The Botanic Gardens in Belfast are a very pleasant place to spend some time, and they are also a great reminder of my childhood. I used to walk through them every day to get the bus home from school, so my recent return was more than a little nostalgic. In truth, nothing much has changed, and I suspect it has been thus since the Gardens opened in 1828. Mind you, in those days you would needed to have been fairly well-heeled to get in as it was a private operation with the public only admitted on Sundays! All that changed in 1895 when the place passed into public ownership and then, as now, any Tom, Dick or Harry (even me) is entitled to wander about it's pleasant grassy areas, walks and, well, gardens.
There are a couple of notable features, not including the Ulster Museum which is located here and is the subject of a seperate tip. The first is the Palm House (pictured), which looks as quintessentially 19th century as it's 1840 completion date suggests. It is one of the first of it's type in the world and was built by a chap called Richard Turner who went on to build the more famous glasshouse at Kew Gardens in London. I actually quite like it, but again, that may just be the nostalgia kicking in.
The second building of note is the Tropical Ravine, a somewhat grandiose name for what is merely another greenhouse. As the name suggests, you enter at ground level and you are on a balcony with the plants growing in a ravine below you. It is a much more prosaic looking building and I really cannot get enthused about it, although botanists will undoubtedly find much to delight them.
If you have small children with you, you can amuse them in the play area provided.
One word of caution though. On the occasional sunny day that Belfast gets, the place becomes completely overrun with students from the nearby Queen's University!
The gardens are popular with locals, students & tourists. They contain a children's playground, bowling green, walking routes, lawns & flower beds. Also here you'll find two buildings worth a visit, the Palm House & Tropical Ravine.
The gardens are open all year round from 7.30am to sunset.
The Palm House is one of the earliest examples of a curvilinear and cast iron glasshouse. Its construction was initiated by the Belfast Botanical and Horticultural Society in the 1830s. The two wings were completed in 1840, and were built by Richard Turner of Dublin, who later built the Great Palm House at Kew Gardens. Over the years, the Palm House has acquired a reputation for good plant collections. The cool wing houses all year round displays of colour and scent using plants such as geranium, fuchsia, begonia and bulb displays. The stove wing and dome area contain a range of temperate and tropical plants with particular emphasis on species of economic value. The gardens contain the Tropical Ravine, Rose Gardens and fine herbaceous borders.
April - September: Mon - Fri 10.00-12.00 & 13.00-17.00, Sat - Sun 13.00-17.00
October - March: Mon - Fri 10.00-12.00 & 13.00-16.00, Sat - Sun 13.00-16.00
Public Holidays as Saturday & Sunday
Admission is free
To the northwest of the park, when you walk past roses and hedges, you'll get to both classic Palm House and Tropical Ravine. On sunny days the park's filled with people, particularly students, because Queens Uni is nearby.
The Gardens are a regular venue for opera and rock concerts, like the annual Tennent's Vital Festival which attracts top names each summer. Other annual events include Belfast's Indian festival, Mela and Garden Gourmet, a celebration of food and flowers.
The Palm House, masterpiece of moulded glass and wrought iron, was built in 1839 by Richard Turner, who also built the Great Palm House at Kew Gardens. It was restored in 1852. It displays exotic trees and flowering plants. The Ravine, built in 1889, features a humid jungle, and here you can see giant waterlilies as well.
Open daylight hours (until dusk)
The grounds are nice and there is a fairly good variety of flowers on display, but after seeing so much (and living in places where there is so much), I wasn't as moved as I could have been. Although hey...I did get a killer picture out of the visit! If you go to the Ulster Museum though, it is virtually on the same grounds, so you might as well take a stroll through.
Botanic Gardens of Belfast has beautiful colourful flowerbeds with rose gardens, a wide variety of trees, an artificial Tropical Ravine (built in 1887) and a Victorian Palm house (built in 1839) which offer a quiet place to visit and rest.
I first started to come here when i was about 15 to drink cider in the bushes so as not to get arrested for under aged drinking, as did a few hundred more kids like myself. In a way i have alot to thank this place for as i met a really good friend here who was from west Belfast and me from east Belfast could have made it a bad combination but as it turned out we had alot in common. I started to look at things differently from that day on and left alot of my predjuces behind. Anyway this is a nice place to come if your in Belfast to take a stroll around or sit and relax. You can also wonder arond the large greenhoused that are here and look at the plants with the unpronounceable names. We also have a few concerts that are held here, one of the biggest was U2...yeah :))
Any gardners and plant lovers should visit the Botanic Gardens.
Two of the most noticeable early greenhouses in Europe are to be found in Belfast's Botanic Gardens. Its central dome shelters tall cycads and palms while one of the wings has displays of tropical flowering plants and the other tropical economic plants like coffee, sugar and banana. There is also an extensive rose garden and some long herbaceous borders, rare oaks planted in the 1880s, including the hornbeam-leaved oak. A national Collection of Donard raised plants is being assembled.
The Botanic Gardens are right by the Queens University.
Admission is free. though the opening hours of the giant Palm House are a bit more limited.
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