Botanic Gardens is an important part of Belfast's Victorian heritage and a popular meeting place for residents, students and tourists.
Botanic Gardens was established in 1828 by the Belfast Botanic and Horticultural Society, in response to public interest in horticulture and botany.
Originally known as the Belfast Botanic Garden, the site contained exotic tree species and impressive plant collections from the southern hemisphere, many of which can still be seen in the park.
Today, the park is popular with residents, students and visitors and is an important venue for concerts, festivals and other events. It is home to the Palm House and the Tropical Ravine.
Top Reasons To Visit
- An early example of a glasshouse made from curved iron and glass
- The Palm House's tropical plants and birds of paradise
- The Tropical Ravine's oldest seed plants
- Walking routes
- Green Flag Award winner - recognises UK's best open spaces
The Tropical Ravine
The Tropical Ravine contains some of the oldest seed plants around today, as well as banana, cinnamon, bromeliad and orchid plants.
The listed building dates back to 1887 and has been restored with many of its original Victorian features reinstated and preserved.
Like the Palm House, it shows how technology allowed gardeners to cultivate unusual species in a greenhouse environment. Features of interest include a plant-filled sunken glen, flowering vines, tree ferns and leaf silhouettes.
The ravine is split over two levels with an open reception area on the ground floor, and the building has been modernised to make it more energy efficient with new triple-glazed windows installed to retain heat and create the right environment for the tropical plants it is home to.
Visitors can learn about the conservation work and plant collection through interactive and digital exhibits.
The Tropical Ravine is open 10am – 5pm, Tuesday – Sunday. It’s closed on Mondays, except Bank Holidays.
You can enter Botanic Gardens at Botanic Avenue, Stranmillis Embankment and University Road. The Tropical Ravine is nearest to the University Road entrance.
The Palm House
The Palm House contains a range of tropical plants, hanging baskets, seasonal displays and birds of paradise, and is one of the earliest examples of a glasshouse made from curved iron and glass. It shows how advances in glasshouse technology allowed horticulturists to grow exotic plant species during the Victorian period.
The building was designed by Sir Charles Lanyon, who also helped design parts of nearby Queen’s University. The foundation stone was laid in 1839 and the two wings were completed in 1840 by leading ironmaster, Richard Turner. The dome was added in 1852.