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Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh: An Urban Paradise

Sometimes it’s nice to just get away to a tropical location, with warm temperatures- surrounded by lush and beautiful foliage. And today I'm here to let you know how this is possible here in Scotland. That's right, you heard me correctly. There is a wonderful location here in Edinburgh where you can get away and have a little mini break- The Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh (RBGE). The RBGE is a wonderful place where you can enjoy nature and plants from locations around the world. So, let's explore a little bit more of what this urban paradise has to offer.

Entry is free to the garden grounds and they are quite extensive. I recommend looking at a map to get an idea of what might pique your interest and to also get a proper idea of all there is to do. It certainly is a nice place to walk around and explore the lovely work that is put in place by the hardworking gardeners and staff. On this day, were greeted by the sunshine and even one little, curious resident stopped to check us out.

I have a few favourite locations on the grounds that I will briefly feature in this post. However, my goal is to let the photos do the ‘work’ and the more proper job of highlighting the splendour throughout. First on my list is The Queen Mother’s Memorial Garden which is aptly described as a “celebration of Scotland”. The Queen Mother (Elizabeth II’s mother) was born in Scotland and this garden is a tribute to her and her love of our magnificent country. The Memorial Pavilion is quite exquisite and all the shells and pebbles that make up the building, were collected by school children throughout Scotland. This wee pavilion is truly a relaxing place to go inside, sit, relax, and contemplate its beauty.

Nearby the Queen Mother’s Memorial Garden is the Beech Hedge. Now, you are probably wondering why I’ve mentioned a hedge which might seem a bit mundane. But that’s because this incredible hedge is 8 metres (23 ft.) high and over 100 years old! It’s quite an impressive site to take in and I imagine rather a challenge to maintain.

The last location on the grounds I want to point out takes us to China via Scotland. According to RBGE, they have the “largest collection of Chinese plants outside of China” and were gathered on various expeditions to China by RBGE researchers. Hopefully, the beauty of the setting comes out in the photo below.

The grounds are diverse, and this post can’t do justice to the stunning and serene landscape. I only hope that some of you will be able to visit in person so that you can see and experience it for yourselves. However, our journey does not end there, as we continue on to some of the more popular aspects of RBGE.

The Glasshouses at the Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh are my absolute favourite part. Please note that entry is not free to the Glasshouses and they have a current (as of the writing of this article) cost of £6.30 per adult (or £7.00 with a voluntary donation); children 15 and under are free.

There are ten separate houses, but I’ll feature some of my top choices. As mentioned at the beginning of the post, sometimes we need to get away from the hustle and bustle of the city, but don’t always have the time or finances to jet off to the Caribbean. Therefore, the next best thing is to head to the Glasshouses at RBGE for your tropical getaway.

The first house is the Temperate Palm House, and this Glasshouse is, in my opinion, the crown jewel of them all. It has a gorgeous, Victorian-style exterior and, as soon as you enter, you are greeted with an array of palm trees, warmer temperatures, and beauty all around.

The Tropical Palm House and the Orchid and Cycad House are both a sumptuous fest for the eyes. The warm, humid temperatures instantly transport you to a different, more relaxed frame of mind.

These Glasshouses are a welcome escape during the cooler months here in Edinburgh and can be visited year-round.

Throughout the Royal Botanic Gardens Edinburgh, it’s obvious that they are a research facility that is interested in helping teach visitors about the importance of conservation efforts and taking care of the diverse plants and nature that can be found throughout our planet. One quote on display in the ‘Food Forever: Biodiversity for Resilience’ exhibit in the main welcome centre sums up a simple but important takeaway message, “Plant diversity enables human innovations, adaptation and resilience”- Paul Smith, Secretary General, BGCI.

If you’re interested in learning more about a visit to the Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh, you can check out their website here.

Until next time- Explore & Discover!

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