“ Hague Lane / Wentworth / Rotherham / South Yorkshire / S62 7TF / England „
I visited this garden centre for the first time very recently. Located in Rotherham, where I have lived for 9 years, I have never really come across this place till recently. My son's school took the two year one classes on a trip here from school which I was asked to accompany them on. At first I was thinking to myself what a strange place for a school trip, but our experience on the day was a good one, and it was actually a place with lots to do and plenty to entertain children.
It is situated over the other side of Rotherham from the village where I live. We had to take a bus over to the village of Wentworth which took about 20 minutes. The garden centre is located on Hague Lane, and can be accessed using the postcode S62 7TF.
The place can be divided into several different sections, and you pay to go into some of the sections, though access to the main garden centre is free. Entry was through a gate into the garden centre. This was like any garden centre I have been to, stocking a large variety of plants from flowers to vegetables, to trees and fruit trees, which you could purchase at a kiosk at the gate. There was then another section behind another wall where there were different ornamental features for gardens, such as paving slabs, statues, different types of pots, and this was where the garden centre seemed that bit superior to other places due to the sheer variety of things you could get here if you chose to.
To the right of the main garden centre is a garden, which you need to pay to go into. The cost was £1.50 for adults, or £0.75 for children over 3 to go into this area. This is a historical garden belonging to the house owned by the Fitzwilliam family. The first item we came across was a maze. The children were all pretty excited to go into this maze, which was high enough for adults to not be able to see over. Although this was not a large maze, it was quite fun to go round it.
Other highlights for this garden are:
-the header tank area - now a gravelled area, next to a paddock with deer in it. The children enjoyed watching the deer playing in the sun and grazing, and climbing down the steps into the tank to see how deep it is.
- the bear pit - this used to house bears, now, you can walk down some steps into the pit and see what it was like.
- the duck houses - these were located within a lovely ornamental garden that we told the children was a secret garden. There was a date from the 1800s scratched into one of the stone steps, and it is amazingly beautiful in this area.
The water features are also very relaxing. There was a pond with a little stream to step over using a stone, and a water feature to sit next to. The gardens were very relaxing to walk round with plenty to see, and gave the children plenty of ideas to create their own garden when they got back to school.
We walked round the garden and maze at quite a pace, and spent about an hour in there, but I think I could happily just sit in there for a while and enjoy the peace of the day.
We then found a patch of grass to sit and have a picnic, but other visitors to the site can make use of the café. There was a large outdoor terrace to sit at.
In the afternoon, the children were allowed some time to enjoy the playground that is there. We took one class of about 25 children at a time to play on the wood chipped park, and there were a couple of families with younger children there too, and the park was big enough to accomodate them. There were a couple of sets of swings, a see saw, some of those rockers on springs that go backwards and forwards when children sit on them, a couple of climbing frames with a firemans pole and a slide. It was enough to occupy children under tens, and it looked like a smaller park for toddlers was being made but wasn't yet ready to open. All the equipment was well made and a lot of fun watching all our kids on it.
For our last part of the day, we went into the family farm attached to the centre. I wasn't sure what to expect from this with it not being a proper farm, but it was quite decent for the 5 and 6 year olds we took with us. Again, you need to pay a bit extra to go into the farm, but I am not sure how much this was as it was paid for by the lead teacher on behalf of all of the group.
There was food for sale at the kiosk, which was that sort of pellet food you always seem to be able to buy at farms. On the pens, it was pretty clear if you were able to feed that particular animal or not.
We were able to see goats, pigs, newborn lambs, different species of birds from hens that were laying eggs, to peacocks, to the more exotic kookaburra. It was interesting to see that they had a pen with foxes in it. It's rare to see foxes that close up - I know I've only ever managed it when visiting my in-laws down in London where the foxes are so brazen that they will come within feet of you on a domestic street. Like many places, they had meercats. I'm not sure how many as none were out of their burrow when we were looking, but a lady who works at the garden centre did bring one out to show our children up close. I am not sure if that was just because we were a school party however. I didn't see anything suggesting keeper talks. Although this area was quite small, it had within it an area with toy tractors for children under 6 to drive about on, and there was also a small wooden play area too, which seems odd as the garden centre has its own park. However looking on the website I see that the farm used to be a seperate attraction and its fairly recent that they merged.
While I would never have thought of taking my children here for a day out, I have to say that it is perfectly reasonable to do so and it would not cost you that much as a family to do all there is to do on the site in one day. There isn't really a designated place to have a picnic, but we were quite happy finding a patch of floor and sitting there to have our break in the day. I think if I were visiting on my own I would be tempted to just use the café. There was certainly a lot more to entertain on site than I would have thought myself, and my son enjoyed it so much he has asked if we can go back at some stage.
There's more to this venue than just a garden centre. I feel its a bit of a hidden gem, and I would never have thought it a tourist attraction before our visit. If you live nearby, then I feel it is somewhere worthy of a visit.
I've been going to this garden centre for many years now and have seen so many improvements in this time.
Recently they have had a new children's playground built which is fantastic and suits all ages. Next to the playground is a lovely little farm, but when I say little I mean little. You could easily kill 45 minutes there but not much longer. You have to pay to enter, only a few pounds and you can also buy the bags of food for the animals for a few pence. It has recently been improved and is really clean and has more animals to show.
The garden centre grounds are just lovely with plants around the walkways. They also sell a few items of garden furniture.
There is a nice little cafe there but it gets so busy I would recommend eating before you go as people are often queuing out of the door.
A few small shops surround a little courtyard including some lovely nick knack shops and a great butchers.
Our favourite part is the aquatic centre which houses 100's of fish and also small animals and birds.
Outside the entrance you will find a small market stall selling fruit and vegetables from a local farm which are great quality and competitive prices also.
There are quite a few car parking spaces but it often gets really busy especially on weekends.
All in all a lovely place to spend an afternoon