If ever a garden centre had the ‘wow factor’, it’s Barton Grange Garden Centre. Situated on the A6 between Preston and Garstang, Barton Grange Garden Centre has won the national title of ‘Destination Garden Centre of the Year’ for an amazing five years running. Visit and you’ll see the many reasons why.
It’s a place people go not just to buy plants and seek gardening ideas, but to enjoy a great day out browsing the garden furniture and outdoor living, the farm shop, cook shop, home decor, clothing and gifts, pet care section, and tucking into fabulous food in two restaurants, all surrounded by lovely Lancashire countryside, with the bonus of free parking.
The 52-acre site, which also includes Barton Grange Marina on the Lancaster Canal, offers a great day out at any time of year, and there are special events including the excellent annual Food and Drink Festival at the beginning of September, highlighting the best of Lancashire produce.
The Barton Grange success story began back in 1963 when Eddie Topping opened his original garden centre in the grounds of the family’s Barton Grange Hotel. The business grew, and moved to the present site in 2008, heralding a new era. The business is still in the family, with Eddie’s youngest son Guy as managing director.
Great things are on the way at Barton Grange Garden Centre, with a major new development due to start this autumn. Called The Flower Bowl, it will be a completely new leisure complex across the road from the garden centre. It will include the North of England’s only curling rink, a tenpin bowling centre with eight lanes, a premium three-screen cinema, an adventure golf course, two golf simulators offering the virtual experience of playing some of the world’s best golf courses, a 160-cover fish and chip restaurant and a bar and a restaurant with a comprehensive and varied menu throughout the day. The Flower Bowl is expected to open in autumn 2017.
In the meantime, until the end of August, it’s Lancashire Food Month at Barton Grange Garden Centre, featuring some of the county’s finest produce such as cheese, baked products and beers. This culminates in the Food and Drink festival on Friday and Saturday 2nd and 3rd September, with around 40 exhibitors from Lancashire, Yorkshire and Cumbria bringing their best.
“We’re very proud of our Lancashire roots,” said Barton Grange spokesperson Kate Ford. “Our Farm Shop always stocks lots of local produce, and our restaurants use locally sourced ingredients whenever possible.”
However, gardening is still at the root of Barton Grange’s success. In the gardening department you’ll find plants, seeds, bulbs and everything you need to look after your garden and make it thrive. The staff share your enthusiasm for the garden and are happy to help with advice. There’s a covered outdoor plant area and a greenhouse full of seasonal plants. Hardy plants are backed by a Five Year Hardy Plant Guarantee.
As more and more people turn their garden into an outdoor room, Barton Grange’s selection of garden furniture offers some really stylish and often unusual suites to give your garden a truly individual look. You’ll find everything you need here for creating your perfect outdoor space – barbecues and chimeneas of course, but also gorgeous outdoor tableware, lighting and wall art.
The ‘Destination Garden Centre of the Year’ title is awarded by the Garden Centre Association, who send judges out unannounced in spring to check on categories such as plant quality, customer service, food, toilet facilities and parking. The highest-scoring centres are judged again in late summer and the results announced in January.
“No other garden centre has won five years in a row,” said Kate Ford. “We’re very proud of our record.”