Her Royal Highness The Princess Royal has officially reopened Edinburgh’s historic Saughton Park.
Following a £8m seven-year renovation project to fully refurbish and reinstate many of the Park’s original Edwardian features – transforming the gardens into an inclusive space for the whole local community – the project has officially been declared complete on 6 June.
As Patron of the Royal Caledonian Horticultural Society, HRH was invited to tour the restored park with Edinburgh’s Lord Lieutenant, Frank Ross, and to unveil a plaque to commemorate the milestone.
The Park will be powered by green energy. It also boasts a new café and restored stables for use as a new community venue and base for the Royal Caledonian Horticultural Society (The Caley).
The Walled Gardens are fully open, opening from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. every day. The Courtyard will open later in summer, where a new volunteer bothy and a new community space will be located. A new cafe, the Garden Bistro, is in process of being built and work is progressing well with the construction of the new micro-hydro scheme on the Water of Leith. It is anticipated that it will be generating all the electricity for the park by early 2020.
A public event will take place on Saturday 31 August to celebrate the restoration of Saughton Park, once the Garden Bistro is open, and a programme of events and activities will be announced soon.
The restoration of Saughton Park has been a partnership between the City of Edinburgh Council, the Royal Caledonian Horticultural Society and the Friends of Saughton Park with £3.8m funding from the Heritage Fund.
First established in the 17th century on the grounds of Saughtonhall House, which later became an asylum, the gardens were purchased by the Council in the early 1900s for recreational use by the people of Gorgie and Saughton.
In 1908, Saughton Park was redesigned to accommodate the Scottish National Exhibition, when more than 3.5m visitors flocked to enjoy the attractions. It is hoped that the park’s restoration will recapture the spirit of the time, refreshing some of the key features installed for the Exhibition, including the bandstand, botanic garden and winter garden.