Image by Molly Kate Five Hundred Pixels
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 is due to reopen in late 2017 following a £3.8 million restoration.
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 who invented the Kelvin scale, which measures temperatures from absolute zero (–273°C or 0°K).