Christmas at the Botanics

Submitted by edg on Fri, 7 Oct '22 8.47am
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Christmas at the Botanics - the Dripping Tree
Time & place

After selling 70,000 tickets in its first year in 2017, Christmas in the Botanics has become a mainstay of the festive season, with its popular, nature-inspired light installations and visual effects. 

The mile-long, after-dark trail weaves through the historic buildings and horticultural features of the Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh. The trail takes roughly 90 minutes to walk. 

The Christmas event is an important fund-raiser for the popular Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh (RGBE), which is free to visit in daylight hours.

Botanic light trail 2023

Each year is a little different. More details coming, but the RGBE promises"huge seed heads floating high into the sky, a lawn of larger-than-life crocus glowing in the dark, brightly coloured pampas, sparkling tunnels of light and the Inverleith House projections with a botanical theme filled with all the colours of the rainbow".

In 2022, artists Ithaca introduced an installation called Aurora, inspired by the visual tones of the northern lights. Another light installation, "Feathers" by Pyrite Creative, features huge, UV feathers which appear to float in the trees. On the Botanics Pond, trail-walkers will found metre-tall illuminated flora of Jig Cochrane's "Lilies".

Keeping it free

While the gardens are normally free to visit throughout the day, special events like "Christmas at the Botanics" generate income for the organisation's plant research and conservation work.

In previous years, similar light events have included "Botanic Lights" which took place in October and November and the one-nighter Botanic Frights on Halloween night, 31st October.

Christmas at the Botanics 2023 Tickets

Christmas at the Botanics time slots are available for both the West Gate entrance on Arboretum Place and the East Gate on Inverleith Row, which depart at 15 minute intervals from 4.15pm to 8pm on select nights (not 20-22, 27, 28 November; 4, 5, 25 December).

Off-peak times (in November and 6, 11, 12 December) are slightly less expensive.

All orders (online and at on-site box office) are subject to a single transaction charge of £2.50 per transaction for E-Tickets.

Members will receive £3 off their admission ticket for Christmas at the Botanics when purchased in advance.

Family ticket: 2 adults and 2 children (aged 4-16). Infants (0-3 years) on the day of the illuminated trail and carers go free. Free tickets must be booked in advance.

Advance Tickets (Standard/Off-peak)

Adult Standard: £22.50/£19
Child Standard: £17.00/£13.50
Infant (0-2 Years): free *
Carer: free *

Family (2 adults & 2 children): £76.00/£62
Group Adult: £20.25/£17.10

Tickets Bought on the Day (Standard/Off-peak)

Adult: £24.50/£21
Child: £19/£15.50
Infant (0-2 Years): free *
Carer: free *
Family (2 adults & 2 children): £84/£70

* Free tickets must be booked in advance.