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I AM A STOKEY. Have just signed up to reply to the review by heynonnynonny.
A review simply based on the retail outlets at Trentham doesn't quite cover everything that Trentham has to offer!
So, yes the shops are a tad twee, and sure there are few bargains to be had. But . . . there is a lot on offer, including organic food shops, and an amazing garden centre. The food prices are probably on par with other such sites in the country but no more. Just because this is Stoke doesnt mean its going to oatcakes and cheese for £1.50 for ever you know. Bet you dont think anything of spending 50 quid up town on a Saturday night?
As for the gardens themselves (which you havent even been in!), our kids and us love it. Try spending the whole day, walking raround the whole lake, playing on the brilliant playground and the bare foot walk, the maze, the interactive garden section (including the musical wall), get a boat out on the lake, watch a band, see a film (Alice in Wonderland etc) in the outdoor event area, join in th Bush craft lessons . . . TAKE A PICNIC IF YOU DON'T WANT TO PAY THE FOOD PRICES!
To be fair, it is very family oriented, but there is lots to do if you look for it. I too remember the days of the old swimming pool and trains etc, but at least we still have Trentham Gardens to enjoy and keeping somewhere like Trentham in a good state must cost a fortune so I find it difficult to listen to people winge about it when as I say they would think nothing of spending the equivalent entrance fee on a round of drinks is a dodgy nightclub.
OK . . .. we are off to Trentham (season tickets for the whole family is less than 80 quid a year . . . . if you've got kids, you'll know that's good value)
Oh and it wasn't free to get in the Gardens back in the 60's and 70's . . . .you had to crog in over the wall if you wanted to get in for free . The park was free (still is) but not the Gardens.