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CADBURY GARDEN CENTRE

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Frosts Garden Centres

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SUMMARY

FOR
Stunning variety of non-gardening goods for sale.
Pleasant plants area layout.
Quality plants with 5 year hardy plant guarantee.
Good rain cover in plants area, this is a rainy day destination.
 
AVERAGE
None
 
AGAINST
Price definitely higher than average.

REVIEW RESULTS - CADBURY GARDEN CENTRE

Entrance to Cadbury Garden Centre

Cadbury Garden Centre is one of seven in the chain of the Garden and Leisure Group. It was the first garden centre in the group being founded in 1982 as a small market garden. One distinct advantage it had was planning permission for a fully fledged garden centre.
Development of Cadbury Garden Centre was funded principally by the French company Truffaut, a major player in the French garden centre market.

Much of the inspiration for developing the centre was provided by the joint owners Ken and Jackie Lloyd.

The original market garden has steadily developed over the years to become one of the top ten UK garden centres based on turnover. It shares similar values with all the other garden centres in the group - they aim to attract the top end of the market by selling their wares in up market and attractively designed surroundings.

In September 2013 the Garden and Leisure Group were bought by Wyevale Garden Centres.

Cadbury Garden Centre have their own club card scheme (the Garden and Leisure Group scheme) with various benefits for their members. Details of the club and a comparison with the clubs of other garden centres can be found by clicking here. If you are thinking of visiting this garden centre to make a purchase it may well be worth taking a look at their discounts and rewards.

 

OUTSIDE PLANTS AREA DESIGN AND FEATURES

View of the plants area at Cadbury Garden Centre

Outside the interior sales area is a large covered area for tender plants and some of the gardening accessories. The outside plants sales area is solidly paved and mainly flat, certainly easily accessible by a wheelchair user.

The exterior sales area is well designed and makes for pleasant plant selection. The signs to plant groupings are bold and clear with plants being arranged alphabetically.

The large area is principally uncovered but there is a covered pathway along some of the walkways which provides a good deal of rain protection. Umbrellas are available for free if the rain is particularly bad. There is a good selection of garden buildings including sheds and greenhouses supplied by GBC.

Large fish in the outdoor pond

The choice of plants is wide although they do not specialise in any particular plant type at this garden centre.
Plants look healthy and well maintained, hardy plants come with a five year guarantee. There is an outdoor gardening advice centre with lots of books and other information for the gardener. An outdoor pond stocked with large fish is very popular with adults and children.

As far as prices go, they are generally on the high side, you are very unlikely to find any keenly priced goods at Cadbury Garden Centre. Example prices on the gardening side include a standard container of Tomorite at £4.99, 500g of Miracle Gro is £3.99, 1 kilo at £5.99. Roses start at £8.99, potentillas from £9.99.

Northern Polytunnels

INSIDE CADBURY GARDEN CENTRE
Although plant sales are important at Cadbury Garden Centre it is very obvious that they have made huge efforts to "weather-proof" the business. When it's raining or the weather is just plain cold and miserable, customer demand for plants drops off hugely. However, the demand for non-gardening goods and a decent cafe are largely unaffected by the weather.

With this in mind the garden centre has an inordinately large interior sales area selling all manner of non-gardening goods, it's similar to a large department store (see below for details about the in-house cafe). On particularly good example of their attempts at "weather-proofing" is the angling department. Although angling is an outdoor sport, anglers are well-renowned for pursuing their interest whatever the weather.

To take advantage of this, Cadbury's have a self-contained angling department with every imaginable fishing rod, net, fish bait, wading boots and general accessories we have ever seen in a garden centre. Some of the things for sale in this department were a complete mystery to us but then again, we are not keen anglers.

The entire interior sales area is fully focused on satisfying the buying needs and aspirations of the more well off in society. If you go to some larger garden centres you may well see a welcome desk staffed by a smiling sales assistant to make you feel at home. At Cadbury Garden Centre however, one sales assistant is not enough, they have a larger than normal desk not one but two assistants staffing it. We kept an eye on those two assistants for ten minutes or so and not once did anyone one approach them!

