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BUSY BEE GARDEN CENTRE, RYDE

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ADDRESS:
Busy Bee Garden Centre,
Brading Road,
Ryde,
Isle of Wight
PO33 1QG
  
OWNER:
Privately owned by Chris and Mary Leslie
 
TELEPHONE NUMBER:
01983 811096
 
WEBSITE:
Click here for the Busy Bee garden centre website

GOOGLE MAP: Click here for a Google map showing the location of Busy Bee garden centre in Ryde

MULTIMAP: Click here for a Multimap showing the location.

EMAIL: contact@busybeegardencentre.com

The Busy Bee garden centre on the Isle of Wight started out in 1987 and was almost immediately destroyed in the storms of that year. Not deterred the owners restarted development again and over the last three decades have built it up to be the largest garden centre on the island. As well as plants they also put much of their efforts into developing the interior sales area and one of the best regarded cafes in the UK.

Entrance to Busy Bee garden centre in Ryde, Isle of Wight
Entrance to the garden centre, click to enlarge.

The entrance above is more like that of a small Dobbies garden centre rather than the other garden centres on the island. The plants area outside is on three levels and is relatively small compared to the overall size of the garden centre. They sell a wide range of all types of plants, shrubs and trees. They are in good condition and hardy plants are sold with a five year guarantee.

Garden furniture sales link picture

Because of the three levels, getting around the plants area is not as simple as many other garden centres. There is a choice of steps for the able bodied or paths for those in wheelchairs. One advantage of the layout though is that the entire plants area can be seen from the top level - useful because there are not sufficient signs to indicate where groups of plants are displayed. The top level has a canopy over it with the lower two levels being left open to the elements.

Plants at the Busy Bee Garden Centre
The plants area

In a covered section there is a large (probably the largest on the island) choice of water features well displayed and in working order. If water features are on your shopping list than this garden centre has to be visited.

Water features
Large choice of water features

The main interior sales area is well organised and attractive although like the plants area it is on three levels. The lower two levels are rather dark because of an almost total lack of natural light. Not to our liking but it does increase the size of the area massively. The lower levels tend to be devoted to lots of garden, conservatory and household furniture as well as a women's clothing section.

Gifts, cards, clothes, kitchenware and lots more of non-gardening goods are on display as well as gardening essentials such as pesticides, feeds, tools, bird care, barbecues, pet care (no live pets) and more. House plants are well featured and well displayed offering a good choice at reasonable prices.

Houseplants
Well displayed house plants

CHRISTMAS AT BUSY BEE GARDEN CENTRE


One area where this garden centre scores far above the competition is during the Christmas period. They go to great lengths to decorate large parts of the indoor sales area with Christmas decorations, some of them very impressive centre pieces in their own right. Father Christmas makes a very ostentatious appearance for the kids and his grotto is opened up in the three weeks before Christmas. Decorations and gifts suitable to the time of year are for sale and there are lots of synthetic and real trees in a choice of different varieties. At Christmas time Busy Bee is definitely the garden centre on the Isle of Wight to visit. Opening times at Christmas are the same as normal except for the dates shown further down this page.

THE OLIVE TREE RESTAURANT


The cafe is well-regarded by locals and the daily Telegraph voted it one the top 25 garden centre cafes in the UK for 2014. In our opinion that would be an exaggeration but it certainly is a very pleasant place for anything from a coffee and a cake to a full main meal. The decor is attractive and the solid wooden tables and chairs look good. The chairs are the same as those found in churches complete with a little place to store prayer books. 

Church style chairs
Church style solid wood chairs

The high ceiling and lots of windows let in lots of light making the whole cafe very airy. The large centre-piece olive tree in the middle of the room is eye-catching. Main meals cost around £8 and snack meals such as paninis, baguettes and toasties are at the £5 level. The cafe has a fast wi fi with the password on the receipt for food. Cooked meals are promptly served to your table. There is also a large outdoor seating area.

Example of cafe snack food
Cafe snack food

Food quality is high and the portions were generous, our tuna baguette was stuffed with a huge amount of filling. The cafe was awarded four stars (out of a possible five) for Food Hygiene in October 2012 by the Isle of Wight Council, slightly disappointing given its top 25 rating by the Daily Telegraph in 2104.

Food Hygeine rating 4

Nearby garden centres and plant nurseries include the Dalverton Garden Centre at Sandown,

WEATHER FORECAST: Click here for the the weather forecast in the Isle of Wight area.

OPENING HOURS: BUSY BEE GARDEN CENTRE

  Open Close
Monday 8.00am 5.00pm
Tuesday 8.00am 5.00pm
Wednesday 8.00am 5.00pm
Thursday 8.00am 5.00pm
Friday 8.00am 500pm
Saturday 8.00am 5.00pm
Sunday 10.30am 4.30pm

Closed on Christmas Day, Boxing Day, New Year's Day and Easter Sunday.
From 27th December to New Year's eve the opening hours are 10.00 to 4.00


REVIEWS LEFT BY OUR READERS


AVERAGE USER RATING 4 star user rating 1 REVIEWS LEFT SO FAR

4 star user rating 27 March 2014 Comment From: Dave
The biggest and possibly the best on IOW but very dark on the lower sales floors. The cafe is good but overrated by some.


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