REVIEW RESULTS - WHITEHALL GARDEN CENTRE, LACOCK
Whitehall Garden Centre started out life as a small shed in 1968 on the farm of Phyllis Self. Now one of the top 20 largest UK garden centre in terms of turnover, it is a huge business in its own right.
THE OUTSIDE AREA
In this area at least, they have captured the market as far as parents with children are concerned. There is a large children's playground with lots of cars, ropes, swings and other attractions. To one side is a separately enclosed toddlers play area. Overlooking the two areas is a grassed area with picnic tables giving clear view of the kids at play. A well thought out and well-executed set of facilities which clearly pays off. Whitehall Garden Centre at Lacock has lots of parents and children wandering round, all courtesy of the excellent children's facilities.
There is a large and very well equipped plant information centre in the plants area alongside a garden design centre. The outside plants area is on a slight slope and some areas have steps down to the next area. But go to one side of these and ramps are there for wheelchair users. The paths are wide and surfaced with tarmac in most areas with just a few relatively solid gravelled paths.
Hedging, often neglected by other garden centres, is fully featured at Whitehall Garden Centre in Lacock. The saying goes that "a picture speaks a thousand words", well they have gone one better here! There is a circle of about 20 small hedges, each named and fully described, so that you can see what a specific hedge really looks like in real life.
We were impressed by this because a hedge is a major feature in many gardens and here you have the chance to select the correct one for your garden. This has clearly taken much effort to create and illustrates how innovative and thoughtful the owners of this garden centre are.
Fruit trees, as mentioned previously, are well-featured at Whitehall's. But wander round the left hand side of the plants area and you will find a small exhibition of a model fruit tree garden. Rather than concentrate on showing specific varieties of fruit tree they have concentrated on different methods of growing them. Espaliers, cordons, arched trees, upright and several other cultural methods are clearly shown. The time to see these is when they are free of leaves. The structure of the branches and the type of pruning required is then clearly evident.
Set in the plants area are several unusual features. One is medium sized shop featuring a large range of reclaimed wrought iron garden and kitchen furniture and other hard-to-find garden features.
At the far left side of the plants area Whitehall Garden Centre have a very large area devoted to garden buildings, sheds and greenhouses, we reckon there must be around 60 or 70 on display. There are some spectacular examples of modern-designed garden buildings along side many traditional ones. All attractively laid out and very accessible.
Prices are just slightly above the average although not much. Examples include clematis starting at £9.99, roses also starting at £9.99, Yeoman spade £12.99 with a stainless steel version at £19.99. Miracle Gro £5.99, Tomorite 1 litre tomato fertiliser is £4.99 with the Westland version only costing £2.99. Potting compost is J R Bowyers 60 litre multi purpose is £4.99 or three for £12.
The choice of plants for sale is large so you will more than likely find exactly what you are looking for. There is an unusually large selection of roses, clematis ornamental and fruit trees.
INSIDE WHITEHALL LACOCK GARDEN CENTRE
Whitehall Garden Centre also have a larger than expected Food Hall selling delicatessen items, cheeses, meat, pickles, alcoholic drinks and even frozen speciality meals. Overall, one of the best Food Halls we have seen in this area of the UK.
If you want houseplants the choice is wide at this garden centre. lots of different varieties including bonsai trees and some large houseplant specimens all at reasonable prices and in good condition.
Whitehall Garden Centre have their own rather complicated club card 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.
We hope you have enjoyed and benefited from this independent review of the Whitehall Garden Centre Lacock. Remember that it is our opinion and may be the result of one visit only. If you are the owner of the Whitehall Garden Centre Lacock and want to discuss this review with us then please contact us by going to our "contact us" page which can be found here.