As we've said, the interior sales area is extremely large and in common with other garden centres they have a section which stocks Yankee Candles. But this is no ordinary Yankee candle outlet, surely it stocks the largest selection of candles in the UK? The aroma given off as you walk by is almost over-powering. But that's not good enough for this garden centre, oh no! Just round the corner is an area given over to Colony Candles, not quite as large as the Yankee area, but still very big.

We'll pick out a couple more of the specific gift sections at Cadbury Garden Centre but be assured that if we don't mention it they will still stock it. Gifts, cards, ornaments, clocks, baskets, home ware, clothes, music, craft and hobby centre, books, toys - the list goes on ad infinitum. They even have a specific area for wedding day gifts. The extensive display of barbecues includes those from Weber and Outdoor Chef If expense is no object we noted a Leisuregrow 400 series 4 burner gas barbecue for a mere £549! So many of the barbecues are at the top end of the price range and we note that a search on the internet for the same barbecue yields some very interesting price comparisons.

As you wander round this well designed shopping area, the less experienced shoppers amongst you will soon come to the conclusion that the store is never ending. As soon as you turn round a corner, which surely must come to the end of this large garden centre, another vista opens up with even more goodies on show, a true shopper's paradise.

Large Budda head

It is hard to imagine that some of the items for sale at this garden centre are ever bought. Take the large Buddha head on the left for sale at £150 (click the picture to enlarge it).
Who would ever visit a garden centre with a purchase of a large Buddha head in mind, especially at £150? Who would ever go to a garden centre and make an impulse purchase of such an item? Maybe I'm a bit cynical but I bet that the  Buddha will still be there, for sale, in 2 years time, but then again, I'm not a shopaholic.

There are many items which will sell however and one of those is garden and conservatory furniture, as well as indoor furniture. These are all attractively laid out and at Cadburys Garden Centre they even have a dedicated garden furniture help desk so you can be assured of lots of informed advice. Mind you, with some sets of garden furniture here priced at over £1,500 you very likely will benefit from some advice.

The Food Hall at Cadbury Garden Centre deserves a mention if only for the sheer variety of food it sells. If deli items are to your liking then you will most definitely find lots of them here.

The general decor of the interior is better than most garden centres with some paths being covered. In some areas the exposed metal beams of the roof are also covered, but not in all areas. The paths are wide enough for wheelchair access and free from obstruction.

DISABLED ACCESS
Excellent all round with wheelchairs available at the entrance.

OTHER FACILITIES
Car park - Flat and free draining with plenty of space.
Pet Centre - The pet section is large by any standards and stocks an enormous choice of feeds and general pet accessories. They have live pets with hens for egg laying being especially popular. Guinea pigs, rats, birds, ducks, mice, rabbits, all sorts of small live animals are here as well as exotic snakes, gekkos and the like. The kids will love the small animals but maybe you wont be so keen to buy an expensive parquet at a mere £184.
Aquatics - Lots and lots of different types of fish and all the tanks and accessories you might ever need. One tank we saw was priced at £484 on a £156 cabinet to make it look good, and that's just for starters. You haven't even bought the fish, sand and all the paraphernalia which accompanies the purchase of a fish tank.
Water Features - Lots of them, well displayed around various areas of the garden centre.
Sheds and Greenhouses - Lots of sheds and greenhouses supplied by GBC.
Hot Tubs - There is an expensive, up market display of hot tubs inside offered by Hot Spring Southwest. One of them was the size of a small swimming pool. We looked for the price of the large hot tub but, of course, there were no prices on display! What we did notice however was a sign saying the price of the hot tub was reduced by £3,100.
Toilets - modern, clean and functional. Ladies, gents, disabled and baby-changing facilities.

STAR RATINGS CADBURY 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 rating below is based on a limited range of sample prices.

FACILITY BEING RATED  RATING
Plant quality
Outside area layout
Interior sales
Cafe food quality (see full cafe review here)
Cafe decor and atmosphere
Prices
Overall rating
AVERAGE USER RATING 4 star user rating 1 REVIEWS LEFT SO FAR

4 star rating 4 May 2013 Comment From: Julie
Lots to do and see at this garden centre, its huge and easily good for an afternoon out. Two problems though are the poor service in the cafe and the high prices - far too high compared to other shops.

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We hope you have enjoyed and benefited from this independent review of the Cadbury Garden Centre. Remember that it is our opinion and may be the result of one visit only. If you are the owner of the Cadbury 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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