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This is a review of Trentham Gardens, which is a bit of a misleading title really, because as well as gardens to look round, there is also so much more to do here. It tends to be known nowadays as the Trentham Estate, which is a more fitting name.
The Trentham Estate is located on the A34 in Trentham (sorry if I'm stating the obvious!) in Stoke-on-Trent, Staffordshire. It is very easy to get to from the motorway, around a 5 minute drive from junction 15 of the M6. The Monkey Forest is also a part of the Trentham Estate but it has a separate entrance a very short drive away from the main entrance. I will mention here that all car parking is free.
There are a number of shops housed in what I would describe as log cabins. There are a few well known names to be found here such as Hallmark and L'occitane, but there are also many independent shops, which I think is a breath of fresh air compared to visiting most high streets nowadays. Whilst not having a huge number of shops, I find that there is a nice variety of things to browse, ranging from pottery to shoes, whisky to candles, and artwork to pet accessories, there is something for everyone! I do have to mention that, along with the price of most things at the Estate, I have found that prices in the shopping village tend to be rather high, but there are also a few bargains to be had. There is a lovely food store here called Brown and Green, and they have won a number of awards, including Taste of Staffordshire Retailer of the Year. Their prices are rather steep but they have a focus on selling local produce from small companies, and it's a lovely shop to have a nose around. They also offer a number of events throughout the year, such as food tasting and hands on activities for children, so it's worth keeping an eye out for these.
There is a huge garden centre at the Estate, which sells a large range of products. I would say really that it is more than a garden centre. There is a very good range of plants and gardening equipment for sale, and also garden furniture. In addition, there is a good range of books (I have found there are often good bargains to be had), cards and giftwrap, jewellery, clothing, bath products, and lovely area dedicated to home accessories. As with the other areas, prices in the garden centre aren't often cheap, although I would argue that you can also find some reasonably priced items.
Food and drink:
There are a number of places to eat and drink at the Estate. There are several coffee shops and eateries in the shopping village, selling hot and cold snacks and drinks. Cadwalader's have an ice cream section that proves very popular during the summer months when the British weather wants to play ball! There is also David's Bistro, which stays open until late in the evenings and serves very good quality, if rather pricey, food and drink, that I can certainly recommend after having a number of good meals here. David's Bistro sometimes have live music in the evenings, which is a nice touch. Inside the garden centre, there is a small cafe offering lunch items and snacks, a bigger restaurant selling various items of food and drink, and an Italian restaurant. Again, prices in all of these eateries aren't what I would describe as cheap. The Italian restaurant remains open until late in the evening, and they have a side door to allow customers to come and go after the garden centre itself has shut. There is also a Frankie and Benny's located by the entrance to the Trentham Estate, which offers yet another option for visitors after some food. If you enter the gardens themselves, which you have to pay to get access to, there is a tearoom and lakeside cafe available. As you can see, you certainly won't go hungry!
You have to pay to access the gardens, currently £8.50 per adult and £7.25 per child. As you can see it isn't cheap! However, there are also family and annual tickets available and you can use Tesco clubcard reward tokens towards the price, but of course certain terms and conditions apply. You could very easily spend a whole day inside the gardens, as there is so much to do and to see. I last visited the gardens just under a year ago and they were very well kept and lovely to walk around. With your garden ticket you also have access to the lakeside walk, which is a really pleasant path to walk right next to the huge lake. You are able to take a boat ride across the lake or have a trip on the mini train during certain times of the year, both of which children seem to really enjoy. There is plenty to entertain children, as there is also a maze, an adventure playground and a barefoot walk!
I visited the monkey forest a few years ago and enjoyed it, but I did find it to be rather expensive. My partner went just a few weeks ago with his Dad, Sister and Nephew and they also enjoyed it but felt slightly underwhelmed, particularly with how much it costs. The current admission price is £7.50 per adult and £5.50 per child over 3 years old. You can get a joint monkey forest and gardens ticket if you so wish, details can be found on the Trentham Estate website. The monkey forest is as it sounds, an area of woodland with monkeys wandering freely. There are information boards as you walk along giving you an insight into the monkeys behaviour etc and there are hourly feeding talks. The thing that I most enjoyed about the monkey forest was seeing the baby monkeys walking around, as they are very sweet and you can see them very clearly without having to peer into an enclosure. There is a playground, cafe and shop located here. An Aerial Extreme high ropes course is also located on this site, which I'm afraid I can't comment on, as it looks way too scary for me! This costs £25 per adult and £20 per child, and I'm sure it's thrilling if you're not afraid of heights!
