Victorian Glasshouse at Royal Boranic Garden Edinburgh
Credit: Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh

The Glasshouses RBGE

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Mon 5 Sep 2016

We go to the Royal Botanic Garden in Edinburgh quite a lot as a family, but we’d never been inside The Glasshouses until our visit last week. There is a small entrance fee, which has put us off in the past. But as a quarter of their living collection is housed there, we thought it was time we had a look.

Victorian Glasshouse at the Botanic Gardens in Edinburgh

The original Victorian Palm Houses are a beautiful landmark in the gardens. The Tropical Palm House was built in 1834 and has the garden’s oldest plant at its centre, the 200 year old Sabal Bermudana. The Temperate Palm House opened in 1858 and was the tallest structure of its kind in the UK at the time. The glasshouses have been extended and refurbished over the years and there are now 28 of them. 10 of which are open to the public. The main entrance and ticket desk are located in the Temperate Palm House.

The first thing that struck me was the heat and humidity inside. The temperature reaches up to 25ºC and 95% humidity in certain areas. The ‘Plants & People’ section was quite uncomfortable, but it was also one of the most interesting parts. We had waited until the summer to visit, so that we could see the pond filled with giant water lilies. The kids loved watching the fish too.

The Temperate Palm House

We saw so many weird and wonderful plants from warmer parts of the world – palms, orchids, cycads, ferns, cacti and all sorts of tropical vegetation including bananas and cocoa beans. It was fascinating and well worth the entrance fee of £5.50 per adult (the kids went free).

Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh, Arboretum Place, Edinburgh, EH3 5NZ