Gardening is an enduring pastime, known for enhancing health and wellbeing, and surrounding homes with natural beauty. To get ideas for what to do with your space, there's nothing like getting out to a garden centre.
Even in this golden age of internet shopping, the majority of people continue to prefer visiting the garden centre in person. According to a recent survey by GlobalData, 63.8% of UK gardening shoppers would rather shop in bricks and mortar stores, compared to the average of 59.5% across all retail sectors. Meanwhile, UK gardening spend will rise 1.5% in 2019, reaching £4.43m in 2020.
Garden shoppers are less loyal, too. Only 35.5% would stick with the same retailer, whether at a different store or online, compared to the 39.9% average across all retail sectors.
It is easy to see why. A garden centre trip can be a day out, with most not content with just selling herbs and hardy perennials. You can grab a cup of tea while you are there in a fancy tearoom and some even have a play area for the kids, or a farm shop to browse.
If you find yourself asking, 'what's the best garden centre near me?' we have you covered below. Or, for more garden advice and inspiration, head over to the Period living channel.
1. David Austin Plant Centre and Gardens
Visitors reputedly travel thousands of miles to visit David Austin Plant Centre and Gardens near Wolverhampton, home to one of the world's most prolific rose growers. Accompanying the well-stocked garden centre is a stunning show garden featuring over 700 different varieties of roses covering around two acres.
The garden is divided into a number of smaller areas, each with its own look – from the Victorian Walled Garden with its circular borders, to the Renaissance Garden, devoted to English roses, which start flowering in late May and continue right through to the frosts of early winter.
With a delightful garden tearoom and restaurant, you'd be forgiven for forgoing the shopping and soaking up the atmosphere. But you'll be hard pressed to leave without investing in at least one of David Austin's many award-winning roses.
Set over 15 acres, Burford is the Cotswolds' leading destination for garden and home lovers alike. Drawing inspiration from the latest garden and interiors trends, Burford offers a creative, continually updated display of unique and hand-picked products.
The mix of plants is second to none, and the garden centre also offers clothing, food and an art gallery showcasing affordable, original paintings and sculptures by artists from across the UK, but mainly from the local area.
Don't forget to stop in at the award-winning café, set in a light-filled glasshouse, and serving local produce.
3. Wyevale Garden Centres
There are around 40 Wyevale Garden Centres throughout the UK, so you'll never be too far away from one of the nation's biggest plant retailers.
With a huge product range on offer and an expert team on hand to offer handy tips and advice, you will find all the garden essentials and beautiful plants, alongside stylish homeware and in-store restaurants.
If you aren't sure where your nearest Wyevale Garden Centre is located, check our handy list of stores below:
- Altrincham, Cheshire
- Birchencliffe, Huddersfield
- Bournville, Birmingham
- Braintree, Essex
- Bridgemere, Cheshire
- Brockworth, Gloucestershire
- Canterbury Chartham, Kent
- Cheltenham, Gloucestershire
- Chipperfield, Hertfordshire
- Crawley, West Sussex
- Dummer, Hampshire
- Elm Court, Kent
- Enfield, Middlesex
- Harrow, Middlesex
- Hitchin, Hertfordshire
- John Browns, Dorset
- Louth, Lincolnshire
- Lower Morden, Morden
- Ongar, Essex
- Osterley, west London
- Paddock Wood, Kent
- Par, St Austell
- Potters Bar, Hertfordshire
- Rayleigh, Essex
- Springfield, Essex
- Stanway, Essex
- Stevenage, Hertfordshire
- Swindon Hay Lane
- Syon Park, Brentford
- Tarporley, Cheshire
- Thatcham, Berkshire
- Tring, Hertfordshire
- Tunbridge Wells, Kent
- Upminster, Essex
- Wimborne, Dorset
- Windsor, Berkshire
- Wolseley Bridge, Staffordshire
4. Petersham Nurseries
More than your average garden centre, Petersham Nurseries in Richmond, Surrey, is an emporium of beautiful plants, unique pieces for the garden, and handpicked homeware.
No visit would be complete without a trip to Petersham Nurseries Café. Far from the traditional café environment, the restaurant serves seasonal, Italian-inspired food, set within a glasshouse brimming with fragrant bougainvillea and jasmine.
Alternatively, for a hearty, homemade lunch or afternoon tea and cake, pop into The Teahouse.
5. Harlow Carr Plant Centre
Tie in a visit to one of England's most relaxing gardens with a browse of an extensive plant centre at Harlow Carr in Harrogate, at the gateway to the Yorkshire Dales.
Be inspired by planting in the borders, then take a note of its name and pick it up in the shop. The kitchen garden offers a wealth of inspiration and growing techniques, while the streamside garden is the largest of its kind in the country.
And, just in case you need any more convincing, there is a Bettys café on site, with a terrace to allow you to view the gardens with a cup of tea and Fat Rascal in hand.