Botanic Lights 2016, Edinburgh

The other weekend we went down to the Botanic Gardens here in Edinburgh at night!! All for the purposes of seeing this year's Botanic Lights 2016. Botanic Lights are a series of light installations dotted around the gardens, currently running nightly until Sunday 6 November 2016.

I'm not sure how many years previously this event has taken place but this year's takes the theme of the regions of the world giving you the chance to explore by night via the lights the plants and trees originating from places such as the US, China, Chile, Nepal and the tropics where many of the Royal Botanic Gardens scientists are working on important conservation work. The message behind it all being, 'to explore, conserve and explain the world of plants for a better future'. Luckily on the night we visited it was fresh but not too cold but yes my time spent in the tropics is starting to show now the colder weather is making an appearance and as it's an all weather event in Scotland - go prepared.

The walk covers about a kilometre and a half around the gardens. Despite, asides from the installation lights, you being in complete darkness the route is well marked and areas out of bounds are clearly cordoned off. There are also some marshals dotted around to keep you on the right track as well. Apart from one point near the beginning which requires you to wait to see one part you're free to walk around at your own pace and to spend as long as you wish in the different areas. Although you can't go into them during this event the light installations also transform some of the recognisable buildings in the gardens, including the Victorian palm house which you can just see in the photo below. You'll also see some of the water features of the gardens cleverly used in parts of the show as well.

I think my favourite part of the show was the segment showcasing the plants and trees from China. I won't spoil it for you (and none of my photos did it justice) but it's very clever and impressive to see. It's all incredibly well done though and should you need a refreshment break or comfort stop along route one cafĂ© is open as are the facilities, not unwelcome on a cool Autumn evening I have to admit.

Not part of the Botanic Lights exhibit but I caught sight of the Botanic Cottage as we followed the route around

Perhaps the most important message of the event was shared on Inverleith House

Tickets for the event are sold at specific entrance timed slots to keep a steady flow of visitors through the gardens so you should book in advance via their website or by phoning the box office. We had a good evening down at the Botanic Gardens, it was interesting to see them at night and at a time when you wouldn't ordinarily be able to. Definitely worth booking tickets for too if you are in Edinburgh.


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