Christmas at the Botanics is a festive light event that takes place in the grounds of the beautiful Royal Botanic Gardens Edinburgh from the end of November to December. I have wanted to go each year and now in it’s third three, I am thrilled I was able to make it along last night. We loved our visit to the Royal Botanic Gardens Edinburgh a few summers ago, so we were excited and curious to see what Christmas at the Botanics would be like for wheelchair users.
Disclaimer: This review of Christmas at the Botanics is courtesy of complimentary tickets in return for an honest review of the experience and accessibility for wheelchair users.
Christmas At The Botanics In A Wheelchair
With our cosy jumpers, winter jackets, hats, gloves and scarves on, we headed on our way for the 40 minute drive from home. There is no car park at the venue and with limited disabled parking bays at the entrance, I was concerned that parking was going to be tricky for us. We arrived around half past six and found all disabled parking bays were taken. Thankfully, there were some on-street parking spaces left, which worked out great.
Once inside, we had our tickets checked and set off on the Festive Illuminated Trail through the gardens. The entire trail is a mile long and full of beautiful light and sound displays. Many of the light displays were synchronised with the music, which added to the Christmas fun. Each installation had a different theme such as the Cathedral of Light, Light Hearted, Tubular Baubelles, Carol of the Bells, Spiral Trees and Glasshouse Show.
There was seasonal food and drink chalets and vans available throughout the gardens. They were serving hot and cold snacks, including hot chocolate, mulled wine and churros. We toasted some marshmallows by the Fire Garden, which felt good to warm us up. There was a selection of flavours to choose from and we were happy to see a vegan flavour available too.
Santa and the elves also made an appearance too with some stories to get the little ones excited.
My nephew absolutely loved the Laser Garden which consisted of dancing lines of green light and puffs of smoke that bellowed out every so often. The way the lasers bounced across the trees was also very cool to watch.
The illuminated trail ended with the Festive Finale of colourful projections on one of the buildings while Christmas songs played along. We all really enjoyed the experience and it’s clear to see why Christmas at the Botanics has become a festive family tradition for so many.
Christmas At The Botanics Wheelchair Accessibility
Accessibility throughout the gardens is very good with flat paths, clear signage and space to move around without feeling too busy. There were mats covering the grass so it wasn’t wet or muddy. It was great to leave the event and not have to worry about cleaning my wheels before going home. However, I didn’t have to roll across the grass at any time as the path lead the way through the entire trail. The option to go on the grass at some of the displays was there if you want to get closer, which meant the mats came in handy.
There are several accessible toilets at Royal Botanic Gardens Edinburgh. Fortunately, there isn’t a Changing Places facility. It would be fantastic if a permanent Changing Places was installed, but in the meantime hiring a mobile Changing Places facility like Mobiloo would ensure the month-long event was fully accessible for everyone.
For more information on visiting the Royal Botanic Gardens Edinburgh in a wheelchair, check out my review HERE.
Christmas at the Botanics runs until Sunday 29th December with slots still available for 23rd until 29th December. Adult tickets cost £17, children (4-16 yrs) costs £11 and carers go free. Discounted rate available for families.
Have you visited Christmas at the Botanics or a similar festive light event?