- On the shores of Duddingston Loch at the foot of Arthur Seat, just 2 miles from the City centre, lies one of the most beautiful small gardens in Scotland. It is situated within the grounds of the 12th Century Duddingston Kirk. A colourful series of terraces, sloping down to the bird sancturary loch along with the peace and tranquility of this unique garden makes it an ideal short excursion away from the busy city. The Thomson Tower is an octagonal building, which sits in the grounds of Dr Neil's Garden. It was designed by William Playfair and built by Duddingston Curling Society in 1825 as a meeting house when they gathered to curl on the frozen loch. The Tower was named after Duddingston Kirk's most famous minister, Rev John Thomson (1778 – 1840). Thomson was a noted landscape artist, one of the first in Scotland, who used the tower as his studio. His celebrated artist friends Joseph turner and Sir Henry Raeburn used to visit him there, as did Sir Walter Scott, who was an elder of the Kirk at that time. The building has now been restored, its ground floor is dedicated to the sport it created while the upper floor is an interpretation centre to the village and garden, with the opportunity of being used for small exhibitions and functions. At present the Tower is open to the public at weekends during July and August, or by special arrangements. The garden is open to the public at all times. There is no charge for visiting it, but donations would be welcome on the way out.
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