Some weekends, you just can’t be bothered sitting in the car to escape the city. You don’t really want to have to deal with the Saturday morning congestion, the families heading for the countryside and others going to the supermarket. And then you think, ‘Why don’t I just stay put and explore my backyard?’
So this weekend, we slept in. We watched the midday sunshine over Arthur’s Seat from our window, and then we packed a rucksack and hit the streets.
Edinburgh’s Royal Botanic Gardens are within easy reach of the city centre and the surrounding areas. The approach takes you through the tame streets of Canonmills and Stockbridge, the cafe culture relighting with the spring weather. We paused for a filling bowl of soup at the Water of Leith Cafe Bistro before turning towards the Botanics’ East Gate.
Our only experience of a botanic garden before had been Glasgow’s West End (we were hopeless devotees before we moved east). We’d heard that Edinburgh’s was on a much bigger scale but — to be honest — we weren’t too bothered about size. We just wanted to explore and feel like we’d escaped the city bustle.
And nature — whether in actual wilderness or walled within one of the tallest traditional palm houses on the planet — has a wholly calming effect that resets your batteries. So here are a selection of photographs from our two hours in the glasshouses, passing through ten climates from rainforest and arid desert to the tropics. A relaxing evasion from work and city life, wouldn’t you agree?
The magical Orchid and Cycad House, the third glasshouse on the tour.
Arid Lands. One of my favourites; our flat has a little collection of cacti 🙂
I couldn’t stop snapping the light in the Ferns and Fossils house. The way it touched the leaves was beautiful.
My favourite cacti on the planet. This image is currently my screensaver!
And when we finally returned outdoors to the cool Scottish spring, this wee guy came to say goodbye. I’d never been this close to a bird before — his features were so delicate! There were also squirrels dashing around the tree trunks; I wonder how tame they are?
Adult entry to the glasshouse is £5.50 which includes a Gift Aid donation. You can wander around the rest of the Botanic Gardens for free. Get travel details by clicking here.
What’s your favourite thing about botanic gardens?