There have been magical and festive trails before but I think this might be my first night walk for Jo’s Monday Walks. Our adventure at the Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh began in a forest of lights and with very large snowflakes.

Then just around the corner I discovered a multicoloured vista.

And if you are thinking you have seen this before somewhere then you would be right. Debbie shared a similar delight a few years ago, after a visit to Christmas at Kew.

Apparently the Royal Botanical Garden Edinburgh, Royal Botanical Gardens Kew, Dunham Massey, Bedgebury, Belton, Stourhead and Blenhim Palace all commission the same Christmas events promoter – Raymond Gubbay. And you can see why! Year on year they create a magical (albeit expensive) experience.

Eventually the music finished and it was time to continue to explore our Christmas trail. I had seen a hint of it through the trees, and as with the baubles it was one Kew had presented first a year or two ago. Didn’t make it any less magical though.

The installation is called Voyage, and was created by Italian art and design studio Aether and Hemera. The changing lights and music are so much nicer than fireworks, although as you will hear in my next video MrB’s niece was worried about the ducks!

The voyage was meant to take us on to a scented garden, however all we could smell was the paraffin! So I’ve decided to miss out this part of our walk from today’s post especially as this weekend I am thinking we are all in need of a little bit of magic in our lives. So let’s jump ahead to the magical path where reindeer and Christmas decorations appear as you walk, and some of our host’s limbs seemed to disappear!

The next illumination was probably my favourite or maybe it just reminded me next month is squares! There is just something rather special about buildings being lit up, especially when it is an 19th century glasshouse. The Temperate Palm House is the tallest traditional Palm House in Britain, and cost Β£6,000 to build (equivalent to just under Β£750,000 today). It is 21.95 metres tall and made of Glaswegian sandstone.

Eventually I dragged myself away from the technicolor squares, and found myself under a twinkling night sky. Irresistible; no wonder it was a favourite for selfies!


At the end of the tunnel, or cathedral as some call it, we came across another historic building reflecting perhaps that the Royal Botanic Garden is the second oldest in Britain. The oldest botanical garden can be found at the University of Oxford. The Edinburgh garden began life in 1670, it has had four locations in that time which make me question how it can be the second oldest! Some of the plants have been moved from site to site, as has one of the buildings. The 18th century Botanic Cottage photographed below was moved stone by stone to its current location in 2014-15.

By now we had been walking for an hour but had probably covered less than a mile in that time and there were still enormous presents, laser shows, and far eastern avenues to explore.

Enormous present

However I am going to whizz ahead to Inverleith House, which stood at the heart of Sir James Rocheid’s estate before it became the home in the late 19th century of the Regius Keeper of the Royal Botanic Gardens Edinburgh. The 16th Regius Keeper, Simon Milne, doesn’t live here however, instead Inverleigh House is now home to the official botanical art gallery and is also a rather useful projection screen.

It was a magical walk on our first evening in Edinburgh, and I hope brings you some festive cheer as the countdown begins. Have a fabulous evening wherever you are, and, if you have time for a walk with Jo, enjoy!

33 thoughts

  1. How beautiful. We hope to get to a light show at Trelissick Gardens if the weather improves. It won’t be as dramatic as the one you have shown, but hopefully interesting.

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  2. Becky that is so magical and the tunnel [Cathedral] would’ve been fun to walk through. It looks like the time given to wrapping up warm to go for a walk was well rewarded.

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  3. What a lovely way to spend an evening! Apologies for my late arrival but it was yet another busy day. Your photos and vids recreate the atmosphere beautifully, Becky. Thanks so much for linking πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚

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