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Botanic Gardens Tropical Ravine reopens in Belfast after £3.8m refurbishment

13th Apr 2018

The £3.8 million makeover of the Tropical Ravine in Belfast’s Botanic Gardens has been completed, with the attraction reopening to the public tomorrow.

Belfast City Council alone have invested £1.5m in the project, which is housed in a listed building in the gardens that dates back to 1887.

 

A contribution to the revamp was also made by the Friends of Botanic Gardens Group, with funding also being provided from the Heritage Lottery Fund.

On Wednesday, a host of councillors, residents and specially invited guests got a sneak peak of the new Tropical Ravine, which houses some plants estimated to be more than 150 years old.

Lord Mayor of Belfast Councillor Nuala McAllister officially reopened the attraction by unveiling a plaque alongside the chair of the Heritage Lottery Fund, Sir Peter Luff.

“This was a mammoth task and was more than three years in the making but I think when people come and see it for themselves, they will agree it has been well worth the wait,” she said.

"The Tropical Ravine is a unique asset for Belfast and has always been a popular visitor attraction. Thanks to this spectacular makeover I have no doubt that it will continue to attract new visitors and will be a fantastic addition to our tourism offering."

The 131-year-old building has been restored with many of its original Victorian features reinstated and preserved.

Split over two levels, the building features an open reception area on the ground floor and has been made more energy efficient to retain heat, ensuring the plants in the ravine have the right environment to grow.

The Tropical Ravine features new interactive and digital exhibits so visitors can learn about the conservation work and the collection of plants.

Sir Peter Luff said the Tropical Ravine is a “true heritage treasure” that rewards its visitors with a “unique, entertaining and educational experience”.

“It is thanks to National Lottery players that the Ravine's fine Victorian built heritage and hugely important plant collection have been preserved for the people of Belfast and beyond to enjoy for many more years to come," he added.

Mr Frank Caddy, Chair of the Friends of Botanic Gardens, which was closely involved in and contributed to the project, said they look forward to many more visitors enjoying the attraction.

"We are delighted, we have achieved so much more than the restoration of the roof which is what we began by lobbying for,” he said.

“The Tropical Ravine has been transformed into a fantastic visitor and educational space, an outstanding amenity that will last for future generations.”

Source: Belfastlive