The Complete Guide to Inveresk Lodge Garden in East Lothian

Inveresk Lodge Garden

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Table of Contents

Summary

Inveresk Lodge Garden is a National Trust for Scotland property located in the pretty village of Inveresk in East Lothian, around 6 miles from the centre of Edinburgh.

This charming garden is a haven for wildlife and is a must-visit for anyone looking to escape the hubbub of the city centre thanks to its beautiful wild meadows, woodland, manicured lawns, and colourful borders that are ablaze with flowers between spring and autumn.

Discover an oasis of tranquillity at this hidden gem which is easily reached within half an hour of Princes Street.

Inveresk Lodge Garden
Address:24 Inveresk Village Road,
Musselburgh,
East Lothian,
EH21 7TE
Opening Hours:1 Dec to 31 Mar, daily, 10.00–16.00
1 Apr to 30 Sep, daily, 10.00–17.00
1 Oct to 31 Dec, daily, 10.00–16.00
Admission Price:£3
Parking:There is limited parking at the site near the garden gate, but this is only for use by NTS members. All other visitors can use free on-street parking in Inveresk village.
Contact:Email: inveresk@nts.org.uk
Tel: 0131 6651546
Facilities:Parking for NTS members, bike storage, toilets, dogs welcome. The nearest shops are in Musselburgh (Tesco Extra, Olive Bank Road, EH21 7BL).

The highlights

1: Inveresk Lodge Garden is a real hidden gem. The garden sees few visitors yet it’s situated close to Edinburgh, making it a perfect escape from the noise of the capital city.

2: The garden is a fair size and contains a wide variety of different types of plants, so repeat visits throughout the year always offer new things to look at. The highlight is summertime when the garden blooms with a mesmerising display of flowers from tulips to perfumed roses.

3: The garden features two areas – an upper hillside and a lower woodland complete with a large pond. The pond is a great place to take children as there’s a wooden platform where they can view the many insects and fish that live in it.

Inveresk Lodge Garden

Visiting tips

1: The garden is unmanned but there’s a money box on the wall near the garden gate where you can deposit your entrance fee.

2: There are a few benches in the garden which are good places to sit with a book, and there are picnic benches near the pond for a spot of al-fresco dining.

Visitors who aren’t in the mood for a picnic can drive north into Musselburgh (5 minutes) or south into Dalkeith (10 minutes).

3: The best parking spot is the A6125 immediately opposite the house. The road is usually very quiet so you shouldn’t have any problems finding a space.


Overview

East Lothian is home to hundreds of wee hidden-away attractions, from sleepy castles to picturesque hill trails, but this one in Inveresk is a real gem – and one that’s a personal favourite of mine.

Inveresk is an exceptionally pretty village situated on the outskirts of Edinburgh, just south of Musselburgh on the western border of East Lothian.

The village is designated as a conservation area and has roots dating back to Roman times as well as buildings in the high street that date from the 17th and 18th centuries.

Inveresk Lodge Garden

The River Esk and Musselburgh golf club border the village to the west and arable fields stretch away into the distance to the east, giving it a pleasant countryside atmosphere even though it’s less than a mile from the frequently choked A1.

Inveresk Lodge Garden in Musselburgh lies on the eastern end of Inveresk Village Road (A6124), surrounded by a high stone wall that entirely hides the gardens from public view.

The house itself is a typical whitewashed lodge of the type built throughout Scotland in the 1600s and looks like it would be a fascinating place to explore, but sadly, it’s closed to the public.

The main reason for visiting, then, is to walk around the peaceful hillside garden and pond tucked away to the rear.

Inveresk Lodge Garden

These gardens are believed to date from around 1781 and have seen significant changes over the years, the largest of which was during WWII when the land was replanted to grow vegetables to support the war effort, and again when the National Trust for Scotland took over the estate in 1958.

The trust maintains the gardens for visitors to enjoy year-round and they’ve managed to create a series of themed areas that each offer a different experience depending on the season.

An Edwardian conservatory showcases exotic plants even in the deepest throes of winter while an arboretum allows visitors to walk beneath a canopy of changing colours that are nothing short of spectacular in the autumn.

Inveresk Lodge Garden

In summer a large pond at the bottom of the garden buzzes with a cacophony of insects and in spring the herbaceous borders bloom with hundreds of fragrant flowers.

It really is a lovely place to visit.

The garden is split into two halves – an upper hillside and a lower woodland and lawn area – and there’s a network of paths connecting each section.

These paths are generally wide and level but wheelchair and pushchair users may have difficulty exploring the entire site as there are a number of steps along the way, along with some sections where the paths are just rough strips of cut grass.

Visitors with children will especially enjoy the lawn area which has picnic benches, the aforementioned pond and viewing platform, a woodland, and a large open lawn area.

