'We are gutted’: Edinburgh Butterfly and Insect World to close doors for good after nearly 40 years

A Lothians institution, the Edinburgh Butterfly and Insect World, is to close doors for good after nearly forty years, it has been confirmed.

Tuesday, 13th July 2021, 4:08 pm
Volunteer Alex with Deputy Manager at Butterfly and Insect World

A customer services official for Dobbies Garden Centres, which owns the site, confirmed to the Evening News the attraction at Melville Nursery in Lasswade will not reopen.

Bosses said that they took the “difficult decision” to shut its doors permanently, following a review of their future.

The attraction, which opened in 1984, is understood to be the world's longest running indoor butterfly house.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

It’s home to many reptiles, animals, butterflies, bugs and beasties, plus a gift shop and outdoor play area.

After garden centres reopened in August, the Lasswade attraction welcomed customers back temporarily for pre-booked visits but has remained shut since the last lockdown.

But in an email to the relative of a staff member, the CEO of Dobbies confirmed that “exceptionally challenging circumstances” during the pandemic have forced them to close their doors permanently.

Mhairi Whyte, whose son Alex volunteered for more than a year at the site, said staff and volunteers are devastated.

The mum from Loanhead is appealing for people to come forward to help her raise cash to save the attraction.

She said: “We are gutted. Alex hoped to work there one day. It was the world to him. He is so into the animals and looking after them that he now collects reptiles and we have four tanks at home. That has been what kept him going throughout these long hard months of lockdowns. It’s a devastating loss for so many.”

"They saved Gorgie Farm. If they can tell us how much we’d need to raise to save it then I’ll do whatever I can to help.”

Dobbies has been contacted for comment.

A message from the Editor:

Thank you for reading this article. We're more reliant on your support than ever as the shift in consumer habits brought about by coronavirus impacts our advertisers.

If you haven't already, please consider supporting our trusted, fact-checked journalism by taking out a digital subscription at https://www.edinburghnews.scotsman.com/subscriptions.