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Beautiful Butterflies: 10 Best Butterfly Houses to Visit in the UK

Posted 26 April 2022
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Butterflies undoubtedly are amongst the most beautiful insects out there, so why not plan your next day out at a butterfly house near you and discover hundreds of wonderful species from all over the globe?

A visit to a tropical butterfly house is a guaranteed up-close encounter with exotic butterflies you can’t see just anywhere in the UK. They not only fly freely around you but they might even land on you too! Also, seeing a butterfly emerge from a pulpae is a fascinating sight - your kids won’t be able to stop talking about it. Oh, and if you want an extra fun activity to add to your day out, challenge your little nature lovers to a butterfly spotting competition and see who can find more different species!

A girl with two butterflies

  1. Tropical Butterfly House, Sheffield, South Yorkshire

    Ever since it opened doors in 1994, the Tropical Butterfly House in Sheffield has been one of the most iconic attractions for butterfly lovers in the UK. Once you step inside the butterfly house, you’ll feel like you’ve been transported to the tropical rainforest. Taking a stroll amongst free-flying butterflies and exotic birds is a truly surreal experience. Plus, there are lots of other wonderful creatures roaming around - how many can you spot?

    The Tropical Butterfly House is entirely indoors, so it’s dry and warm - perfect for those rainy days! You can still see beautiful butterflies from Costa Rica and the Philippines resting on the plans, or on the special feeding tables, even in the colder winter months.

  2. Stratford Butterfly Farm, Stratford upon Avon, Warwickshire

    If you’re after variety, Stratford Butterfly Farm is the place to be! Home to over 2 000 wonderful butterflies, this butterfly house boasts 250 different species of tropical butterfly, from 20 countries. But it’s not just butterflies you can see there! The resident iguana and the two colourful Indian ringneck parakeets are just some of the exotic tropical creatures who live at the Farm.

    If you want to teach your kids about the fascinating journey of a butterfly from a tiny egg to a caterpillar, to its final stunning winged form, make sure you visit the Discovery Zone. There you can see butterflies in each life stage. The Emerging Case area where you’ll come face to face with a row upon row of beautiful pupae hanging, is going to have you in complete awe.

  3. The Magic of Life Butterfly House, Aberystwyth, Ceredigion

    The Magic of Life Butterfly House not only has hundreds of your favourite macrolepidoptera, but also giant caterpillars and bizarre insects, so your little, curious, bug explorers will have plenty to discover. You’ll see butterflies get on with their daily life - from feeding, to courting and laying eggs. With over 80 species displayed throughout the year, you’ll have the opportunity to learn about the behaviour of the various types of butterfly too.

    Fancy a walk, surrounded by strange plants from all around the world, including Angels Trumpets with their hanging flowers? You’ll definitely enjoy exploring the exotic garden at The Magic of Life Butterfly House. Dogs are welcome!

    A girl in a hat looking at a butterfly on her finger

  4. Butterfly House at ZSL Whipsnade Zoo, Dunstable, Bedfordshire

    If you live near Dunstable, you’re in luck because you’ve got an amazing butterfly house near you - the butterfly house at ZSL Whipsnade Zoo. with over 30 species on display, it’s amongst the biggest butterfly habitats in the UK, so it’s definitely worth a visit.

    From taking in the wonderful colours all around and trying to spot different species, such as the Blue Tiger, Zebra Longwing and the Madagascan comet moth; to learning about the life of the butterflies in the interactive Metamorphosis Zone - you’ll be in butterfly lover's heaven! Just picture the amazed looks on your little ones’ faces when they see live pupae emerging from their cocoons...

  5. Butterfly Journey at Chester Zoo, Chester, Cheshire

    Another big zoo boasting a wonderful butterfly house is Chester Zoo. Named Butterfly Journey, it is just that - a surreal journey through a tropical habitat. As soon as you venture into the butterfly garden, you’ll feel a change in temperature, mimicking the warm rainforest climate. It’s just like going on an exotic holiday!

