The capital city of Scotland is well known for many things: the historical and, at times, eerie aura that surrounds it, its medieval apparel, the quality of the beer and whisky produced locally, the countless number of festivals and many other trademark features.
A lot less is known about the wonderful gardens almost hidden away from the eyes of the tourists. For those who enjoy the beauty and simplicity of nature, this guide to the gardens of Edinburgh should come in handy.
Royal Botanic Garden
With a motto that manages to express the essentials of becoming a part of nature – I still believe in miracles – the Royal Botanic Garden is a much needed oasis of tranquillity in an energetic city. It’s easy to get lost walking the pathways lined with magnolias, balsam poplars, lilac and other mesmerising flowers. The carefully selected flowers blossom in different seasons, keeping the garden alive throughout the year.
Some of the major attractions inside the garden are the Victorian Temperate Palm House, Queen’s Mother Memorial Garden or the Chinese Hill, but you definitely need more than one day to soak in the amazing surroundings. Admission is free, though donations are always welcomed. One tip for first-time visitors, though, be sure to get there early as possible as the garden’s closing time is firmly set at 6pm.
Located in close proximity to Edinburgh Castle, the Dean Gardens have bordered the Water of Leith for more than 150 years. The gardens were founded by the locals at the same time as the construction of the outstanding Dean Bridge.
Enhanced with lawns, paved paths through woodlands and a children’s playground, Dean Gardens offer an ideal place to wind down at the end of a busy week. St Bernard’s Well is a favourite spot for many due to its beautiful columns and the romantic, idyllic scene it creates near the Water of Leith.
The gardens are private, so visitors need to apply for a membership that is available to all in exchange for an annual subscription fee of £115. Not the cheapest of options, but well worth it if you are looking to make regular visits.
Dr Neil’s Garden
Right at the base of the steepest slopes of Arthur’s Seat, and adjoining Duddingston Loch nature reserve with its rich wildfowl population, Dr Neil’s Garden is one of the most appreciated gardens in the whole of Scotland. Housing mostly conifers and alpines, the air is remarkably fresh and free of the barley smell often encountered on the streets of Edinburgh.
Perhaps the most unusual feature of the garden is Thomson’s Tower, built in 1825, which
stores the stones of the Duddingston Curling Society. The 12th century Duddingston Kirk located at the edge of the garden gives it a mysterious look, completing the picture. With the exception of any special events organised – and there are quite of few of them – entry is free, although they do always welcome donations from the public.
Some of the rest
Besides the more famous green spaces of Holyrood Park, The Meadows and the open expanses around Calton Hill, Edinburgh has many other smaller, private gardens. Keeping their original early 19th century look, Regent Gardens is a private garden based at the foot of Calton Hill. Ravenswing, Redcroft Garden and the Redhall Walled Garden are all worth to taking into account when planning a trip to a more secluded silent spot.
If you love nothing better than finding a garden as a tranquil retreat in an otherwise bustling city, you won’t want to miss these suggestions. And why not make the move a little closer to them by buying one of the luxury apartments at Quartermile. Find out why Quartermile is fast becoming one of the most desirable districts in the city here.