The world’s longest-running indoor butterfly house is the latest Scottish institution falling victim of pandemic cuts. 

Following a temporary closure due to Covid-19 restrictions, Edinburgh Butterfly and Insects World will be permanently shut after forty years of welcoming children and insect enthusiasts.

Dobbies Garden Centres, which owns the site, confirmed the attraction at Melville Nursery in Lasswade will not reopen.

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

It houses hundreds of free-flying exotic butterflies in an indoor tropical rainforest, besides reptiles and other animals.

The Lasswade attraction briefly welcomed pre-booked visits after garden centres reopened last summer, but it was forced to close again during the last lockdown and has been shut since.

In an email to the relative of a staff member seen by Edinburgh Evening News, Dobbies’ CEO confirmed that “exceptionally challenging circumstances” during the pandemic have forced them to close their doors permanently.

Midlothian MP, Owen Thompson, has urged Dobbies’ managing director to save the site.

He tweeted: “Terrible news that Butterfly and Insect World looks set for closure after 40 years. This is a fantastic #Midlothian based resource. I’ve written to the owner of the site requesting a meeting and will do all I can to save it. #SaveButterflyWorld"

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Others have taken to Twitter to express their disappointment at the news. 

Edinburgh councillor Mark Brown wrote: “Sad times as Edinburgh Butterfly & Insect World is set to close. Hopefully there can be a way to save it.”

Another Twitter user commented: “Sad it’s closing. Did my work experience there when I was at High School and got to see so much work gets done behind the scenes, was almost a snack for the big boa as well.”

A third said: “Very sad to hear that Edinburgh Butterfly and Insect World is to close. All my children held snakes and tarantulas, and fed tortoises there. And loved it, visiting often. I do hope it can find a new home nearby.”