£4million to save Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh's iconic glasshouses

£4million to save Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh's iconic glasshouses

Three people standing underneath a big palm tree in a conservatory
Frankie Toner, Policy and Public Affairs Manager at National Lottery Heritage Fund with Simon Milne MBE, Regius Keeper and Emma Lacroix, Director of Development at the Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh. Credit: David Cheskin
The investment will also help to look after rare, extraordinary plants, encouraging visitors of all ages to care about the environment.

Our grant will restore two historic Victorian palm houses and a range of modernist 1960s glasshouses. It will also support the re-display of rare and endangered historic plant collections and help engage audiences through new interpretation and visitor activities. 

Grand designs

The two Palm Houses are outstanding examples of Victorian engineering. The octagonal Tropical Palm House was constructed in 1834 but was soon considered too small. So in 1856 a new Temperate Palm House was built to a grand design by Scottish architect Robert Matheson.

Caroline Clark, Director for Scotland at The National Lottery Heritage Fund, said: “We are delighted to be supporting this important project, which will see the historic heart of the Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh restored and revitalised for the benefit of generations to come. Thanks to National Lottery players, this significant grant will rescue these iconic buildings... engaging wider and more diverse audiences both locally and internationally.”

A small child walking through some gardens
People of all ages can enjoy the gardens. Credit: David Cheskin

Protecting fragile species

The project will also help look after some of the Garden's most spectacular plants which live in the glasshouses. These include the Amorphophallus titanum from Sumatra – known as the 'corpse flower' – which spectacularly flowers at night and smells of rotting meat.

The project will form the historic centrepiece of the wider Edinburgh Biomes experience and will ensure the safety of these globally significant living collections.

Three people standing and talking in a Victorian plant conservatory
The Iconic Victorian Temperate Palm House. Credit: David Cheskin

Simon Milne, Regius Keeper, Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh said: “The significance of this award of £4m cannot be underestimated and we are hugely grateful to National Lottery players for making it possible...

“Now, we can reimagine our visitor experience. Visionary interpretation and activities will communicate the vulnerability of life on Earth."

He added: "By inspiring everyone to care about the environment and play their part, there is real opportunity to make tangible change.”

Find out more

Discover more about some of the amazing buildings across the UK our investment has helped save.

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