The Royal Botanic Gardens of Edinburgh – Edinburgh, Scotland - Atlas Obscura

The Royal Botanic Gardens of Edinburgh

One of the oldest scientific gardens in Britain, containing more than 13,302 plant species in its core collection. 

663
1281

Founded in 1670 as a “physic garden” for the purpose of growing medicinal plants, the Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh is, after Oxford’s, the oldest botanic gardens in Britain.

Nowadays, the RBGE is one of the largest botanic institutions as well, the herbarium housing about three million living specimens and preserved plants, a humongous core collection which represents at least one-half and possibly two-thirds of the world’s species of flora.

With its 72 acres of unusual landscapes and scenery, the RBGE was edified both as leisure gardens and for scientific and educational purposes. With botanical delights from the rock garden to Victorian glasshouses, orchids and cryptogamic plants to the Chinese hillside dotted with pagodas, pond and waterfalls, an afternoon spent strolling the vivid alleys of The Royal Botanic Garden will delight one’s mind as well as raise awareness of nature’s fragile biodiversity.

The Greenhouse also contains the Sabal Palm tree, which may be the oldest in the world at 123 years and counting. However, the oldest living plant at the gardens is one of Britain’s biggest fossilized trees measuring at nearly 35 feet (10.5 meters).  

Know Before You Go

Take one of the Lothian Buses 8, 23 or 27 to the East Gate on Inverleith Row.