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Not just plants
Stapeley Water Gardens (Nantwich)
Member Name: amyandoli
Stapeley Water Gardens (Nantwich)
Advantages: giftware, pets, fish...
Disadvantages: plant quality and cafe are poor
Easy to find following the brown signs, Stapeley is near to Nantwich town centre, if you were feling energetic you could walk one from the other in under 30 minutes and both are worth visiting. On the same site is The Palms Tropical Oasis so don't be confused into thinking Stapeley Water Gardens and The Palms Tropical Oasis the same venue. You have to pay to get into the Palms £4.95 for adults, £2.95 for children. This review is for Stapeley Water Gardens only, which are free to enter.
There's a very large carpark, finding a space is never a problem even in the peak summer season. I think is due to the popularity of nearby Bridgemere Garden Centre which gets very full, and even on early Mnday off season mornings has more cars than Stapeleys peak days. It's worth visiting both and making your own mind up.
Inside there's camping equipment and clothing, then through to indoor plants, plantpots, garden accessories and gifts, wildlife care and seasonal bulb sales. Up a ramp to the left is a little area let out to independent shops, at the moment it's lawnmowers and tents. To the right you'll find gifts for the home, books, world music and gift stationary. Fish sales are at the far back of the indoor centre, which is interesting to walk around and kids love it, and near here is the popular pet area selling rabbits, guinea pigs, quails and hamsters and their accessories.
The staff are helpful and friendly, but in terms of gardening are not very knowledgable in my experience. I do love gardening, and have bought many plants from lots of outlets, but find my self dissapointed by Stapeleys quality- more often than not the plants die of disease and so I've stopped buying them from there. The pricing on the plants is in line with any garden centre in the area. The price of home and giftware is slightly higher, good quality by and large though. I've seen some of the items on sale for £2-3 in pound shops, you do pay a premium fo the setting. The sales are very good, often 50-75% off and worth visiting.
The cafe is inside centrally, bright and open, I've found the quality of food to be on the poor side and the servings small compared to pricing of similar outlets in the area, but the service is very good and friendly. If you need lunch out, try the town centre instead.
The actual water gardens from which Stapeley gets it's name, are small and sparse, situated at the back of the garden centres land. There's lawned paths which you can walk on with natural shaped pools of water, mostly containing fish and plants you can buy in the centre itself. It's a dissapointment for gardeners and pond lovers really, you're far better visiting historic houses for more naturalistic displays, and the flower shows for modern ponds.
Summary: worth a visit
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