It is characterised by its wealth of open green space. The Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh and Inverleith Park, in addition to the numerous playing fields owned and used by The Edinburgh Academy, Fettes College, Stewart's Melville College and George Heriot's (all independent schools), form the majority of the area. The nursery garden that the Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh uses to grow and cultivate the plants for its garden is also located here, just across the road from it. Within the actual area itself, there are very few shops and no offices, but is purely a residential and recreational area.
Today Inverleith is home to some of Edinburgh's wealthiest residents, with houses invaribly being sold considerably in excess of one million pounds sterling. These include Scotland's most expensive penthouses, selling for £1.5m, and a recently renovated villa, which sold for over two million pounds sterling. The houses are generally handsome and spacious Victorian or Edwardian villas with two or three floors, garages and quite large gardens. The residents tend to be employed in professions in central Edinburgh. It is convenient for such workers, as it lies only a mile and a half from the centre. Being on grounds slightly higher than the centre, it commands great views of the Edinburgh skyline, including Edinburgh Castle and Arthur's Seat. It has one of the lowest crime rates in the city.
Within the area are Fettes College, (an independent boarding school) where former British Prime Minister Tony Blair was educated, The Edinburgh Academy, an independent day school where the previous British Lord Chancellor Lord Falconer was educated, and Broughton High School (state-run).
Inverleith was for over two centuries owned by the Rocheid (sometimes spelt Rochead) family which ended with a co-heiress, Mary (d. 1749) who married Sir Francis Kinloch, 3rd Baronet, of Gilmerton (1676 - 1747). Their son Alexander (d. 1755) inherited the entire Inverleith estates, and changed his surname to become Alexander Rocheid of Inverleith. Alexander and his descendants spent most of their time in Germany, and the Inverleith estate was leased. His son James Rocheid of Inverleith leased Inverleith Mains at the beginning of the 19th century to George Lauder (1776 - 1824), Comptroller of the City of Edinburgh's Tolls, and the great-grandfather of Sir Harry Lauder.
In late 1823 "George Lauder, farmer of Inverleith Mains" agreed with James Rocheid of Inverleith to a reversion of part of his leasehold lands, 11.5 Scots acres, for the establishment of the Royal Botanic Garden (commonly known as "The Botanics"), (opened in May 1824), a large and varied set of gardens or parks with a wide range of plants, from around the world, in the open and in greenhouses. There is a Chinese themed garden, an extensive landscaped rock garden, a large palm house, and since its opening in July 2006, home to the official memorial of the life and legacy of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother, officially opened by Queen Elizabeth II herself. It is maintained as a very popular tourist attraction, local leisure amenity, and scientific research centre.
Inverleith Park, also once part of Inverleith Mains and adjacent to the Botanic Garden, is large and includes allotments and a pond popular for use with model boats. It is also the proposed location for a new Edinburgh Skate Park. Local community group, Friends of Inverleith Park, objected to this in 2004. Plans for a slightly redesigned park are to be considered.
In 1897 land at Inverleith was purchased by the Scottish Rugby Union (then the Scottish Football Union). Thus the organisation became the first of the "Home Unions" to own its own ground. The first visitors were Ireland, on 18 February 1899 when the score was Scotland 3 — Ireland 9. International rugby was played at Inverleith until 1925 when it was transferred to Murrayfield Stadium. The land at Inverleith is now owned by Stewart's Melville College. It is now used as playing fields for rugby in the winter and cricket/athletics in the summer.