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What is Christmas at the Botanics?
What are the dates of Christmas at the Botanics?
Thursday 25th November - Sunday 28th November
Wednesday 1st December - Sunday 5th December
Wednesday 8th December - Friday 24th December
Sunday 26th December - Thursday 30th December
Sunday 2nd January
What are the trail times?
Where is Christmas at the Botanics and how do I get there?
Who is Christmas at the Botanics suitable for?
Christmas at the Botanics is suitable for all ages and aims to provide best possible access to everyone in order that they enjoy their visit.
Should I arrive in advance of my ticketed time slot?
We would advise arriving at the start of the trail 5 minutes before you are due to begin the trail. If you arrive at the venue earlier, please wait in your car.
I am visiting the Gardens during the day, do I need to leave the site before entering Christmas at the Botanics in the evening?
Yes if you are visiting the Gardens during the day, visitors will need to leave the Gardens before entering for Christmas at the Botanics. This is to ensure that only ticket holders for Christmas at the Botanics have entry to the evening. Visitors are welcome to dwell in the John Hope Gateway Visitor Centre after the Garden has closed and before Christmas at the Botanics opens.
Can we see Father Christmas?
At this time of year, Father Christmas is extremely busy so is unable to meet children individually, however be sure to look out for him as he will be on the trail this Christmas!
Will there be strobe lighting?
There will be lighting sequences created within the landscape lighting design that will have some flashing lights contained within them. There will also be a low voltage laser garden made of thousands of constantly moving green laser beams. All laser units have an output of < 1mW and flash rates of less than 2Hz which are momentary. Therefore all the lighting effects in the garden work to guidelines on photosensitive epilepsy and adhere to the industry standard of synchronising effects and locking sequences, to ensure that none of the lights operate at more than 5 flashes per second.
What should I wear?
Christmas at the Botanics takes place outdoors and you may need to queue outside on busy days. Please wear appropriate outdoor clothing and footwear for winter weather. We reserve the right to refuse inappropriately clothed patrons access to the trail if it is felt they are open to a greater risk of injury.
When do tickets go on sale?
General on sale for Christmas at the Botanics is Friday 5th March 2021.
Where can I buy tickets from?
You can buy tickets for Christmas at the Botanics online here.
Do I have to book in advance?
We recommend that you book early to avoid disappointment. Each timed entry has a limited capacity and the early evening and weekend slots are likely to sell out.
What are the prices for Christmas at the Botanics?
Can I buy additional tickets?
Yes, subject to availability. If you require any additional entry admission tickets after placing your order please click here and scroll down to “To add to an existing order” to add any ticket types you require. Please note that you will need to have your Reference Number at hand.
Do I need to buy a car parking ticket to park at Christmas at the Botanics?
There are no parking facilities onsite at the Botanics but there is ample parking around the periphery of the Garden. Please use metered parking bays on Arboretum Road, Arboretum Place, Inverleith Place, Inverleith Terrace, East Fettes Avenue, Carrington Road and Fettes Avenue (free after 5:30pm). Resident permit bays should be avoided. There is no parking next to the East Gate.
As I am a member , do I still need to pay for Christmas at the Botanics?
Members will receive £3.00 off their admission ticket for Christmas at the Botanics when purchased in advance.
Is there a dedicated drop-off & pick-up area?
At the West Gate/John Hope Gateway there is an area which can be used for drop-off, but it is not dedicated.
How can I organise a group visit and is there a group rate?
How/when will I receive my tickets?
Your E-Tickets will be attached to your confirmation email.
I bought tickets but have not received a confirmation email. What should I do?
Please check your Junk / Spam folders as sometimes the confirmation email falls into these folders. If you still have not received your confirmation email, you can resend your confirmation email to yourself here
If I am unable to print my E-Tickets or display my tickets on a phone, what should I do?
If you are unable to print your E-Tickets or if you are unable to display your tickets on your phone please use the Chat Bot located in the bottom right corner of your screen and explain that you are unable to print your E-Tickets off.
Which Gate should I purchase for Christmas at the Botanics?
If you are arriving by car, taxi or coach, you should purchase for the West Gate (John Hope Gateway) on Arboretum Place (EH3 5NZ), where there is more street parking available. If you are arriving by public transport or on foot you should purchase for the East Gate where the entrance is on Inverleith Row (EH3 5LP).
How long is the trail?
We are putting together our trail plans at the moment and we will update as soon as the plan is confirmed.
Are dogs allowed on the trail?
Assistance Dogs which are highly trained are welcomed at the Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh. Pet dogs and other animals are not allowed.
Is the trail dark or covered?
If I am delayed and miss my slot, can I join a later slot?
We will try and accommodate you on the next available slot within the trail operational hours on the day. Please ensure you leave enough time for your journey if you are travelling a long way.
What are the last entry times?
What time does the illuminated trail finish?
All customers must exit the trail by no later than 2 hours after the last trail start time and in all cases by 10:00pm.
