We speak to the producers of the popular winter attraction about illuminating one of Edinburgh's most beautiful spaces
When winter sets in, the darker evenings can feel a bit gloomy. Luckily Christmas at the Botanics is on hand to brighten the chilly nights with twinkly lights, serious sparkle and a kaleidoscope of colour.
Now in its third year, the festive trail takes place after dark in the beautiful landscape of the Royal Botanic Gardens in Edinburgh, just one mile north of the city centre. Book now to be among the first to see the exciting new attractions at this year's event. 'This year we have a fleet of over 300 origami boats on the pond created by Italian art and design studio Aether and Hemera, a Dancing Laser Garden by Australian lighting artists Mandylights, over 600 multi-coloured spheres of light pulsating on the lawn and a large heart which lights up when two people hold hands,' say the producers.
As well as the brand new installations, there are also some previous favourites back for 2019: 'This year will see the return of our magnificent Cathedral of Light which was the most Instagrammed installation we had onsite (#christmasatthebotanics). It is almost 70 metres long and is covered from top to bottom in twinkling lights. When you walk through it, you are immersed in Christmas sparkle.'
You can also delight the senses in the wonderful Scented Fire Garden and witness the Botanics's famous Living Collection, which is almost 350 years old, lit in different colours. There are trees dressed with baubles and Christmas lights along the route, perfect for some inspiration if you haven't picked the colour scheme for your own tree yet. And, if you're struggling to find your Christmas spirit, the Festive Finale, where colourful projections dance across the buildings to a series of much-loved seasonal tunes, is sure to do the trick.
Christmas at the Botanics makes an excellent evening activity for families, with a Christmas Trail for kids, the chance to toast some marshmallows and the popular Santa Panto. The trail uses the fully accessible tarmac paths in the gardens and there are 11 entry times to start your trail: every 20 minutes from 4.40pm, with last entry at 8pm.
Stay cosy with fresh pizza, churros and other hot snacks to enjoy on the way round, as well as warming drinks including hot chocolate and mulled wine. Or you can make a night of it and book Christmas dinner in the John Hope Gateway restaurant either before or after you enjoy the trail. As the event's producers say: 'Spending a dark night surrounded with sparkle and enjoying seasonal food, drinks and festive music is a great way to spend time with family and friends over the holidays.'
Christmas at the Botanics, Royal Botanic Garden, Edinburgh, Fri 22–Sun 29 Dec, £17 (family £52, children £11, under 4s free), rbge.org.uk/whats-on/christmas-at-the-botanics-2019