Saughton Park and Gardens

2019 | Client The City of Edinburgh Council

A series of renovation and new-build works have breathed fresh life into the historic Saughton Park in south-west Edinburgh, the largest and most important community recreational area in this part of the city.

The project included restoration of the walled garden, bandstand and stables and the building of a new café.

Following its opening to the public in 1910, the park, with its stunning gardens and iconic bandstand, was for decades a vital resource for the community – even hosting the Royal Highland Show in 1939 – but it had fallen into disrepair.

The Saughton Park Restoration Project, led by Edinburgh Council in partnership with the Royal Caledonian Horticultural Society (RCHS) and the Friends of Saughton Park, sought to return the Edwardian park to its former glory while also making it more accessible and inclusive.

Saughton Park restoration works

The building works included the construction of a café in timber and steel with open-section rainscreen cladding. The old café was demolished and the space repurposed to be used for markets and other community events. The existing stable block was refurbished and converted into a community hub with facilities for learning.

The large walled garden was fully renovated, including stonework renewal and repair, landscaping and the creation of access paths throughout. 

The glasshouse in the Winter Garden was repaired and the ornate ironwork bandstand was rescued from storage, where it had lain for 30 years, and brought back to life by a Fife-based foundry.

Saughton Park and Gardens, Edinburgh. In the formal garden a historic sandstone sundial is surrounded by  a ring of low wooden benches and flower beds edged with box hedging. In the distance the buildings of Saughton Park - cafe and visitor centre.

The extensive landscape and public realm improvements also allowed for better access and cycle routes through the park, with improved entrance ways and new tarmac paths that link to the wider cycling network. 

The restoration also saw the upgrade of the existing playpark and the creation of a multi-use games area.

Quantity surveying role

The project secured initial funding from the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) to develop fully costed masterplan proposals following public consultation. These were then used to support a further HLF application for funding for the capital works.

As part of our role, we provided the client with cash flow forecasts and worked with them to ensure their budgeting sheets were correct. 

We also helped to control costs through the design and construction phases, monitoring and managing changes, and keeping the client fully informed regarding the progress of the project, which lasted several years.

We further assisted in maintaining lines of communication between the project’s many stakeholders, thereby ensuring budgetary constraints and the financial impact of decision-making were fully understood.

Royal seal of approval

Following the restoration work, the park was officially reopened in June 2019 by HRH The Princess Royal, who is the patron of the RCHS. She also unveiled a plaque to commemorate the milestone and watched the first musical performance in the newly restored bandstand, a pipe band recital by local pupils.

I've worked with Thomson Gray since 2014 and they have undertaken their quantity surveying responsibilities with a high degree of professional expertise. I would highly recommend them.
Linda Anglin
The City of Edinburgh Council


Architect Sutherland Hussey Harris
Landscape Architect Ironside Farrar
Contractor P1 Solutions, Clark Contracts
Structural Engineer Narro Associates
Services Engineer Keenan Consultancy
Quantity Surveyor Thomson Gray
Keith Hunter