Can I bring my drone?
Drones are not permitted.
Can I take photographs?
Yes, you are welcome to take photographs and to share these on social media with the hashtag #ChristmasAtTheBotanics. You can also follow the developments across our Christmas Trails via 'My Christmas Trails' on Facebook and Instagram.
What provision do you have for disabled guests?
Do you have disabled parking?
Yes, we have six blue badge parking spaces for disabled people to the left of the West Gate entrance and a further three spaces opposite to the left of the Inverleith Park Gate. Blue Badge holders can park in metered bays for free if displaying their badge.
Is the trail accessible for wheelchair users?
Can I bring my mobility scooter or can mobility scooters be provided?
Yes you can bring your own mobility scooter and the John Hope Gateway Visitor Centre has eight motorised scooters and three wheelchairs for visitors but these must be booked in advance and please note that the demand is always high. The easiest way to book a mobility scooter is by clicking here or call 0131 248 2909.
Am I eligible for a free carer's ticket?
A disabled person purchasing ticket may bring one essential carer companion free of charge.
I need more than one carer, what should I do?
If you require more than one carer, please visit Customer Service here. You will need your Booking Reference Number at hand.
Is there a 'quieter access' session?
Can I purchase food and drink on site?
At present, this area is under review. More information regarding catering will follow shortly.
What shopping facilities are there?
The Botanics Shop is situated in the West Gate Entrance and will be open during Christmas at the Botanics until 10pm.
What will happen if the weather is bad? Will the trail be cancelled?
Christmas at the Botanics is an outdoor illuminated trail. If the weather presents a hazard and a risk to safety, any decision to cancel the illuminated trail will be taken by 2pm on the day of the illuminated trail. You will be notified by email and text message and you will be informed of the re-booking process. We advise you to check the website for the latest updates and before you travel.
If I am unable to attend on a different day, can I get a refund?
If the illuminated trail is cancelled in line with the cancellation policy and ticket holders are not able to attend an alternative night offered, then a refund will be considered on a case-by-case basis. Where a refund is due, the ticket must be returned within 28 days following the illuminated trail date. We can also offer a voucher for the following year. The transaction fee is not refundable under any circumstances.
I have booked for the wrong day - can I transfer over to another day?
I have lost my ticket, what can I do?
If your tickets are lost or if you require your E-Tickets to be re sent to you, please contact SEE Tickets here. Please note that you will need to have your Reference Number at hand and this will render your original tickets invalid.
Sound installations are created to provide atmosphere and a sense of place for an installation. All sounds are targeted and specific to a part of the route and are therefore contained within defined spaces, therefore there is no noise pollution over and above the natural sound level created by the presence of audiences on the trail.
Fuel for power generation is kept to a minimum by efficient use of power loadings and low wattage lighting units where appropriate.
- Consideration for the illuminated trails sustainability has been built into the planning process for the delivery of the illuminated trail, the end result of which we hope will be to inspire and engage new and existing visitors.
- The trail designers, Culture Creative, have been appointed on the strength of their experience of working in environmentally sensitive ways in heritage and landscape settings.
- Specific attention is given to power, and where possible we use mains power. Where generators are needed, these are carefully specified and operated to ensure the most efficient fuel usage. Low wattage lighting units are used where appropriate on the trail.
- Culture Creative's design ethos is to take advantage of the environmental darkness to reduce the overall brightness of their lighting interventions, whilst maximising the effects of their artistic efforts.
- Continuous lighting of trails and paths will be avoided, and we will only use audience area lighting where it is absolutely necessary for reasons of public safety.
- Care is also taken to ensure that we are considerate of our neighbours who live in the immediate area.
Ecological Impact Statement
The illuminated trail will not be open every night and its impact must be considered both from the standpoint of the venue itself and in relation to surrounding sites.
In order to assess the likely impact of the illuminated trail, both a desk study and workaround surveys are conducted on each site. The route proposed for the trail, is walked and checked on a regular basis with horticultural staff from the venue, this is an ongoing process and will be constantly checked as the design of the illuminated trail progresses.
Generators used on the route are very quiet and will be inaudible from the trail and from any wildlife habituation. The power will be carried using cabling which has been used previously in sites with wildlife populations with no adverse effects. Much of the lighting will be floor based to highlight trees. The trees form part of the cultivated collections at each venue and their welfare is paramount as part of the planning of the illuminated trail.
Where possible routes will be on hard surfaces i.e. paths. They pass through areas which are well-walked by visitors daily and will not take in any sections of grass with sensitive wild floras.
Sound and lighting installations surrounding trees or on areas of water where a number of birds have the potential to roost are modified and designed to minimise any potential for damage to birds.
Reptiles and amphibians
There should be no impact from the illuminated trail upon reptiles or amphibians as they should be hibernating away from the water at this time of year.
Every care is taken to ensure that any potential bat roosting holes in trees are not lit directly to avoid any potential disturbance during the bat hibernation season.