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Restoration of the Tropical Ravine

The Tropical Ravine is now open to the public following a £3.8million renovation. We have preserved the look and feel of the current building, the only one of its kind in Europe, and protected its unique plant collection, with a modern 21st century twist that will see it become one of Belfast’s popular tourist attractions. 

Before the work started on the Tropical Ravine, many of the plants were moved into the Palm House or rehomed in our rear glass houses. The large specimens that we couldn’t shift had been covered and protected from restoration work and the cold. Some of the plants are very valuable - the cycads are estimated to be over 150 years old. 

The new look ravine takes a step back to how the Victorians designed the original building back in 1887 with old features reinstated and unique details preserved. The building has a new reception area next to the lily pond and has been modernised so that it is more energy efficient. The red bricked walls and window sills have been restored, pathways slightly widened and new triple glazed windows installed to retain heat. 

We have completed this through: 

  • capital works to restore the key historic features of the ravine, including the original work of Charles McKimm's water features and lighting effect arrangements 
  • the creation of a new main entrance enhancing the ravine's visibility, functionality and presence within the gardens as well as its connectivity with the Palm House development of the plant collection, including replacement and replanting of specimens 
  • linkages and landscaping improvements, which have been made with other areas of the gardens, including immediate hard landscaping, paths, paving, seating, lighting, signage, and refurbishment of existing shrubberies 
  • development of appropriate interpretive signs to help enhance the visitor experience for the public, educational and specific user groups, as well as sensory facilities for sight and hearing-impaired visitors.

Tropical Ravine Video

Watch a snapshot about the restoration of the Tropical Ravine.