or nature conservation will appreciate this beautiful garden, and understand how significant such vast collections of specimens are to biodiversity, education, and preservation of delicate wild species for generations to come. Just as at Kew Royal Gardens in London, the most biodiverse place in the world, these gorgeous collections are so important for the wellbeing of our planet, the education of our people, and impressing upon visitors how vital it is that we protect our natural resources and act as good stewards of the planet.
We absolutely loved our time here learning about and enjoying nature. We spent roughly 4 hours here and could have spent much longer, but unfortunately we only had a limited amount of time in Edinburgh. I will absolutely return to this gorgeous space during our next trip to Scotland, and I encourage anyone in the area, or who plans to visit in the future, to stop by and enjoy the vast collection of fascinating and impressive plants from all around the world thriving together here in Edinburgh.
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