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Northern Polytunnels

SUMMARY

FOR
Top quality plants
Good food in cafe
Excellent aquatics, water features display.
Interesting reptile and exotic pets department.

AVERAGE
Prices

AGAINST
None


OUR OPINION OF BURSTON GARDEN CENTRE

THE PLANTS DISPLAY AREA AT BURSTON GARDEN CENTRE
 
Entrance to Burston Garden Centre, click to enlarge picture Burston is a large garden centre and the plants display area is divided into two. The smaller part is a covered area housing tender plants and the larger part is uncovered where the majority of the plants are displayed.

There is a covered pathway in the plants area and we estimate that about one quarter of the entire are is under cover.

The whole area is paved making wheelchair access very easy and the paths are wide. The plants are displayed in attractive wooden bays with pergolas and displays to provide interest. The signs are very good. Large clear signs to show where plant groups are located and helpful individual plant signs.

THE PLANTS
The plants all looked in excellent condition and Burston have a three year hardy plant guarantee should any of their hardy plants fail. The vast majority of the plants are grown in the UK and nearby Burston Nurseries (clearly visible from the garden car park) supplies them with many of their plants.

Prices are about average in general although the price of our test shrub, the potentilla, was definitely on the high side. With a 56 litre bag of multi-purpose compost costing 4.99, potentillas at 9.49 and roses starting at 7.99, this is not one of the cheaper garden centres. There is a wide choice of plants and lots of larger plants. Shade loving plants are grouped together in a a separate area. As well as the popular plant varieties they also stock some more unusual plants. If topiary is something you are interested in then this garden centre has lots of it.

INSIDE BURSTON GARDEN CENTRE
The inside sales area is very well designed, pleasant decor and spacious feel to it. This is a large garden centre and they provide a very comprehensive selection of gardening accessories. On top of that they stock all those non-gardening items that are so common now in large garden centres - cards, gifts, books, clothes and much more.

They have designed special areas for displaying their indoor, conservatory and garden furniture. There is lots of it and advice is readily given about specific types of furniture if you ask for it. Houseplants are not forgotten, there is a large display and they certainly looked well kept. The Food and Cookshop is a new addition which stocks deli items, cakes, jams, conserves and more. They sell a range of gluten free food.

Feeding garden birds is becoming increasingly popular nowadays and Burston garden centre have a large choice of different bird feeds, bird tables, nesting boxes and bird baths. They have also recently opened a new pet care department. No live pets buts lots of feeds and accessories for pets.

Water feature, click to enlarge picture In a separate building outside of the garden centre there is a combined aquatics and reptiles shop run by Hertfordshire Fisheries. This well worth a visit even if you are not looking to buy anything.

As well as an excellent aquatics department selling a large number of fish of all types they have lots of water features, pond plants and garden statues.

Large and small these are very well displayed and the descriptions are very informative. The reptile and exotic pets section is also very interesting.

WHEELCHAIR ACCESS
Wheelchair access is excellent in both the plants area and the interior sales area. Very few slopes and the surface is solid with wide paths.

CAFE AT BURSTON GARDEN CENTRE

Breakfast meal, click to enlarge the picture The cafe / restaurant is located in its own dedicated area. Overall the decor is very pleasant although the carpet is well-past its sell by date.

They have done a good job in cheaply obscuring the ugly roof - a couple of large hanging decorations and a lick of white paint makes it almost unnoticeable.

The tables and chairs are plastic although they are an up-market plastic, so they look reasonable. Each table has a small bunch of fresh flowers on it, a nice touch. The furniture is arranged in simple rows, a bit more thought could have gone into breaking up the long and rather narrow area. The overall impression though is fine.

The serving area is at the far end of the cafe and there are no queues. There is a small coffee / tea seating are just outside the main cafe area but this looked like it needed a good clean when we saw it - the main cafe area is far better.  Hot meals are served to your table with minimal wait by pleasant staff.

Prices are reasonable for this type of garden centre cafe. There was a choice of four main meals (including a vegetarian option) at 7 to 8. Less substantial meals include paninis, baguettes and sandwiches. Breakfast meals (full breakfast is 5.95) and snacks are served from 9 to 12 (starts at 10 on Sundays) and main meals are served from 12 onwards. Other example food and drink prices are tea from 1.20, filter coffee 1.55 and filled jacket potatoes at around 6.

We sampled a full breakfast (two slice of bacon, not just one as served in many cafes!) and one of the main meals and can report that the food quality is very good and it's well presented.

STAR RATINGS BURSTON GARDEN CENTRE

We rate different aspects of each garden centre and then give an overall rating. We adjust the ratings for garden centre size and purpose. So for example a small nursery which is average compared to other small nurseries will be awarded two and half stars. A large garden centre which is average compared to other large garden centres will also be awarded two and a half stars.

Note that the price ratings below is based on a limited range of sample prices.

BURSTON GARDEN CENTRE RATINGS

FACILITY BEING RATED  RATING
Plant quality 4.5 star rating for plants
Outside area layout 4 star rating for outside area layout
Interior sales 4 star rating for interior sales
Cafe food quality 3.5 star rating for cafe food quality
Cafe decor and atmosphere 3.5 star rating for cafe decor and atmosphere
Prices 3 star rating for prices
Overall rating 4 star rating overall

OTHER STUFF
Car park - Large, hard and flat surface, near the entrance

Pet Centre - Yes, accessories and feeds. Separate areas sell reptiles and exotic pets.

Aquatics - Yes, top quality

Water Features - Yes, lots and very well displayed

Sheds and Greenhouses - Yes

House Plants - Large choice

Wheelchair Access - Excellent

Toilets - Yes

Nearby Garden Centres: Aylett Nurseries, Notcutts St Albans,

CONTACT DETAILS AND DIRECTIONS
Burston Garden Centre
North Orbital Road,
St Albans,
Hertfordshire AL2 2DS

Burston Garden Centre, North Orbital Road, St Albans, Hertfordshire AL2 2DS

Telephone
01727 832444

Website
Their website can be found here.

Email Address
info@burston.co.uk

OPENING HOURS

Full up to date details of their opening hours, including Easter, Christmas and Bank Holidays can be found here.


REVIEWS LEFT BY OUR READERS


AVERAGE USER RATING 5 star user rating 1 REVIEWS LEFT SO FAR

5 star user rating 26 April 2014 Comment From: Margaret Cooke
Extremely pleasant to wander round. Usually see something I want.

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We hope you have enjoyed and benefited from this independent review of Burston Garden Centre. Remember that it is our opinion and may be the result of one visit only. If you are the owner of Burston Garden Centre and want to discuss this review with us then please contact us by going to our "contact us" page which can be found here.

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