Hidden Spaces: Edinburgh’s Secret Gardens

Here in the capital, we’re pretty blessed when it comes to our public parks and gardens.

Princes St Gardens, The Meadows, The Royal Botanic Garden…Well, the list goes on and on. If you fancy spending a bit of time with nature and don’t really want to catch a train out of town, there’s plenty going on here in Auld Reekie to keep you satisfied.

In fact, there may actually be more going on here than you think.

If you’re from Edinburgh or have been here for a considerable amount of time, you will probably be aware that the city actually has a number of quiet outdoor spaces that your average tourist will, more than likely, know nothing about.

Have a clue of where we’re talking about?

Down below, we’ve put together a small list of gardens that we think most people outside of Edinburgh will probably not be aware of.

But should we really be spilling the beans?

Well, beautiful gardens must surely be for everybody. And we’re only giving a sneak peek. So, for the benefit of those not in the know, here are our 5 favourite ‘secret’ gardens in Edinburgh that we think you should really be visiting.

But don’t tell anyone we told you. This is just between us….Shhhh!

Dunbar Close: The Royal Mile can seem like quite a hectic place, particularly at the height of summer, so a quiet place to recuperate and gather your thoughts is a much welcomed gift. Tucked away just shy of the Scottish Parliament Building, this recreated 17th Century garden is a blissful utopia of green and a perfect spot to rest a racing mind.

Sandeman House Garden: Sitting just a bit further up the Royal Mile from Dunbar Close lays another little garden that you will probably only come across if you are actually looking for it. Belonging to the Scottish Book Trust and lazing just before the John Knox House, this unique looking space sort of resembles the kind of spot where a UFO or mystical portal would appear. It’s certainly magical to us. Take a peek. You won’t regret it.

Dr Neil’s Garden: If you fancy a venture out to the glorious area of Duddingston, then you simply must pay a visit to this beautiful world of colour and poetry, right next to the 12th Century Duddingston Kirk. With breath-taking views of Arthur’s Seat and gloriously imaginative arrangements, it would be worth the trip of out the city centre just for this.

Archivist’s Garden: Of the many thousands who walk through the East end of Princes St every day, very few of them will be aware of this hidden and peaceful site. Located between General Register House and New Register House, this plant packed space is designed in such a way as to reflect Scotland, its history and its collective soul. It’s open during office hours and free to enter, so well worth paying a visit if you can.

Chessel’s Court: Another one just off the Royal Mile, this is a great place to go for peace and contemplation in a busy world. Originally created in the 1700s, this pleasingly green and pleasant stretch is surrounded by fascinating history. Rumour has it that Jekyll and Hyde by Robert Louis Stevenson was inspired by a criminal act that took place here. But, don’t worry. You’re perfectly safe here now.

It’s important to get away from it all from time to time and, though we all know that Edinburgh has its many great gardens and parks, finding somewhere a little more secluded is bound to do us good.

Do these sound like the sort of places you would like to visit? Or did we miss out on some treasures that you think are even better? Let us know!