Inveresk Lodge Garden

Tourist information

When you arrive you’ll find ample parking spaces either on the road outside the lodge or actually in the lodge itself – but these are only for NTS members.

NTS members also have free entry, but as it’s only a few pounds to enter, this is one instance where not having an NTS membership isn’t a big deal.

Walking around the gardens at a leisurely pace shouldn’t take much more than an hour, but you’ll no doubt want to spend longer in the height of summer when the garden becomes a sanctuary of tranquillity.

There are benches tucked away in all corners of the garden and many are covered with a canopy of trees that offer protection from the sun, so as mentioned above, if you’re looking for a good place to chill out with a book, bear Inveresk Lodge Garden in mind.

Inveresk Lodge Garden

As far as facilities go, well, there aren’t any, to be honest, other than toilets that are accessed via the Edwardian glasshouse.

That being said, there’s a large Tesco superstore just a 5-minute drive away in Musselburgh which has a cafe and toilets, and Musselburgh high street has a number of restaurants and fast food eateries to choose from.

Those visitors who’d like to visit other parks and gardens in the area have a number of choices, but two personal recommendations are Carberry Tower House which has large grounds and woodland walks, and Dalkeith Country Park which has countryside walks, a nice shopping village, and a large adventure play park.

Inveresk Lodge Garden

Explore this area with a detailed paper map from Ordnance Survey:

Edinburgh – 350 Explorer.

OS Explorer Maps: Best for walking, mountain biking, and finding footpaths. 1:25,000 scale (4 cm = 1 km in real world). Buy OS Explorer maps direct from Ordnance Survey.

OS Landranger Maps: Best for road cycling, touring by car, and finding attractions. 1:50 000 scale (2 cm = 1 km in real world). Buy OS Landranger maps direct from Ordnance Survey.


Things to do nearby

Carberry Tower Mansion House. Carberry Tower Estate, Musselburgh EH21 8PY. 5-minute drive.
This grand 18th-century country house is set on 35 acres of countryside and is situated between Dalkeith and Musselburgh near Edinburgh.

The house is open both as a hotel and as a restaurant. The grounds are free to visit and have paths that run to Queen Mary’s Mount where Mary Queen of Scots is said to have rested after her defeat in Edinburgh on 15 June 1567.

Dalkeith Country Park. Via King’s Gate, Dalkeith EH22 1ST. 9-minute drive.
One of the largest country parks in Midlothian. Dalkeith Country Park centres around Dalkeith House (not accessible to the public) and comprises rolling fields and a large woodland.

There are lots of paths that run through the woodland and open fields. The newly-installed Restoration Yard visitor centre includes shops and cafés. A large children’s play park – Fort Douglas – is located alongside the River South Esk.

Dalkeith Country Park

Newhailes Estate. Address: Musselburgh, EH21 6RY. Distance: 2 miles. 9-minute drive.
Newhailes is a category A listed building built in the 18th century for the wealthy Dalrymple family.

It is managed by the National Trust for Scotland which keeps the house open for guided tours and maintains the gardens for self-guided walks. The house contains one of the largest private libraries in Europe.

Prestongrange Mining Museum. Prestonpans EH32 9RX. 7-minute drive.
An open-air museum that features a collection of original machinery and industrial buildings from across 400 years when the site was used as a glass works, a pottery and a colliery.

Entry is free. An on-site shop is open during the summer months only.

Musselburgh Beach. Address: Musselburgh, EH21 6DH. Distance: 1.6 miles. 7-minute drive.
Musselburgh Beach is a small strip of golden sand located next to the historic Fisherow Harbour in Musselburgh, East Lothian.

The beach is a popular destination for locals in the summer as it sees fewer visitors than nearby Portobello and it’s easily reached from Musselburgh high street.


Frequently asked questions

Who lives in Inveresk Lodge?

No one currently lives in Inveresk Lodge. Between 1774 and 1911 Inveresk Lodge was the home of the Wedderburn family. The house and gardens are owned and managed by the National Trust for Scotland which inherited them from their previous owner Mrs Helen Brunton in 1958.

What does Inveresk mean?

The name Inveresk is derived from the Scottish Gaelic word ‘Inver’ which means a river mouth. ‘Esk’ refers to the nearby River Esk that flows through Midlothian and East Lothian.

What county is Inveresk in?

Inveresk is situated in the county of East Lothian, Scotland.

Do National Trust England members get free entry in Scotland?

The English National Trust has a reciprocal arrangement with the National Trust for Scotland whereby after the first year, entry to NTS properties is half price for NT members.

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By Craig Neil

Craig Neil is a travel writer from Edinburgh with a passion for exploring the hidden gems of Scotland. From the rugged Highlands to the bustling cities, he's dedicated years to touring the country and uncovering its many attractions. Join him as he shares insider tips and personal experiences to help visitors find the best things to do in Scotland. Follow him on Facebook, Pinterest, and YouTube.

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