The Friends’ 2018 tours and day visits programme has now launched.  Tours include a week-long trip to Crete from 14 - 21 April and a four day tour to Ayrshire and Lanarkshire from 19 - 22 June, in conjunction with Brightwater Holidays.  Three day trips to gardens in the Kinross/Clackmannanshire area, East Lothian and Alnwick Castle and Garden will run in May and June.

SPRINGTIME IN CRETE - 14-21 April 2018

Crete is a place of great, unspoilt natural beauty, offering the plant lover an absolute treat in terms of the variety of flora to be found.  This two-centred trip will be based in Rethymnon and Heraklion and will include visits to the Botanical gardens at Skordalou, the Palace of Knossos and the private garden of Princess Alicia di Sirignano.  Sabina Knees from RBGE will be the guide on this trip. 

Further details and booking form


We set off from the John Hope Gateway, RBGE, to the Walled Garden, Shieldhill, Lanarkshire – a recently redesigned 200 year old walled garden. From there we will explore the regenerated Clyde Valley Orchards which will include a visit to a private orchard near Crossford.  We then pay a visit to Chatelherault, Hamilton, dating from 1732 for lunch and an opportunity to tour the lodge and extensive parkland. We will then head to Troon where we will be based at the Marine Hotel on the seafront for three nights.  During our time in Ayrshire we will visit Culzean Castle and Gardens, and the gardens at Burnside, Carnell House, Barnweil, and Blair House.  We will also visit Holmes Farm Nursery where Brian Young has developed a lovely garden showcasing the plants which he rears for his nursery. There will be an opportunity here for some plant purchasing! On the final day we will stop at Dumfries House where tours of both house and garden and lunch will be provided.  A final stop at New Lanark has been arranged with an opportunity to visit the Roof Garden.

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The day begins with a visit to the Japanese Garden at Cowden.  Established in 1908 and designed by Taki Handa, a female Japanese garden designer, it is due to open to the public after a major restoration project.  At the heart of the garden is a large pond, ideal for creating reflections of the surrounding plantings.  Enjoy strolling around the 7 acre garden with its spring blooming cherries and rhododendrons and discover more about the garden’s history and the principles of Japanese garden design from head gardener, Kate White. After lunch at the Milk Bar at Powmill we visit Arndean.  This mature 15 acre garden includes a woodland walk, a formal herbaceous area, vegetable garden and abundant rhododendrons and azaleas which will be at their best.  Our final stop is the Rumbling Bridge Nursery with its unique collection of rare alpines and woodland plants.

Booking form

THE GARDENS OF EAST LOTHIAN -  Thursday 31 May 2018 - Fully Booked

The first stop on this trip is Blackdykes, near North Berwick situated around a 19th century farmhouse. There are rose and herbaceous gardens contained by formal hedges of yew, box and hornbeam.  Lunch will be at Archerfield Walled Garden followed by a visit to Bowerhouse in Dunbar in the afternoon.  Set in 17 acres of parkland, the garden contains an orchard and a woodland walk as well as formal gardens with courtyards and water features.  We then head next door to the 18th century walled garden, originally the kitchen garden for Bowerhouse which contains mature fruit trees and a vegetable garden. Our last visit will be to Dunbar Garden Centre for afternoon tea before heading back to Edinburgh.

Booking Form

ALNWICK CASTLE AND THE ALNWICK GARDEN - Thursday 28 June 2018 - Places Available

A trip to visit Alnwick Castle, the 2nd largest inhabited castle in the UK, home to the Duke of Northumberland’s family for over 700 years.  A guided tour of the State Rooms has been arranged.  The group will also visit The Alnwick Garden, one of the world’s most extraordinary contemporary gardens.  From poisonous plants and treetop walkways to glorious roses and towering delphiniums, the group will be guided around by Head Gardener, Trevor Jones.

Booking Form

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