There are various events that take place at the Trentham Estate, including transport festivals and the Race for Life. One event that I'm able to comment on is the concert nights that are held here every summer. These concerts take place in the grounds of the gardens, with different tribute acts performing on a stage. Most people tend to take picnics, and it's a nice experience to sit outside (when it doesn't rain!) with a picnic surrounded by lots of other people taking in the atmosphere and enjoying live music. I enjoyed the 'motown' night that I went to last year, although it was a shame about the rubbish weather we had! If you do go to one of these concert evenings, I would strongly advise that you take a large sheet or something you will be able to put over your heads and also your food if it is likely to rain. The only negative we found with the concert that we went to was that the music didn't seem to be quite loud enough, probably because we were in the open air and it drifted in all directions, but a lot of people went close the stage to have a dance, and here of course the music was much louder. Tickets can be bought in advance for these concert evenings, which brings the price down to around the £13 mark. You can also access the gardens for free on the day of the concert by showing your ticket, which my partner and I took full advantage of and really enjoyed.
Where to stay:
If you wish to stay somewhere overnight near to the Trentham Estate, there is a Premier Inn located in the grounds just past Frankie and Bennys.
In summary, visiting the Trentham Estate can be a fairly costly experience. However, there are so many things to see and do that it really is a great day out for all the family. As long as you aware of the prices beforehand, I would recommend it as a really good place to visit. I was contemplating knocking off a star due to the high prices, but I felt that I couldn't due to the amount that is on offer here. It is also a great place to go to just to look round the shops and garden centre with free car parking, and that is a very rare thing!
We decided to go to Trentham Gardens at Easter so it was March April time.
Trentham Gardens is part of a very old estate dating back hundreds of years. It's in Stoke on Trent and is very close to junction 15 of the M6 motorway, you then follow the A500 towards Stoke on Trent for about 1mile take the right on the roundabout and follow the A34 towards Stone. Trentham's main entrance is about 1 mile on the right.
What it has to offer
Trentham Gardens is still part of an Estate so there is the gardens which I will explain later but there is also;
- A Monkey Forest, which is full of monkeys although we've not been to visit this so can't report.
- There's a shopping village with lots of named shops such as Whittards, Edinburgh Wollen Mill, Moshulu, Animal, Bench, Cotton Traders, Hallmark, One more bear, Tresspass and much much more including places to eat.
- A Garden Centre selling all the usual items at Garden centres - again we didn't have time to go in but looked big.
- And an Aerial Extreme which again we didn't have time to go in but looks great fun on the website.
This is the only snag, each area except for the Garden Centre and Shopping Village costs. Fortunatly the car park is free!
The Gardens are £7.75 per Adult, £6.50 per child, £26.50 for a family (2adults 3children), Disabled Persons and Carers £3.85.
Monkey Forest £7.00 per Adult, £5.00 per child (under 3 free). No family ticket.
Aerial Extreme £24.00 per adult and £19.00 per child (under 16).
The openings of the gardens are 10am to 6pm. The other parts are all different on different days, the best way to find out is to check the website before visiting.
Back to the Gardens, we went in March/April so I guess it wasn't the best time of year for flowers but I have to say the formal gardens still looked beautiful with tulips all colour co-ordinated and looking really pretty. The design of the formal garden is beautiful. I'm sure as the year progressed and during the summer months it will look even more beautiful and if I was to choose when to go another time I would think about the time of year.
As you walk along you have the lake on your left and the formal gardens on the right. There is a little train ride for the children which costs £2 per person it runs along by the lake. There is also a boat ride which can take you up to a cafe near the monkey forest section - we didn't do this boat ride and it was another ? each.
From the formal gardens you can walk up to the children's play area which I have to say is fantastic, we could have spent hours there and the children loved it, there were lots of unusal play items for the children to play on and a particular favourite of our 8 year old was jumping off a high tower onto play mats, children had to be 8 or over to play on this. Unfortunately when we went it was very cold and we couldn't stay outside for too long.
There is also a children's maize with a hill at the end so you can view others getting lost and stuck!! there is also a muddy river bit where children can take off their shoes and socks and squelch in all kinds of muck!!! remember to take a towel and spare socks as we didn't realise this was there! there is an area to wash feet clean!
Right by the children's play area is a cafe which is fairly expensive but very nice food and drinks and friendly staff which makes a difference.
From the cafe they were creating a new garden area with lots of mini gardens with different themes, there was one we particularly liked which was a musical garden, it had a curved wall in it and within that were buttons to push which made beautiful music depending on which you pressed. We could've stayed in there for ages. There was a guides and brownies garden, a willow garden and a japanese garden with many more to come.
We didn't have time to walk all around the lake and I think it would have been quite far for the little people's legs! I would have loved to have done it though as it looked beautiful.
