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This is one of the grandest botanic gardens in all of Great Britain, rivaling the better known Kew Gardens near London. Sprawling across 28 hectares (70 acres), it dates from the late 17th century, when it was originally used for medical studies of useful herbs. Even today, when it comes to plant research in the U.K., only Kew does more. In spring, the various rhododendrons, from low ground cover to towering shrubs, are reason alone to visit the Royal Botanic Garden in Edinburgh. But the planting in various areas assures year-round interest, whether in the rock garden or the wide and long "herbaceous" borders elsewhere. The grounds include numerous glass houses: The Palm House (Britain's tallest) being foremost among them. Inverleith House is a venue for art exhibitions and has the Terrace Cafe, too.