    Fluttering around you, there will be hundreds of different species; trying to identify them is the perfect game to keep your tiny butterfly enthusiasts occupied for hours. You’re guaranteed to see lots of butterflies you’ve never come across before. Some have a wingspan of up to 30cm across. Imagine that!

  6. Butterfly and Fountain World, Wootton Bridge, Isle of Wight

    Hundreds of butterflies, dancing gracefully around you, as you walk amongst exotic plants in a fully-covered butterfly house - that’s what your day holds if you decide to visit Butterfly and Fountain World in the Isle of Wight. And you can learn all about the butterfly’s life cycle too, so there will be an educational twist to your family outing.

    What makes Butterfly World stand out from the rest of the butterfly attractions is that it’s also home to Fountain World - a stunning indoor area where you can stroll through Italian and Japanese gardens, pass by Koi ponds and more, without leaving the building. Sounds whimsical, don’t you think?

    Boy looking up at blue butterflies

  7. Butterfly House at Horniman Museum and Gardens, Forest Hill, Greater London

    Looking for a butterfly house in London? Head out to the Horniman Museum and Gardens for an up-close encounter with your favourite winged creatures! Hundreds of butterflies live in the indoor tropical garden and you wouldn’t want to miss out on seeing any of them. Make sure you book your visit in advance though, as only a limited number of people are allowed to enter at one time.

    After you’ve had all the fun you could trying to spot the different species from across the world, and learning about their individual quirks, be sure to make an all-important stop to the gift shop and get a butterfly-inspired souvenir to take home.

  8. Butterfly House and Seaforde Gardens, Downpatrick, County Down

    If you fancy walking around in a warm, exotic jungle, surrounded by free-flying butterflies, or simply sitting quietly in a corner and admiring the different colourful species fluttering around - stop by the Tropical Butterfly House at the Seaforde Gardens. Butterflies are attracted to colourful clothes, so just wear something bright and wait for them to come to you. Your experience can’t get any more up-close than this!

    From Blue Morpho to the King Page Swallowtail, and the Tree Nymph - the list of butterflies you’ve seen will grown immensely. Not to mention the one-of-a-kind photo ops you’ll come across; budding nature photographers will have a blast! Just bare in mind the Butterfly House is closed in winter, so you’ll have to wait for the warmer months to visit.

  9. Earnley Butterflies, Birds and Beasts, Chichester, West Sussex

    If you want to get up close with all sorts of amazing butterflies, Earnley Butterflies, Birds and Beasts is a wonderful place to start with. Watch your new winged friends suck nectar from exotic flowers and fly around, but don’t be surprised if some of them land on you to take a breather!

    Make a game out of it - hunt for eggs and caterpillars, count how many different species you can spot and see if you can find pupae hidden in the foliage. It will feel like a proper family expedition in the tropical jungle and your little ones won’t be able to stop talking about it.

    A girl with a big grin as an orange butterfly lands on her nose

  10. Wye Valley Butterfly Zoo, Ross-on-Wye, Herefordshire

    Wye Valley Butterfly Zoo is a wonderful attraction for nature lovers of all ages - it’s a little tropical paradise nestled in the Forest of Dean between Monmouth and Ross on Wye at Symonds Yat in the Wye Valley. There you’ll have a chance to meet many species of butterflies in different stages of their life - it’s a fantastic learning experience for the little ones too. Make sure you bring a camera along!

    Butterfly conservation is a big part of the work done at Wye Valley Butterfly Zoo, so you’ll also find out how you can make a difference to butterflies all over the world. If you fancy a longer day out, you can also visit the aMazing Hedge Puzzle and the MiniGolf at the attraction - you get to enjoy them for cheaper if you’ve been to the butterfly house!

This is the end of our top 10 list of the best butterfly houses in the UK, so grab your camera and get ready to explore a tropical butterfly house near you!

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