There are plans apparently to re-build the original house which I think would really finish the gardens off.
I have to say there was plenty to see and do my only concern was the added costs all the time but I guess that's the way it is these days.
We also went round the shopping village which was nice, it was well kept and spread out well. There were also rides at the far side of this and they too cost more money. They had a water walker which our daughter hadn't had a go on before, she was only allowed to go on this because of the cost it was £4 for 5mins!!! There was also a helter skelter, a bungie thing and a carosel.
These gardens are a work in progress, you can see how much they've done to renovate them over the years and I'm sure there's more to come. The most amazing this is that through my research I also found out that one of my relatives (a gr gr gr gr grandparent) worked at these very gardens so I felt like I was walking in his footsteps!
Also we used our Tesco club card vouchers to go as they've started accepting them now and we were able to use it on the family ticket too.
Calling this place Trentham Gardens doesn't really do it justice as the gardens are just a part of it.
Firstly, there is the shopping village that is made up of purpose built log cabins and contains shops that generally can't be found on the high street, there are some, but the majority aren't, so it's quite a unique place to go shopping. I personally find it brilliant for finding gifts when I can't find the right thing on the high street. It's good to see Royal Worcester, Spode and Portmeirion shops on the site, selling the brands that made Stoke world famous. At the one end of the shopping village is the garden centre which not only has a large number of flowers and plants but also furniture, clothes and toys. Some items are very expensive but they are very good quality. The shopping village is free to enter and the car park is close by so it is easy to walk to but what I like about it is that from the main shopping street the car park cannot be seen.
From the shopping village, there is access to the gardens, which are beautiful and well-kept. There is a charge for entry, which is just about good value for money when considering the amount of work that has gone into revamping and maintaining them. When the weather is fine, it is easy to spend the whole day. Me and my family usually spend the day sitting by the lake while the kids go to the play area and on the barefoot walk. The barefoot walk is something I've never seen before and is definitely a part of the day that is mentioned to everyone who asks what Trentham Gardens is like. Basically, you follow a course, bare footed, so you can feel different textures, the highlight being, the mud bath. The last time I went, a maze was being created in the same area, and it was looking good then, so will be going back to try it out. The play areas, where there is usually lots of noise is far enough away from the Italian gardens and woodland walks for these areas to still be peaceful.
I haven't got around to going to the Monkey Forest yet, but I've heard it's a great way to spend an afternoon though. It is at the other end of the Trentham estate, so if your wanting to visit this part, it's best to go to the other car park (there is a map at www.trentham-monkey-forest.com for directions), but if you want to spend half of the day in the gardens and the other half at the Monkey Forest, there is a boat on the lake that will take you across and drop you off at one of the entrances. There is a charge for the trip there and then if you want to go back, you have to pay again, and of course, there is the charge for entry into the Monkey Forest. If there is a family going it can be quite expensive to do this. There is though a path around the lake which is quite a nice walk and part of the way there is a mini steam train, but again there is one charge for the trip one way and then again if you want to return. This is the only real irritation with Trentham Gardens however.
There are always lots of events going on in the various areas too, a list of the dates can be found on the website (http://www.trentham.co.uk/events.html). The ice rink which overlooks the lake looks great. In the summer there are more events and concerts are held in the garden, which is a lovely way to spend a summer evening.
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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.
Trentham Gardens can be found just outside of Stoke, if your a Derby resident like me, its a 45 minute drive.
Trebatham gardens holds host to a beautiful italian garden, its massive. Very beautiful, however not my cup of tea at all.
There is also a Garden with lots of moneys running around, something to take the kids to maybe.
There is also a high ropes challenge park there if you fancy a bit of action!
My favourite thing at Trentham Gardens is teh shops. The shop are laid out in little wooden buildings, feels very christmassy! The theme is quite giftware, there are big brands such as yankee candle, whittard, l'occtaine, quicksilver. There are also great stores which sell bath gifts, lush style bath bombs at a lower price (always good!!!)
There is a huge garden centre which holds host to a massive range of good, there are clothes, plants, gifts, books dvds! Its like debenhams with a twist!
There are some nice little eataries and cafes, a Harvester and Franky and bennys next door too!
Trentham Gardens has definately got something for all the family. Id advise some shopping for the girls, the rope challenge for the dads and boys! a picnic in the money gardens for the family!
If you've never been to Trentham Gardens before, you won't know there's 4 main parts to it: The Gardens, The Shopping Centre, the walk around the lake, which skims The Monkey Forest border. The Monkey Forest is £6 for adults and £4.50 for children. The shopping centre is free as long as you don't buy! And the walk around the lake was free, and living 15 minutes or so drive away, I used to visit every other week to stretch the legs with friends. It's now £5 for adults or £3.50 for children to do the walk- the same walk, no improvements or changes that I've seen- but with this price you also get access to the Gardens (which were always charged), open 9am-4pm.
