Botanic Gardens

Top choice gardens in Queen's Quarter
Molly Kate

The showpiece of Belfast's green oasis is Charles Lanyon's beautiful Palm House, built in 1839 and completed in 1852, with its birdcage dome, a masterpiece in cast-iron and curvilinear glass. Nearby is the 1889 Tropical Ravine, a huge red-brick greenhouse designed by the garden's curator Charles McKimm. Inside, a raised walkway overlooks a jungle of tropical ferns, orchids, lilies and banana plants growing in a sunken glen. It reopened in 2018 following a £3.8 million renovation.

Just inside the Botanic Gardens' Stranmillis Rd gate is the Lord Kelvin statue of Belfast-born Sir William Thomson (1824–1907), who helped lay the foundation of modern physics and invented the Kelvin scale, which measures temperatures from absolute zero (–273°C or 0°K).

Free hour-long guided tours of the Palm House and Tropical Ravine are offered at 2pm on Tuesday and Thursday and 11am on Wednesday. Book a space by emailing