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 firstname.lastname@example.org.