Now I do enjoy gardening as a hobby and visiting gardens mainly National Trust and touristy ones, I can spend a day just wandering round, taking photos and making notes and sketches. Trentham faired well with these attractions, but I'm a bit sore about paying for a walk that was free- in my opinion the gardens are worth visiting 4 times a year only to see the changes, and I can no longer justify going every other week to pay for the walk, so have found alternatives.
I was impressed to learn that Capability Brown had a hand in designing the landscape in the mid 1700s. You enter the gardens across a pretty bridge which is built across a river. Trenthams Gardens are formal style, Italinate, with a main walk, bordered by mixed perennial planting which means it's worth visiting once in each season to appreciate its full cycle. At the end of the main walk is a lovely view across the lake, with it's islands, you can see the walk (that was free).
To the left a pretty prairie area has been planted, best enjoyed in summer. To the right are several show gardens (some designed locally, a rather nice tropical themed one, and an eco one...), access to the lake walk an the trees surrounding it, and a children's play area. The play area was great fun for my 11 year old cousin, it's one of the chunky log style ones, with monkey bars, giant tyre swing, assault course, normal swings and slide.
In took me (my camera and notebook) a morning to go round everything the first time, including an hour in the play area with my cousin. The other 3 times I've been it's only taken 2 hours, and all I felt I gained was seeing the cycle of the planting- most impressive in my opinion was the contrast of colour and texture between the outside borders grasses and sedums. I took my parents who are not in any way interested in gardening, but enjoy a walk- they preferred the lake walk to the actual garden area. So that leads me to conclude that if you're interested in gardening- go for a visit, best in Summer if you want to see the prarie and show gardens at their best, and if you like near enough, try and go once each season to see the changes. If you're not interested in gardening- the walk is good around the lake, but not £5 good- get a local map and find one for free!
If you want to fill a day- with minimal driving, it's worth visiting the shopping centre too, and the Monkey Forest is good fun- for all ages!
Trentham Garden's- a great day out!
I live in Stafford, so this is only 20 minutes down the road and I am really glad about that! Trentham Gardens were revamped around 2/3 years ago and the have become a major tourist attraction. Trentham is situated in Stoke-on-Trent and there is so much to do there it is unbelievable and some of the things to do don't even cost you a penny!
The Italian Garden have always existed at Trentham but they have been revitalised by the leading designer Tom-Stuart Smith. This area is in great condition all year round due to the team of excellent gardeners who are always on standby. The Italian Gardens consists of two areas which are called the Upper and Lower Flower Gardens.
If you are the type of person who loves to admire scenery and the world's greatest flowers and wildlife, this is really for you. The lower garden has a sort of historical feel and that are comprised with contemporary and modern ideas. The bedding is very colourful and the who area is very green and in touch with design.
The upper garden has been restored based on the original layout of Sir Charles Barry's design. This year saw the exhibition of 'Edible Flowers' which was fantastic. It is very innovative and some brilliant ideas have been put into this. There is also an amazing viewing platform that many tourists have enjoyed!
Western Pleasure Garden's
In this area there is something for everyone in the family and for all characters. There is a JCB play area for those boys who have an interest in these kinds of things. The Marie Curie "Field of Hope" next to the Tea Rooms consists of 60,000 daffodils for a spring effect which looks so colourful and wonderful. There is also a "Hide and Speak" hedge maze which has recently been introduced. Designed by Paul Legeckis and completed in 2008.
This area embarks on the wonderful sensation of walking bare foot on timber, bark, mulch, pebbles, wood and mud. You can feel the cold waters of the brook, the foot bath and the sun baked rocks and the softness of the grass and soil. The walk is 1000 metres ans as you walk through you will improve your health and see history of Sebastian Kneipp.
You can also go on the Trentham Train which runs every Sunday from the 25th October until Christmas or the Boat and Steam Train which run every Sunday from the 29th November until Christmas.
There are gentle cruises along the mile long lake on board Miss Elizabeth a 42 seat catamaran!
The Monkey Forest
A 3/4 of a mile forest path, cleared out, which takes you through the forest of Trentham Estate woodlands where the monkeys live. The monkeys roam freely, and you might even see one of them walk across the path in front of you on its way to explore another part of the wood!
There is also a shopping village with lots to chose from. The shops range from fine foods/ contemporary arts/ clothes and lots more. The garden centre is also a place of tourist attraction which sells fine gifts/ seasonal gifts/ plants and has a gorgeous food hall!
