Visiting the Botanics and Staying Safe
The Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh is open for outdoor recreation and exercise. Please abide by the latest Scottish Government guidance on meeting others and travel.
The John Hope Gateway visitor centre, including the Botanics Shop, is open. All visitors to the Botanics Shop need to book a time slot ticket to visit.
All other public buildings, including the Glasshouses, are closed. A takeaway catering service is available within the Garden.
All visits require a time slot ticket, booked online in advance.
Before you visit, book your time slot
At the Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh the health and safety of our visitors and staff remains a top priority. With this in mind, we have implemented new measures to help to protect you. One new and important measure is the introduction of a time slot ticket, to be booked in advance of your visit.
Whilst entry to the Botanics remains free, we ask all visitors to book a time slot ticket in advance of their visit. This enables us to limit the number of visitors accessing the Garden, to give everyone space and to facilitate physical distancing. Tickets are released every Thursday for the following week only.
Please bring a face covering with you. These are mandatory when visiting any enclosed area of the Garden, including toilet facilities. For exemptions, see our health and safety measures below. Read on for details of more actions we are taking to help keep you safe.
Book your time slot
With 70 acres to explore and a history dating back 350 years, there is much to see at the Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh. Find out more.
Support us today, safeguard our future
As a charity, we need your support more than ever before. Whilst our Gardens were closed, we lost a large proportion of vital income which helps to fund our international research and conservation work. Please consider joining our support community by becoming a member or make a donation to help us to protect the world of plants.
- When is the Garden open?
The Garden is open every day from 10am - 5pm. Last time slots are 4pm. Please do not arrive before the time slot you have booked and you have 30 mins afteryou booked time to enter the Garden. To learn how to book a time slot, read on.
- How long can I stay?
Once you have entered the Garden, you can stay as long as you like. The Garden will close daily at 5pm.
- Are both entrances open?
Yes. Entry at the west side of the Garden is through the gate on Arboretum Place, 100 metres south of the main John Hope Gateway entrance. Signs on Arboretum Place will direct you there. Entry at the east side of the Garden is through the usual entrance on Inverleith Row.
- Will there be queues?
By creating time slots for visitors and by limiting capacity, we aim to keep queueing to a minimum. However, on busy days, it might be necessary to operate a queueing system outside the entrance(s). You will be asked to queue at a safe distance of two metres apart and continue to observe physical distancing guidelines once inside the Garden.
Time Slot Tickets
- How do I book a time slot ticket?
Time slots are available to book online. All visitors must select a day to visit and book a time slot in advance. Tickets are released every Thursday for the following week only. Everybody requires a time slot ticket including carers, members, children and babies. This enables us to manage visitor numbers in the Garden effectively. Unfortunately, if you arrive without a ticket, you will not be admitted. Bookings can be made for up to a maximum of six tickets. Please ensure you are abiding by the latest Scottish Government guidelines on group size and meeting others. Children under the age of 14 must be accompanied by an adult.
- How does the new time slot system work?
There are half-hourly time slots available throughout the day between 10am and 4pm and details can be found online when you book.
Following booking, you will receive a confirmation email. Your chosen time slot, that is your entry time into the Garden, will be displayed on the top left corner of your ticket(s) which will be attached to your confirmation email.
To reduce queueing, please do not arrive before your chosen time slot. You have up to 30 minutes after your selected time slot to gain entry.
- Is this time slot system temporary?
Yes. It has been introduced to limit the number of visitors accessing the Garden at any given time, allowing everyone to have some space and encourage physical distancing of two metres apart.
Health and Safety Measures
- What health and safety measures are in place to protect visitors?
- You will receive a warm welcome at a distance.
- Time slot tickets and limited visitor capacity will give everyone more space.
- Visitor capacity is monitored to facilitate physical distancing.
- Before you visit, please make sure that you are following the current Scottish Government guidelines on travel and meeting others.
- There are hand sanitiser units at entrances and other points within the Garden.
- There are protection screens at receptions.
- Contactless payments only.
- PPE is available for our staff.
- There is helpful, directional signage within the boundaries of the Garden.
- Please observe two metre physical distancing in line with Scottish Government guidelines.
- Toilets, including additional temporary facilities, are open but please observe maximum limits.
- How is physical distancing managed?
