Updated: Jan 31
The beautiful cherry blossom trees come to life during April - May, with an abundance of white and pink pretty flowers. The most popular species is the Japanese Prunus Serrulata more commonly known as Sakura. In Japan, these are symbolic to the start of spring, a time of renewal and celebrated with festivals taking place all over Japan. Here are the three best places where you can enjoy the magical cherry blossoms in Edinburgh.
The Three Best Places To See Cherry Blossoms In Edinburgh
The large iconic public park - The Meadows is located just to the South of Edinburgh's UNESCO World Heritage Old Town. The park became a protected space by the Act of Parliament in 1827. It was used for cattle grazing but there was no full right of public access until the mid-19th century. Today there are many paths that criss-cross the mainly grassland including Jaw Bone Walk, Coronation Walk and Boys Brigade Walk.
Throughout history, The Meadows has seen marches, protests, royal visits and festivals. It has been said that some of the existing Prunus kanzan were planted in 1953, Queen Elizabeth accompanied by Lord Provost Sir James Miller planted one of the trees on 23rd June 1953, as part of the ceremony to mark Queen Elizabeth's first post-coronation visit to Scotland. While a few older trees are dated around 67 years old and more have been planted later.
Boys Brigade Walk (which also includes several Prunus kanzan) was set out in 1954 at which time 75 trees were planted by Boys Brigade members.
Near to Jawbone Walk (named after the whalebone that once marked the entrance) today you can see the artistic interpretation of the history of a Scottish park, combining poetry with anthropomorphic animals which was unveiled in 2014 - The Meadows Mural.
The avenues of cherry trees are stunning during spring. You can read more and see the incredible year-round interest here.
Princes Street Gardens
Princes Street Gardens are enjoyed by many locals and visitors alike each year. Did you know it used to be a loch? Today such a beautiful place to enjoy sitting in the sun, a quick takeaway coffee or even a picnic with views of Edinburgh Castle. You would never know by looking at it, that it had a dark history.
The valley created by glaciers moving from west to east was once open land until 1460, the young King James III ordered defenses to be improved on the northside of Edinburgh Castle. A dam was built and the natural spring created Nor loch in Princes Street Gardens, creating a natural medieval defence along with Edinburgh Castle. It was said to be an impassable marsh with its water deeper than the height of a man. Later becoming a place for trying witches, a convenient cesspit. It wasn't until 1764 that the Loch was mostly drained and was dry enough to start work on North Bridge, joining both the old and new town.
Nor Loch was developed into private gardens for Princes Street residents, later becoming public. In 1846, the railway carved its way through the gardens to what you can see today.
The 8.5 acres to the east of The Mound and 29 acres to the west are maintained by Edinburgh Council and are home to a number of statues, monuments, bandstand, Ross Fountain and of course the beautiful cherry blossom trees.
There are a few species of Japanese ornamental flowering varieties throughout the gardens with the oldest said to be Prunus avium. Located between the railway bridge and the Ross Fountain.
Lauriston Castle Gardens
My favourite location to enjoy the cherry blossoms is Lauriston Castle Gardens. They are spectacular! The 16th-century tower house with 19th-century extensions - Lauriston Castle is located between the villages of Cramond and Davidson Mains. The gardens are free to visit and has a small car park. Discover more about visiting Lauriston Castle and enjoying the delights at the Lauriston Courtyard Cafe here.
The extensive gardens are a joy to walk around with views out over the Firth of Forth, pond with waterlilies, Japanese garden including The Kyoto Friendship Garden a hidden gem!
The Kyoto Friendship Garden opened in 2002 celebrating the twinning of towns Edinburgh and Kyoto. It is no surprise it has been named one of the top three Japanese Gardens in Britain, with its beautiful water features and cherry blossom avenues.
I hope you have enjoyed reading and inspired to witness the magical cherry blossoms here in Edinburgh.
*Update: I have recently discovered another little hidden gem in Edinburgh - Starbank Park. The cherry blossoms are incredible! The community garden opened in 1891, originally the grounds of Starbank House. Today you can see the star border, said to represent a ship's compass and the area's maritime history. The park is on two levels, with the higher having the beautiful cherry blossoms as well as large planted borders. The views across the Firth of Forth river are not to be missed too!
This year I'm excited to be capturing your special family seasonal portraits, that you can cherish for a lifetime. These will be taking place in Edinburgh and the surrounding areas. Get in touch today to arrange a pre-session chat.
As always, I would love to hear from you with any comments/questions you may have. You can reach me via email at enquiries@MDHardingTravelPhotography.com
Until next time, stay safe, happy and well.