There are lots of events on throughout the year, the Christmas market is on at the moment which is brilliant. See http://www.trenthamleisure.co.uk/events.html.
Individual Day Tickets for the Gardens & Lake
2nd November 2009 - 31st March 2010
Single Adult £5.00
Joint (2 Adults) £9.00
Family (2 Adults & up to 3 Children) £15.00
Family- One Adult ( 1 Adult & up to 3 Children) £11.00
Child (5-15 years) £5.50
Child ( Under 5 years, max 3 per Adult) Free
Senior Citizen £4.00
Student (with valid Student card) £4.00
Disabled Persons £3.00
Companion of a disabled person £3.00
A true benefit to Stoke on Trent! 5/5!
I am a local to Trentham Gardens, one of Stoke on Trents not so many attractions, which has changed so much now it is barely recognisable. A bit of history = now a serpentine park, designed by Lancelot Brown in 1759, with a nineteenth century terrace garden. The house has been demolished and the Trentham Gardens is now a public park. Sir Charles Barry designed an Italian garden beside the lake in 1840. His design has been simplified, but survives. In 2004 the gardens were restored and re-opened under the name Trentham Leisure.
There are overpriced shops, a garden centre, overpriced restaurants and a hotel. It used to be a free beautiful open park with a rich history but is now riddled with rubbish shops. Massive rip off and should have been left alone. Had many happy memories of cycling and walking as a child at Trentham, now no bikes allowed and £7 to walk around a small portion of what I'm sure is very beautiful developed gardens, not been in though as I'm quite happy keeping with my memories of the place as it once was.
More info= http://www.trenthamleisure.co.uk/past_present_future.html.
Location= Junction 15 of the M6, probably a 15 minute drive away, located in, you guessed it, Trentham going towards Tittensor and Stone. Easily accessible. Address - Trentham, Stoke-on-Trent, Staffordshire, England, ST4 8AX.
Opening times = all year. Daily except Christmas Day. April to September open 10am to 6pm. October to March open 10am to 4pm.
Parking= Plentiful parking to the left and right of the roundabout entrance, left is more the overspill parking and therefore could be a little muddy.
Activities= Italian Gardens, which will cost one adult £7 to get in which is ridiculous but I'm sure the gardens are beautiful. Passenger boat= Don't know the price but the lake is only a mile long anyway. 1000 metre barefoot walk, good if you want to get mucked up and trample in puddles!! Aerial Extreme looks brill for daredevils, one of the world's most awesome adventure ropes courses apparently although have not used this. And a couple of other seasonal things, times and prices found here, http://www.trenthamleisure.co.uk/pdf/lake_timetable_2009.pdf.
Shops= All based in small log cabins. Consisting of mostly gift shops and clothing shops, all amazingly expensive, in one or 2 they look at you like you are about to steal something so I avoid those shops! Then again I'm probably not typical clientele being young but that should make no differnece. Complete rip off, however there is a nice shop which makes and sells fudge, a must try. Everything else you can get better and half the price everywhere else. Not one for a savvy shopper they prey on tourists, don't get sucked in!! It really isn't worth it.
This is the order it runs in pretty much although this is not a comprehensive list and there are in fact many many more shops=
Cookware shop=Nice stuff, dear and cramped though.
Furniture shop=Lovely shabby chic stuff, dead dear.
Gift shop=Quirky things, not a bad place for a present.
Dog shop=Sells crazy clothes for tiny dogs, not my thing but looks popular
Whittard of Chelsea= Good shop, quality products and good gifts for foodies
Vom Fass=Has rows of oils for sale, no doubt some with mystical powers?
The best of the rest=
Emma Bridgwater shop
Yankee Candle shop
Aromatics which sells nice body care stuff, famous but dear brands
Jewellery shop, nice but you guessed it....
at least another 2 gift shops
Edinburgh woolen mill
Chiropody style shoe shop
Peggy annes sweet shop
I feel like a right moaning git now, that's because I am.
Garden centre=again ridiculous, the prices are crazy, if you don't know any better then by all means stock up here. Big place though, and very good but dear selection of plants and shrubs. Very good in fact. But again too dear. Building itself big. Toilets are fine to use. The only reason
to go in here unless you want overpriced home ware and gifts perhaps. Trentham Garden Centre is the newest and largest addition to the Blue Diamond Group.
Eating=All expensive, massively overpriced especially in the garden centre average five quid for a baguette. 3 different restaurants in garden centre, so a bit of choice. Frankie and Benny's by the entrance is probably the best value although also dear. Would not eat here because the prices will make your eyes water.
Cadwaladers - Traditional ice cream, sundaes, smoothies, milkshakes and a selection of teas, coffees and cakes. Have only tried ice creamand thought it tasted cheap and nasty.
