Christmas at the Botanics

As night falls, joins us at the Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh for our magical outdoor trail which returns this year with over a million twinkling lights.


New trail for 2018

The winter trail is a place where fairytale meets fantasy. Glowing larger-than-life incandescent flowers rise high into the night sky leading you on a path towards illuminated tree sculptures with delicate beads of light clinging to each branch. There are hidden surprises too – watch out for shards of light, frosty snowflakes, stars and baubles, marching reindeer and gingerbread men where you least expect to see them.

Christmas lights


Cathedral of Light

Spot the towering Cathedral of Light festooned by over 100,000 pea-lights.

Cathedral of light

Scented Fire Garden

Surround yourself with playful ribbons of colour-changing globes and stop at the scented Fire Garden for a moment of tranquil reflection.

Scented Fire Garden


Santa and his Elves

Amid all the festive fun don’t forget to look out for Santa and his elves along the way.

Santa Claus


Spectacular Festive Finale

This year’s Botanics trail culminates in a spectacular Festive Finale on Inverleith House Lawn where brightly coloured projections dance in time to much-loved Christmas classics.

Iluminated Palm House


Seasonal Food and Gifts

Why not complete your stroll under the stars with spiced cider, mulled wine or hot chocolate whilst the aroma of roasting chestnuts fills the air. Gather to toast your own marshmallows at one of the fire pits and enjoy other traditional fare before finishing your Christmas shopping in the gift shop at the John Hope Gateway.

The Garden’s profits from this event help to support our global and national plant research and conservation work.

Christmas dinner

Enhance your visit with a dining experience

Make your evening extra special with a visit to the Garden's Gateway Restaurant. Why not treat friends and family to a festive dinner, selected from the restaurant's exclusive Christmas Dinner Menu. Prices start at £18.95 for adults and just £5.95 for children for two courses. Available on Saturdays and Sundays throughout the event run, between 4pm and 8pm.

Make a reservation online, by email at or by phone on 0131 552 2674.

The Gateway Restaurant is also open on week nights during the event, no online booking is required.



Event Information

Event Details

The event runs from 23 November to 29 December (closed 26 and 27 Nov and 3, 4, 10, 11, 25 Dec).  There are 11 entry times to start your trail, every 20 minutes from 4.40pm (last entry 8pm).  The Garden will close at 10pm on event nights.

This is an evening event that takes place after the Garden closes.  It is an outdoor trail and does not include entry into the Glasshouses. Keep cosy by wearing warm and waterproof clothing and footwear.

Tickets Prices

Advance tickets from £14, children from £8. Tickets will be dearer on the day. See booking website for a calendar of peak and off peak days and prices. Children under 4 and carers go free.

Members can enjoy £2 discount on adult tickets when booked in advance and the discount is valid for the whole transaction. Click here for more information on becoming a Member.


Booking and Booking Fees

To buy your tickets online book here. Tickets bought online are subject to the following transaction charges:

  • £2 per transaction for print at home tickets
  • £2.50 for tickets sent by first class post. 

Tickets can be purchased by debit and credit card at the Botanics' John Hope Gateway visitor centre, Arboretum Place.  There is no booking charge for tickets purchased and collected in person at the John Hope Gateway and the Usher Hall, Lothian Road. 

To book by telephone call 0844 995 1363 (calls cost 7p per minute plus your network access charge).

Accessibility and Helpful Information

Please refer to our FAQs for more information about the event including accessibility.

The trail has been designed for all ages to enjoy and the event welcomes all visitors whatever their specific requirements.

For any specific accessibility queries, including mobility scooter and wheelchair bookings, please email


Travel Information

When buying your tickets, you will be able to enter from the West Gate entrance on Arboretum Place (EH3 5NZ) or the East Gate entrance on Inverleith Row (EH3 5LP).
  • If you are travelling by car or taxi, please choose West Gate tickets.   Please refer to our Event Access and Parking Map.
  • If you are arriving by bus, please select East Gate tickets.  This entrance is well served by buses 8, 23 and 27.  Please refer to the Lothian Buses website.
No event parking close to the East Gate, please.  This entrance is intended for use only by visitors arriving by bus or on foot.



In the event of severe weather, such as strong winds or snow, the event may be cancelled. The Garden will close during severe weather to ensure the safety of our visitors. Cancellation will occur if it is deemed to be unsafe for the lights to set up or to allow public access. If the event cancels in our final week your ticket will be valid for another date and time of your choice. If the event cancels on 29th December you will be fully refunded.


RBGE welcomes photographers who capture and film their experience on cameras and smart phones for personal use and sharing via social media #christmasatthebotanics. If using photography equipment and tripods please adhere to our Photography Guidelines to ensure that you do not obstruct or diminish the enjoyment of others at the event.

Groups Bookings

There is a group rate of 10% off for groups of 10 or more.
For further information and to book, please call SEE Tickets on 0844 412 4650.If you are from the travel trade, please contact Neen Kelly by emailing


Contact Us

If you have a ticket related query after you have made your purchase, please contact

For accessibility queries, including mobility scooter bookings, please email   

For all media enquiries, please contact Debbie Hughes at Clark Communications on  or 0131 225 9596.