A NEW public attraction inspired by a 17th-century herb garden is to be created at the Palace of Holyroodhouse.

The Royal Collection Trust has announced plans for the Edinburgh garden inspired by a “physic” or medicinal garden that was once based in the grounds of the palace.

The first of its kind in Scotland, it was created to teach students about the medicinal properties of plants and to provide pharmacists with fresh materials.

The new attraction will be created in the area behind the Abbey Strand buildings and will have raised flowerbeds laid out in a geometric pattern, reflecting the design of early botanic gardens.

Royal Collection Trust director Jonathan Marsden said: “The return of scientific gardening to the place of its birth in Scotland will provide a new focus of interest for palace visitors, for the local community and especially, we hope, for young people.

"It forms an important part of our plans to make more of the palace’s surroundings and will provide a family-friendly space moments from the Royal Mile.”

The gardens have had a number of uses over the centuries. During the time of Mary, Queen of Scots they included areas for jousting, hunting, hawking and archery. At another, they housed a menagerie with tigers, lynx, bears, a lion and a camel.