Coffee Revolution - Serving fresh tea, coffee and a selection of cold bottled drinks along with a variety of hot and cold snacks. Ok, on the small side, but prices not too bad.
Cafe Davide - Cafe and wine bar serving freshly roasted coffees, organic teas and a selection of hot and cold Mediterranean food. Table Service. Blimmin expensive, one look at the menu and we went away!
Café Oriel -A range of quality teas, coffees and cold drinks accompanied by cakes and pastries. Cute place set inside a shop, quaint but dear again.
Frankie & Benny's restaurant - A taste of New York, with burgers, grills, pasta and pizza. Fully licensed fun family dining. Good for all the family I think.
Rotisserie - Hand carved spit roasted meat baguettes, breakfast baps, Danish pastries and speciality teas, coffees and cakes. By far the cheapest place to eat, use the word cheapest loosely.
Riverside Rasoi - A choice of hot and cold drinks, snacks, lunches and refreshments served throughout the day. Buffet Style.
Terrazzo del Giardino (Garden Centre) - Traditional Italian food. Table Service. Expensive again.
The Six Arches (Garden Centre) - Carvery / Buffet food. Buffet Style. Far too dear for the food quality and size.
Café Bello (Garden Centre) - Serving coffee and light lunches.
Staying overnight=Hotel situated at the front of the complex. Monkey Forest at the end of the road worth visiting, much better value and you will spend about 2 hours there. Very good. Other than that, no idea why you'd need to stay here!! The whole thing can take about 4 hours tops to thoroughly see everything and the monkey Forest.
Another thing, we had an 'eye' ferris wheel a few months ago and foolishly went on, if it comes back again, be aware that Trentham is in a dip and you cannot see anything interesting at all, some trees, mostly buildings, and the biggest waste of money ever. Was so disappointed considered asking for refund.
Summary? Don't bother!
Overall we didn't enjoy our day out at Trentham Gardens. It's very much a family place, young kids especially. Our main problem was disabled access -- the shale/shingle path was almost impossible to get around with a wheelchair, and features a couple of steep declines/inclines. I almost lost control of the chair at times. Other irritations include pricey and just unpleasant food at the garden centre (tough meat, tiny soft drinks sizes, warm and stale sandwich). Few of the shops sell anything you want or will find useful. "Riverside Restaurant" is a shack that sells pre-packaged sandwiches. Italian Tearoom needed sweeping. Ice cream stall shut at 4pm, leaving many annoyed people. All a bit of an effort and too money-grabbing. Give this place a miss. There are nicer places to visit in that part of Staffs.
Very disappointed, I have been visiting Trentham Gardens a few times a year and enjoying a good day-out. This year there is a charge for admission onto the lakeside walk, which previously has been free, the charge is £7 which is expensive for a 3 mile walk. This admission does include entrance into the italian gardens, which the last time was only about £5 on its own, once its been seen, there is no need to return. The large white 'tent' infront of the chaple ruins the view.Roy
Overpriced rubbish on sale in the main building which is the 'Garden Centre' If you want to pay £100 or more for a piece of wood tacked onto a metal base then be my guest.
Had dinner in the 'Italian Restaurant' received a small lasagne which was just slop in a bowl that has been microwaved, it made me feel sick. Oh and they put a small salad with it. I had a better lasagne ready meal from Asda 2 days after eating here, it was tastier and a lot bigger.
Oh, and the staff all run around the centre like headless chickens with their walkie talkies on the highest volume possible - weird !!
A complete rip off day out - Avoid !!
Me and my boyfriend have date Wednesdays every Weds we take it in turns to take the other on a date. This week it was my turn. I heard about Trentham Gardens on the internet and it sounded like a good place for a day out, and so off we went.
Trentham gardens are just to the south of Stoke on Trent. Its apparently easy to get to by car, rail or bus. We got the 101 bus from Newcastle-under-Lyme and it only took about 10/15 minutes.
We arrived at the estate just before 10am, as everything opens at 10am. There are seasonal variations to opening times, so Id check out their website before you decide to go (www.threnthamlesiure.co.uk).
There is LOTS to do there, and you definitely need to go for at least a day. There is a shopping centre, garden centre (the largest in Britain apparently), monkey forest, Italian gardens, miniature railway, boating lake, and wooded walks.
~ Italian Gardens ~
We started off by looking around the Italian gardens. Theyre quite expensive - £13.00 for the two of us, but they are completely beautiful. Theres a large 83acre lake which is central to the estate around which everything is situated. The gardens themselves arent particularly huge, but they are so pretty. Theres a statue of Perseus at the bottom of the gardens which is situated on a balcony overlooking the lake. The gardens are separated into sections the floral prairies and natural meadow, upper garden, and western pleasure garden. There was a fair bit of the gardens that was closed off, and the lake wasnt open to boating, because they were investigating blue-green algae in the lake.
