A Statue of Lord Kelvin Greets You at the Gate
Having a fun-filled, yet tiring, time in Belfast? Looking for a bit of peace and quiet? Away from the hustle and bustle of the City (though not as far as you’d think), Belfast’s Botanic Gardens are ideal for a much needed breather or even just some room to think. Just take a seat; there are plenty of benches to be found along the paths or shelter under a number of different species of tree. Either way, the gardens are a great spot for a read or a bite to eat.
The gardens are definitely well loved by the locals and are kept immaculate. The flower beds are a plethora of different colours and shapes and the gardens feature numerous breeds of plants, trees and vegetation with even more in the Palm House. The Palm House was built in 1840 after being designed by renowned architect Charles Lanyon, whose presence is felt throughout the city. It houses hundreds of different exotic and rare plants (some are many centuries old); the stove wing, in which you’ll find these tropical plants, is often described as being a “mini jungle”. The gardens also feature the Tropical Ravine House; this features a number of unusual tropical plants growing from a ravine sunken into the ground. The ravine runs the length of the house with balconies on either side for viewing.
The Victorian Era Palm House.
The gardens are also home to the Ulster Museum, a wealth of knowledge and intrigue well worth seeing, and a statue commemorating Belfast-born mathematical physicist Lord William Kelvin (from whom the unit of measurement for temperature comes from). You’ll also find a rose garden, a bandstand and a bowling green; there’s plenty to see and easily enjoyed with a leisurely stroll.
Have a dog to walk or just looking to avoid the masses? The Botanic Gardens are there for everyone and anyone, providing a blissful calm while remaining within walking distance of the city centre. If you are feeling the need to escape the city; there’s nothing to hear here but bird song and plenty of sights just to take in. Probably not something you’re going to base your trip to Belfast on but definitely worth remembering while you are here. The gardens are open all year round and completely free to enter, as are the Palm House, Tropical Ravine House and even the Ulster Museum.
Words & Image by John Temke. Credit for First Image; Lyn Gately