Botanic Gardens

Top choice gardens in Queen's Quarter

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).