At the top of the gardens were pieces of what was presumably the Trentham Estate. It was very odd! There were random derelict buildings that were boarded up, and no explanation to what they were! It was most peculiar. There was also a large white tent where part of the building presumably used to be, but there was no entrance to the tent or any explanation to why it was there. There was also a lot of rubbish building tools, plastic sheeting etc. just discarded at the top of the gardens. It was really odd. Apart from that though, the gardens are beautiful.
There are temporary tea rooms situated in the garden but they dont sell a lot, so I would really suggest having lunch somewhere else.
There is also a kids adventure playground in the gardens. However, its not huge and Im guessing children would get bored fairly quickly.
There is a wooded part of the gardens which lead to two bird hides which allow you to look over the lake. Theres a little book in one of the hides with information about the birds you may see there. This was highly useful as me and my boyfriend couldnt agree on the name of one of the birds we saw the book proved us both wrong!
~ Monkey Forest ~
GO TO THE MONKEY FOREST!!!
The monkey forest is a mile from the Italian gardens, you can either walk by the lake to get to it, or drive there. One of the leaflets say the miniature train (only open seasonally) can take you there- we didnt go on it as it wasnt open Weds, but the track only goes half way there so youve still got about ½ mile to walk. I would warn you though, that if you are going to walk, the end of the path to the monkey forest is quite steep, and so you may struggle if you are disabled.
The monkey forest cost us £11.00 for the two of us, but it is well worth it! The monkeys are kept in a section of the forest and you literally walk around the forest with monkeys on the loose! Its amazing. The monkeys are obviously used to people and will walk right past you. However, they are not completely tame and you are advised to stay at least an arms length away and be careful! I was threatened by a monkey, I dont think he liked me much, but apart from making a scary face at me he didnt do anything though I did walk quite quickly away!
Seriously though, the monkeys wont harm you and it is so delightful to see the monkeys in the wild. We saw five baby monkeys while we there and they are the most adorable little creatures. It is fascinating to watch the monkeys as they interact with each other. I really would recommend this place. Even if it is a bit of a trek to get here from wherever you live, I would truly recommend you make the journey.
There are feeding times every hour, and there are guides/ ranger people around the park who obviously adore the monkeys and can really tell you about them and the social hierarchy among the monkeys.
It took us about 30 -45 mins to walk round the forest, but it was so amazing we went round again! We spent at least two hours there, and if we hadnt been getting so hungry I think we could have spent hours and hours there. There was a school trip there while we were there, but because the forest is quite big we only saw the kids once. I cant stress how fantastic this place is!
~ Shopping centre ~
We went for lunch in Coffee Revolution which is the café by the Italian gardens and in the middle of the garden centre. They have a good range of food and drink there and plenty of seating. We had two sandwiches, and two cakes and it came to just over £5 as the sandwiches were 2-4-1 which is a bit of a bargain!
The shopping centre has about 60 shops which are all in wooden cabins. The shops are mainly gift shops, and bitty shops. Im going to do a bit of gift shopping there for Christmas, but its not really got the shops youd go to if you were looking for something specific, but mainly if you were just going to browse and pick up unusual objects.
~ Garden Centre~
This is apparently the largest outdoor and indoor garden centre. We just thought wed have a quick look round before getting the bus home, but ended up spending two hours in there! Theres lots of furniture, house hold items, books, toys, plants, garden furniture etc. Theres so much in there and its all beautifully laid out.
Outside theres an ENORMOUS collection of plants etc. There was also a cornered off section with two fire burners (alight) in there it was lovely, and the smell was gorgeous.
Theres a beautiful Italian café and restaurant in there. We sat in the café and had hot chocolates and two cakes. Its quite expensive in there, but the food is delicious.
~Other stuff ~
There are lots of wooded walks which are free. There are also maps with suggested walks which you can find in the information centres. One of the walks leads you up to a statue which is situated on the top of the hill. However, we didnt have time to do that walk today.
Theres also an aerial extreme adventure park which we didnt go to.
I know Ive waffled on quite a bit, but this place is lovely and Ive not done it justice. Theres also so much stuff Ive not talked about that is there, but I really didnt want to bore you so much it put you off! I would really recommend you check this place out, especially if you live nearby as it would be criminal not to go.
