Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh aims to boost visitor numbers with night-time light event

The Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh (RBGE) is hoping to attract new visitors by opening after dark with a "magical light event".

RBGE is extending its season with the power of light Picture: Lloyd Smith
RBGE is extending its season with the power of light Picture: Lloyd Smith

Night in the Garden uses the garden’s features as a backdrop for an immersive light show more usually seen at a festival or at the city’s Hogmanay celebrations. It follows on from a similar pre-Christmas after-dark light show at Royal Botanic Gardens Kew in London last year, while Syon Park, also in London, will light up for its ninth series of Enchanted Woodland nights from 21 November.

The special nights in Edinburgh run from 30 October until 23 November and have been created by the Botanics and Edinburgh-based Unique Events, in association with Scottish light artist Malcolm Innes and his colleague Euan Winton. They aim to make them both romantic and exciting but also family-friendly.  

Visitors, who will buy tickets in advance for a specific time and date, will be able to make their way through a one kilometre route full of light and shadow and experience the Botanics in a new manner, with interactive stations and a few unexpected surprises along the way.

The outdoor trail will use the Garden’s favourite features, such as the Victorian glasshouses and pond, as the backdrop for light effects. Visitors can watch ‘the sun’ set inside the palm house, see a host of sparkling lights suspended over water or create their own light show by manipulating some of the installations themselves.

RBGE’s director of enterprise Heather Jackson said the idea came from visitors themselves.

"We have over 700,000 daytime visitors a year and we are often asked if it’s possible to come at night, so we thought we’d come up with something unique to create a truly enchanting experience."

She was not willing to reveal how many visitors the venue is hoping for or the price range for tickets.

Unique Events are well known in Scotland for organising the capital’s Hogmanay celebrations and large-scale outdoor festivals and events.

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