Jungles & Deserts: The Royal Botanic Gardens Edinburgh

I have loved visiting this indoor jungle since I was a child, and I was so excited to share the beauty of one of my favourite places in Edinburgh with Stuart….

The Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh delivers world-leading plant science, conservation and education programmes.  Our mission is to ‘Explore, Conserve and Explain the World of Plants for a Better Future’.” [source]

The Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh is a pillar of the city, and one of our most valuable natural spaces to enjoy and learn from. The gardens are home to more than 13,500 species of living plants, which is one of the best collections in the world. These species come from 157 different countries, and 60% of these are gathered from wild specimens. 

As a visitor, we come to enjoy the beauty and peaceful atmosphere of the gardens, while discovering the diversity of plant life, and gaining education on plants and their conservation. However, the RGBE is so much more than that. They are leaders in plant conservation, and horticulture, and achieve excellence as an institution of science. Not only for leaders in the field, or University and College students, but there are plenty of opportunities for the public to get involved in plant education and conservation opportunities. Check out the What’s On section on their website for all of the fantastic events the gardens host. If you are a little too far away to make a visit to the gardens, fear not! there are still plenty of brilliant resources available from the RGBE for you to enjoy! Check out the Science and Conservation section to discover news stories from the gardens, enjoy YouTube videos, unravel tales from the library archives, and so much more plant stuff!

Did you know? Scotland is European hotspot for Cryptogam biodiversity. The word Cryptogam encompass fungi, algae and plants without seeds. These species are individually small, but are ecologically important, and our little country is home to 40-60% of European lichen and moss species.

I have always really enjoyed visiting the gardens, especially the Glasshouses, and that is where our adventure will be today. The iconic Victorian Palm House was first opened in 1834, and since then has grown into the 10 zones of different lands, over 8,000 plants, and a full one acre of glass. It is a spectacle of beauty and intrigue, as well as place of tranquillity, and if you are lucky, peaceful quiet.
Inside the Tropical Palm House is the garden’s oldest palm, at 200+ years old. The ancient giant is an incredible sight, and well worth craning your neck upwards to view. I have always really enjoyed the Ferns and Fossils house, which feels like walking through lands of a time past. I like to pretend there are dinosaurs hidden around every bend!! it makes for a more intense adventure!!

The Royal Botanic Gardens Edinburgh will always have a soft spot in my green planted heart, but I look forward to expanding my plant knowledge in the future by visiting their other locations in Benmore, Logan, and Dawyck… stay tuned…

Royal Botanic Gardens Edinburgh at a glance…

Opening Hours
October and February: 10:00-17:00
November-January: 10:00-16:00
March-September: 10:00-18:00

Entry to the garden is free.
Glasshouses Admission: Adult £7.00, Concession £6.00, and Child (15 and under) Free.

Getting There
Address: The John Hope Gateway visitor centre is accessed via the West Gate, Arboretum Place, EH3 5NZ OR use Google Maps here.

Additional Information
There is metered on-street parking available near the John Hope Gateway.
Bicycle stands can be found at the East Gate and the West Gate.
The West Gate is served by Lothian Buses 29, 42, and 24 via Stockbridge and the East Gate is served by the 8, 23, and 27 from the City Centre.
Visitors with assistance dogs are welcome.  However, pet dogs will not be able to access the grounds.
The gardens are fully accessible.
There is an on-site restaurant in the John Hope Gateway, as well as cafes around the gardens, and a gift shop.

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