Trentham Leisure Limited, Stone Road, Trentham, Stoke on Trent ST4 8AX
Tel: 01782 657341
Fax: 01782 644536
Trentham gardens is such a wonderful place and one where you can quite happily spend the whole day and still want to go back there again the next as it is that nice. It can be made as romantic, dramatic or as family orientated a trip as you would like and I do think there is something for everybody there. I would recommend to everybody and here is why I always go back there.
Trentham is based in Stoke-on-Trent and it is a lovely area full of nice houses, nice pubs and of course Trentham gardens. The actual place is pretty easy to get to as it is just off a roundabout on the main road leading into Stoke. I would not say when you get there it will look special as it doesnt but when you get though the entrance gates you will see why it is so lovely there and a major attraction for this area.
From the name I am sure you can guess that there are quite a few gardens here to see including the relatively new Italian gardens. Now you do have to pay a small fee of a couple of pounds to gain access to the gardens but it really is worth it if you appreciate nice scenery and good walks.
The Italian gardens are very pretty with lots to see and have a nosy at. There is a lot to walk around and in the middle of Trentham gardens is a massive lake which provides some stunning scenery and you will often see a lot of wildlife around. I would say you could quite happily spend a couple of hours around the gardens and it is nice and relaxing to do.
There is a huge lake at Trentham that you can actually go and do some small water sports activities which basically involves huge pedalos but that is fun enough for me. They are only about £4 each and it is nice to do as it keeps you occupied and on a nice summers day there will be loads of people doing exactly the same thing.
Trentham gardens has so many walks around including a walk right up to a monument which takes a good couple of hours of hard walking aswell. There are walks along the lake, around the gardens and details for all of these are signposted but you can also ask in all of the information centres. I dont think people expect this place to be as big as it is as it doesnt look that big when you enter. I do think though if you do decide to go on a walk to take a picnic with you and some drinks as it is easy to get hot and bothered especially if you go on the walks that involve walking uphill.
This is a new part to Trentham and involves walking around a forest full of loose monkeys which is so nice to do. You can get there by walking along the lake which connects Trentham gardens with the Monkey forest and it is well worth doing. You can happily spend a couple of hours here which is excellent and if you like animals it is ideal as the monkeys are just adorable. Go in the summer to catch all of the baby monkeys.
While at Trentham there is a small train and a small boat which takes you from the gardens to the Monkey forest which are actually quite fun to take.
This is relatively new to Trentham gardens and it is absolutely superb. There are so many including whole food shop, metal shop, jewellery shops, food court, natural world shop, craft shop, Whittards shop, outdoor shop and many more. There is so much to see and buy if I dare say it and I spent about an hour just skimming some of the craft shops so you could spend a lot more time there.
The craft shops are in little wooden huts so it fits well into the country theme and they are all clean and set out well so you can see everything.
German Food and Drink:
At the moment there is a small German market there which sells food and drink and a few souvenirs so it is worth a quick look and I have to say that all of the food does smell delicious although I had just eaten so I didnt get any.
There is quite a big visitor centre where you can get all of the information about the grounds and what is available to do for everybody while you are there. They will detail any events to take place and help you with any walks you want to go on.
Food and Drink:
Around the craft centre there are many cafes where you can get a snack and drinks and also more importantly ice-cream on a hot day. May I say that the ice-cream is so delicious and I actually had two in the space of an hour.
You can get to Trentham by car and the address is as follows;
Stoke on Trent
Trentham gardens are often host to events and the main one is the graduations of Staffordshire University once a year. I had my graduation there and it was in such beautiful grounds it made the whole day so special.
I do think that you should come and visit here if you get the chance as it is truly a wonderful place with lots to do and see. I think everybody would have an enjoyable time here.
Thanks for reading.
As the new planting scheme designed by Tom Stuart-Smith reaches completion, its time for you to see for yourself this idyllic garden. The statue of Perseus stands at the foot of the Lower Flower Garden framed by the mile long lake. Trentham Gardens are formal Italianate gardens, and an English landscape park, on the southern fringes of the city of Stoke-on-Trent, England. The house was demolished in 1911, and Trentham Gardens is now a public park and woodland. The gardens and park at Trentham currently cover some 300 acres (1.2 km²). Their parkland setting and lake were designed as a serpentine park by and Capability Brown and Henry Holland from 1758 onwards, overlying an earlier formal design attributed to Charles Bridgeman. However, Trentham Gardens are now principally known for the surviving formal gardens laid out in the 1840s by Sir Charles Barry, who also created Italianate gardens at Harewood House and Cliveden. Situated to the south of Stoke on Trent, there is easy access from both the M6 and the new A50 dual carriageway. Manchester, Birmingham, Wolverhampton and Derby are all within 1 hours travel. The Trentham entrance is well signposted from the M6 and A50 and stands on the A34 Stoke to Stafford road.