“ The Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh is both a scientific institution and a tourist attraction. It was originally founded in 1670 as a physic garden to grow medicinal plants. Today it occupies four sites across Scotland Edinburgh, Dawyck, Logan and Benmore each with its own specialist collection. The Edinburgh botanic garden was founded in 1670 at St. Anne's Yard, near to Holyrood Palace, by Dr. Robert Sibbald and Dr. Andrew Balfour. It is the second oldest botanic garden in Britain after Oxford's. In 1763, the garden's collections were moved away from the city's pollution to a site on the road to Leith, and the garden moved to its present location at Inverleith in 1820. The Temperate Palm House, which remains the tallest in Britain to the present day, was built in 1858. „
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I have recently rediscovered the botanics and found it to one of the best places in Edinburgh to just chill out and be calm - not being a particularly calm person myself. The atmosphere there is very tranquil, lots of kids, but because it's so big you don't feel as interrupted by their noise as you would in a museum, for example. PLEASE shut up!, oops, got caught giving the parent a withering look! I too used to go there with my mother as a very young child, and loved feeding the squirrels, watching the ducks and picking the heads off the flowers! I try not to do that anymore! In the centre of the gardens is a group of Victorian glass houses which contain a variety of different tropical trees, plants and flowers. There is an optional donation of £3/£1.50 adults/concs (it doesn't cost anything to get into the gardens anyway). You are not under any pressure to give the donation, but the houses do cost a lot to maintain , so i would recommend that you give them at least something if you can afford it. My favourite of all the houses is the cycad and orchid house, situated in the main glasshouse. The air is always moist and humid and you can pretend that it's summer in the middle of winter, although, if you wear glasses you get all steamed up and look a bit silly. There is also a new peat bog site (don't laugh, it attracts gorgeous butterflies in the summer) , a lovely patch of wild flowers - poppies, cornflowers and daisies in the summer and a great chinese garden with bridges, pagodas and water features. And really big frogs! The gardens attract a variety of wildlife, including geese, swans, squirrels, wierd insects, domestic cats!, turtle doves, wood pigeons, foxes and little boys. If you go later on in the day, you are more likely to see the foxes, and sometimes their cubs. Botanical gardens, boring? Well, these ones aren't . The feeling there is of suspended time and it's a really relaxing w ee oasis of calm. Plus, the gardeners are surprisingly good looking! And Friendly - ask them questions and then just stare at their eyes! Now I feel like a horrible gardener molester! Wheel chair access is O.K, despite the steep hill, and there are toilets situated around the gardens and at the main house and shop. Opening times vary throught the seasons. The main house, which used to own the whole site, is situated at the top of the hill and is used as an exhibition and activity centre, with a nice, reasonably priced, cafe adjoined.