Botanic Cottage Appeal

Can you help us develop a truly unique new centre for learning at The Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh?

Between 1764 and 1821, the Botanic Cottage was the centrepiece of the earlier Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh (RBGE) site on Leith Walk, and housed a lecture theatre in which generations of students were inspired in science and medicine. Long after we moved to Inverleith, the Cottage became threatened with demolition, but a dedicated group of enthusiasts secured the support of the Heritage Lottery Fund to document and dismantle the building stone by stone. You can read more about its history here.

Project vision

The components are currently stored in our Nursery, and we now hope to reconstruct the Botanic Cottage from its original materials to preserve its heritage and meet some key needs at RBGE and in the local community. It will provide an all-weather hub for learning in our Demonstration Garden, in which we will inspire and educate a new generation of young Scots as well as expand popular community gardening projects. 

The need for the project

10,000 pupils per year currently visit RBGE’s Gardens for formal education, which helps local schools deliver the curriculum and fosters in children a long-term interest in plants, the environment and healthy living. A principle focus is hands-on learning in the Demonstration Garden, where children learn the basics of horticulture using their own plots. The lack of a facility here limits the number of groups we can cater for, especially during adverse weather – the conditions experienced this summer led to the cancellation of many sessions. The reconstruction will come at a time when we are redeveloping the Demonstration Garden to offer more opportunities for interactivity, community involvement and play, and the Botanic Cottage will sit centrepiece within this new design to provide the shelter and facilities which are much-needed, including a classroom, kitchen, storage and a potting area.

Valuable benefits

The rebuild project will incorporate an apprentice programme in traditional building and craft skills, boosting the employability and skillsets of up to 40 young people. Once complete, in addition to having preserved a historically important building, the Botanic Cottage will open up capacity for an additional 90 schools to benefit from our education programmes every year. The upstairs room will also provide new space for exhibitions, performances, events and displays of original archive materials for visitors.

Can you help bring this unique project to life by making a donation?

Click here to donate. Alternatively, you can contact our Fundraising Team with any questions or to donate by phone on 0131 248 2855. You can also donate through JustTextGiving. Just text RBGE01 and the amount you want to donate to 70070*. For example, to donate £10 please text ‘RBGE01 £10’ to 70070.

Thank you kindly for any support you can offer. A donation of any size will make a difference!


*Texts are charged at your mobile phone operator's standard rate. The charity will receive 100% of your donation. You must be 16 or over and please ask the bill payer's permission. For full terms and conditions and more information, please visit

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The Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh is a charity (registration number SC007983)