RBG Edinburgh opens new coffee bar

Royal Botanic Garden (RBG) Edinburgh has opened a new reception area complete with coffee bar and toilets at the newly-restored East Gate Lodge on its Inverleith site.

The B-listed William Playfair building is the former home of the garden curators, situated in the south eastern corner of the garden which was previously leased from the Crown as the site of the Royal Caledonian Horticultural Society’s (RCHS) experimental garden.

During a special opening ceremony a special commemorative plaque marking the collaboration between RBG Edinburgh and RCHS was unveiled by RCHS president George Anderson and RBG Edinburgh director of horticulture Dr David Rae and curator David Knott.

Rae said of the experimental garden:  "In its heyday, the Caley’s experimental garden included three hothouses, a camellia house, two conservatories, a propagation house, and a dramatic winter garden, with extensive outdoor plantings of forest trees, and shrubs, as well as an array of trialled fruits and vegetables.  In addition, it boasted the fine Curator’s house – the Lodge.

"Now no longer required for its original purpose, the transformation of the Lodge has provided a much improved facility for people visiting the Garden – we at RBG Edinburgh are very aware of the need to offer a good visitor welcome and first impressions are very important.

"The John Hope Gateway at the West Gate is a fantastic facility and although the East Gate project is on a much smaller scale it still greatly enhances the welcome our visitors experience."

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