If you’re searching for the perfect place to enjoy the afternoon sun, people watch, or literally ‘stop and smell the roses’, look no further than Belfast’s Botanic Gardens. A short walk from Queen’s University and adjacent to the Ulster Museum, the Botanic Gardens is a popular spot for local residents, students, and tourists alike.
Established in 1828 as the private Royal Belfast Botanical Gardens, the park housed tropical tree species and impressive plant collections from the southern hemisphere, many of which can still be seen today. Now a public park, the gardens’ centrepiece is the beautiful Palm House, a Victorian glasshouse filled with colourful displays of geraniums, fuchsia, and begonia.
Like the Palm House, the Tropical Ravine, another garden greenhouse, contains a plethora of exotic plants, including orchids, lilies, cinnamon, and banana trees. From a balcony, your group can admire the jungle of florae and may even catch the carnivorous pitcher plant snapping up a fly.
Before wandering through the green oasis of the park’s towering oak trees or its extensive rose garden, be sure to say hello to the Belfast-born scientist Lord Kelvin, whose statue you can find just inside the Stranmillis Road entrance. Kelvin helped lay the foundation of modern physics and invented the Kelvin Scale, which starts at absolute zero – or minus 237 degrees Celsius – though it’s unlikely you’ll experience those kind of temperatures in Belfast!
Belfast’s Botanic Gardens is open to the public and is completely free for your entire group to enjoy. The park opens daily at 7:30am, though closing times vary according to the time of year.
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