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Northern Polytunnels

REVIEW SUMMARY

FOR
A large range of plants
Healthy plants
A large range of gifts, cards etc.
Good cafe food and stylish coffee shop.

AVERAGE
Layout of the indoor and outdoor areas.

AGAINST
Maidenhead Aquatics not as well laid out as normal.

REVIEW RESULTS

THE PLANTS AREA AT WOODLANDS GARDEN CENTRE
The plants area is well arranged, although a bit more variety in the rows would have been appreciated. The entire area was clean and free from obstructions and fallen leaves. On the day we visited it was warm weather but even so there was no signs of the large hoses that obstruct the paths of some other garden centres.

There was an outside information building with helpful plant information books. There was also a large number of informed and courteous staff  to help with any enquiries. The entire outside area is open to the elements when we reviewed Woodlands Garden Centre but we did notice that a large area was enclosed by an uncovered wood structure. Possibly this is covered in early spring and winter.

The seasonal frost tender plants were on display in the garden centre itself. Outside there were lots of large and clear signs showing where particular types of plants could be found. Individual plant labelling was only average but the labels on the ornamental trees was unusually informative. See the picture on the right for an example.

At the far end of the outside area there is a fair sized display of garden sheds and a few greenhouses. All are of wood construction so this is not a place to search for aluminium greenhouses. To the sides there are areas for potting compost, fencing and lots of garden pots. There is also an area devoted to water garden features. Maidenhead Aquatics also provide a small area which sells pond plants.

Northern Polytunnels ad by JustGardenCentres.com

THE PLANTS
This is a large garden centre owned by Wyevale Garden Centres (formerly Wyevale) and the range of plants for sale will not disappoint you. All the well known shrubs, trees and plants are well represented and lots of unusual ones as well.

There were no particular areas of speciality but the selection of roses, clematis, bamboos, fruit and ornamental trees was particularly impressive. See the pictures on the right of the long rows of some of these plants.

Woodlands Garden Centre have a very good record as far as plant health is concerned and on our visit all the plants were well kept and in the correct pot sizes. There was absolutely no sign of any weeds on the surface of the soil.

Many of the plants sold at Woodlands Garden Centre are grown in their own nurseries. Originally this garden centre started out in 1978 as a nursery so they have the experience and the knowledge to produce top quality plants.

INSIDE WOODLANDS GARDEN CENTRE
The covered inside sales area at Woodlands Garden Centre is well laid out and provides a pleasant shopping area. Aisles are wide enough for wheelchairs in almost all areas.

The area is divided into distinct sections of shopping needs. The gardening accessories area stocks all that you might expect of a large garden centre with a good selection of gardening tools, plant feeds, weed killers and other garden essentials.

At most times of the year there is a full range of barbecues and chimeras which are well displayed. Clothing, cards, gifts, even luggage all have their own areas at Woodlands.

WHEELCHAIR ACCESS
Wheelchair access is impeccable in all areas of Woodlands Garden Centre. The paths are wide and they are kept clear.

CAFE AT WOODLANDS GARDEN CENTRE
There are two cafes at this garden centre, one is far larger than the other  but the smaller one is far less crowded. The main cafe, the Courtyard, is unusual in that half the seating area is open to the rest of the garden centre. The other half is enclosed and separate from the general garden centre area.

The cafe area has been specifically designed for an eating area and it is a very pleasant layout for eating or simply a tea and cake. In garden centre eating area the tables and chairs are bamboo effect but in the enclosed seating area they are of wood. There is no al fresco outside seating area.

The food on offer is very varied, with five main meal specials (7 to 8) on the day we visited. There are also paninis (6.49), salads at 5.99 and baked potatoes at 5 to 6. If you want just a snack then the cafe has a good choice of cakes, snacks, teas and coffees. Unusually for a garden centre cafe, Woodlands Garden Centre Courtyard cafe serves wines.

Up to 11.30 each morning a breakfast menu is available. It starts at 1.99 for toast and goes up to 6.99 for a full English breakfast. Kids aren't forgotten - they can choose from an all day picnic at 3.99 or a hot meal with desert and a drink for 4.99.

The quality of the food at the Courtyard cafe is high and they rightly advertise that the majority of food is prepared and cooked on the premises. The food certainly tastes good so top marks to the chefs. All the main meal food is on display so you know exactly what you are being offered. Service is pleasant and courteous.

Waiting times are minimal even at peak times helped by the fact that you collect your meals as you queue.

As well as the main cafe described above, Woodlands Garden Centre also offer a second, much smaller cafe called the Jardino. We were so full up after eating at the main cafe that we didn't sample the offerings of the second cafe. But we can confirm that it offers a good selection of teas, coffees and cakes.

It all looked very stylish with attractive furnishings and decor. It was however almost empty when we reviewed Woodlands Garden Centre at peak times. We think that this is because the cafe is tucked out of the way near the exit and is overshadowed by the much larger main cafe.

PRICES AT WOODLANDS GARDEN CENTRE

We performed a spot check on a few prices at Woodlands Garden Centre and noted that they are slightly more expensive compared to similar garden centres. For example, the cheapest roses we could find started at 8.99 and clematis started at the same price. Compost though came in at a very reasonable 3 large bags for 12. The cheapest spade (Yeoman) costs 12.99, Miracle Gro 4.99 and a 1 litre Tomorite costs 3.99.

The Garden Centre Company (previously Wyevale) are promoting their Garden Club particularly hard at the moment and this is evident at the Woodlands Garden Centre. For example, Garden Club members are offered large bags of compost at a bargain price of 4 for 12. Lots of small veg and bedding plants are also on offer to Garden Club members at 3 for the price of 2. The lesson is clear! Join the Garden Club and take your card with you when visit any "Garden Centre Company" garden centre.

STAR RATINGS WOODLANDS 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.

WOODLANDS GARDEN CENTRE RATINGS

FACILITY BEING RATED  RATING
Plant quality
Outside area layout
Interior sales
Cafe food quality
Cafe decor and atmosphere
Prices
Overall rating

OTHER STUFF
Car park - The car park is situated near the main entrance with an overflow car park not far away.

Pet Centre - There is a medium selection of pet foods and accessories for sale. No live pets are sold at Woodlands Garden Centre

Aquatics - Maidenhead Aquatics provide all the fish at Woodlands Garden Centre. The range of fish for sale was smaller compared to other Maidenhead Aquatics outlets and not particularly well displayed.

Water Features - A reasonable display of water features (see right hand picture) is on offer.

Sheds and Greenhouses - Woodlands Garden centre has an excellent range of garden sheds but their greenhouse offerings are limited to a few expensive timber models.

House Plants - Woodlands have made a good effort at providing a range of healthy well priced house plants. The range is larger compared to most garden centres. On site they also have a cut flower shop.

Wheelchair Access - Top marks for wheel chair access. Paths are wide and clear both inside and outside.

Toilets - Ladies, gents and disabled facilities, all modern and in good condition.

CONTACT DETAILS
Address
Woodlands Garden Centre & Nurseries,
Ashby Road,
Stapleton,
Leicester LE9 8JE

Telephone
01455 291494

Website
Official website is here.

NEARBY GARDEN CENTRES
Dobbies Garden Centre, Atherstone

OPENING HOURS

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

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

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