Things to do in Scotland: Part Two (Hopetoun House and The Royal Botanic Garden)

Welcome to the second part of my three part series on Scotland!
(Hopetoun House and The Royal Botanic Garden)

IMG_2757Constructed between 1699-1701, Hopetoun House was designed by Sir William Bruce and is now owned by the Hopetoun House Preservation Trust. The country house was originally built for the first Earl of Hopetoun, Charles Hope and is now occupied by the Marquis of Linlithgow and his family in the South wing of the house. During the summer months parts of the house and the gardens are open to the public. There are beautiful walks through “The Spring Garden Trail” where you’ll spot beautiful birds and even a few hares as well as “The Sea Walk Trail” which takes you along the Firth of Fourth with an amazing view of the Firth of Fourth Bridge.
You’ll also find Red Deer in a field below the trail and if you’re lucky you might even see some fawns! The walks are peaceful and a great way to get in touch with nature. With many places to sit and enjoy your surroundings, you’ll most IMG_2758definitely want to pack a picnic!
Forget your picnic basket? Don’t fret, Hopetoun House has a wonderful tearoom with home cooked and freshly prepared ingredients. I highly recommend their afternoon tea! Delicious mini scones with jam and cream, macaroons, jam tarts and finger sandwiches. The Stables Tearoom’s traditional afternoon tea is like three meals rolled into one! A must try!
Once you’ve had your fill of delightful treats head inside to the incredible house which have been virtually unchanged throughout three centuries and explore until your heart is content. Don’t skip the fantastic view you’ll get from the rooftop, there are a few flights of stairs to get there but it’s definitely worth the effort!

Know Before You Go


House and Grounds

                                Grounds Only

Adult £9.20 £4.25
Children £4.90 £2.50
Pensioner/Student £8.00 £3.70
Groups (15+) £8.00 N/A
Family (2 + 2) £25.00 £11.50
Registered Disabled £4.90 £2.50

Opening Times
Hopetoun House is open to visitors daily from 10.30am – 5.00pm (last entry 4pm) from Friday 3rd April through until Sunday 27th September 2015.
Groups can book by appointment all year round.

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The Royal Botanic Garden in Inverleith is a gorgeous place to visit. A photographer and botanist heaven, the gardens were started in 1670 near Holyrood Palace by Dr. Robert Sibbald and Dr. Andrew Balfour. Eventually, due to the pollution in the city, the gardens were moved to west side of Leith Walk in 1763 and then moved once again to their current home opposite Inverleith Row in the early 1820’s. As stated on the Botanic Garden’s website “The Garden is first and foremost a scientific institution, dedicated to discovering and describing plants and their relationships, evolution, conservation and biology.” They even grow bamboo for my panda friends Tian Tian and Yang Guang over at Edinburgh Zoo to keep up with the pounds of it they eat a day.

Entrance to the gardens is free but make sure you don’t miss out the palm house and glasshouses, this will cost you a IMG_2759small fee. This is where you’ll find all the plants, flowers and trees imaginable. You’ll walk through different climates and atmospheres. Many different types of orchids, chilies and cacti can be found along the way. Pick up an informative electronic guide if you wish to learn a little bit more about the flora within the glasshouses.

Once you’ve worked up an appetite after wandering through the gardens. Head over to one of the three restaurants within the gardens. Check out The Terrace Restaurant, The Gateway Restaurant or The East Gate Coffee Bar. I had lunch at The Gateway and the food was pretty good albeit rather pricey. Lastly have a browse around the gift shop, you can pick up anything from flower seeds to stationery!

Know Before You Go


Adult: £5,
Concession: £4,
Child (15 and under): Free
Essential Carers: Free
RBGE Members admitted free of charge.


The Garden is open daily (except 25 December and 1 January).

November to January: 10am – 4pm
February and October: 10am – 5pm
March to September: 10am – 6pm
(I’ve visited both in summer and winter and it’s beautiful all year round!

Glasshouses close:
November to January: 3.30pm (last admission 3pm)
February and October:  4.30pm (last admission 4pm)
March to September: 5.30pm (last admission 5pm)

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Till next time friends,
Panda Kennedy
Panda K copy
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