The Garden, which is 72 acres, is currently open to a maximum capacity of 2,200 visitors per day. This capacity is well below our usual daily visitor number during this season. We may increase capacity when we feel that it is safe to do so.
There are physical distancing guidelines at the entry points and prominent signage within the Garden to serve as a reminder to visitors that they must observe a two-metre distance from each other.
Within the Garden, there is a one-way system in operation on some paths and in areas including the Chinese Hillside, the Queen Mother’s Garden and the Rock Garden. There is prominent directional signage on display to guide you. Signs also indicate areas which may be temporarily closed.
We have set the visitor capacity at a sufficiently low level to enable all visitors, including the elderly, vulnerable or shielding, to keep their distance from others.
- Do I need to bring a face covering?
Face coverings are required in all enclosed spaces, including the toilet facilities. Exemptions include children under five, visitors with breathing difficulties or those with disabilities when the wearing of a face covering would be distressing or make communication difficult.
Toilets and other facilities
- What buildings are open for visitors?
The Garden’s outdoor space remains open. The Terrace Cafe and East Gate Coffee Bar are open for takeaway service only. The John Hope Gateway visitor centre, including the Botanics Shop is open. All visitors to the Botanics Shop need to book a time slot ticket to visit. All other public buildings, including the Glasshouses, are closed.
- Are toilets open?
Toilets, including temporary mobile facilities, are available at the West and East Gate entrances. Accessible toilets are available in the Fernhouse Toilets in the centre of the Garden and at the Botanic Cottage. New hygiene measures are in place, with more frequent cleaning and reduced capacity for using toilets. So, please do bear in mind that you may need to queue. Baby changing facilities are available in the accessible toilets.
- Are guided tours available?
There are no guided tours at this stage.
- Are there storage facilities for visitors?
Unfortunately, there are no storage facilities for children’s scooters, balance bikes or cycles. The lockers are not in service during this time.
Food and Drink
- Are refreshments available on site?
The Terrace Cafe and East Gate Coffee Bar are open for takeaway service only.
Visitors are welcome to bring their own food and drink, including picnics, into the Garden. Unfortunately we are not be able to provide water refill stations at this time. Barbecues and alcohol are not permitted.
Card payments only being accepted currently.
- Can I hire a wheelchair or mobility scooter?
Mobility scooters and wheelchairs are available for hire at no extra cost. There is limited availability so we highly recommend booking in advance by calling 0131 248 2909 or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org
- Blue Badge parking
There are six Blue Badge parking spaces located on Arboretum Place to the left of the West Gate entrance, and a further three spaces opposite to the left of Inverleith Park's entrance gate.
More information on the accessibility of the Garden can be found in the Access section of our website.
If any of our visitors sustain minor injuries during their visit, our staff will assist at a safe distance of two metres away. They will be wearing PPE. Whilst our staff will not be able to treat minor injuries directly, they can offer first aid supplies so that visitors can treat themselves. In an emergency, staff will follow normal emergency procedures and call 999.
Please note that to ensure the safety of our visitors, the Garden can close at short notice during extreme weather. Always check our website before you visit.
What you can do to help us
Please follow these additional guidelines below:
- If you have Covid-19 symptoms, or fall into one of the vulnerable groups, please stay at home and do not visit the Garden. If you or anyone in your household has symptoms of coronavirus you must continue to self-isolate.
- Plan ahead and check information on our website before you visit. Make sure you have pre-booked your time slot online.
- When you are outside for leisure, exercise or work it is still important to practice physical distancing. We ask that all visitors help us by observing physical distancing guidelines. Please maintain a two metre distance from our staff and other visitors.
- Please bring a face covering with you. These are mandatory when visiting any enclosed area within the Garden, including the toilets.
- Wash your hands for 20 seconds after using the facilities and use the hand sanitiser dispensers at every opportunity.
- Please do not expect all facilities to be open immediately. Like many places, we have a phased approach to re-opening while we work to make them safe.
- If you go somewhere and it looks busy, it is probably too busy and you'd be best to go somewhere else. It is crucial that we all maintain physical distancing to limit the spread of coronavirus.
- As a charity, we need your support more than ever. When you visit, please give a donation on your arrival or exit. Your much-needed contribution will help us to explore, conserve and to protect the world of plants.
- If you require any further information or have an enquiry about your visit, please contact us at email@example.com or call 0131 248 2909. Also, follow the latest Scottish Government advice.