Last year my mother said that she'd take me to a garden centre over the weekend. I was not too impressed, why should I get up early on a lazy Saturday to go to a garden centre? I was dragged along to the Cirencester store preparing to be bored stiff but much to my surprise I was impressed!
What is Dobbies?
Dobbies was founded by James Dobbie born in 1817. He started off as a horticulturist and nursery owner and since then the business has expanded vastly. Dobbies is now a chain of 19 garden centres
So it's just a garden centre?
As well as a wide range of garden products there is also a fresh food hall for locally produced food, an aquatic department and a great restaurant.
It is a pleasant looking (and eco friendly
) wooden and glass building on the outskirts of Cirencester. Dobbies is clearly marked on the outside and there is a nice water feature and plants and flowers outside, as you would expect. There is ample car parking
room. It's a large airy building and this makes for an agreeable shopping experience. Everything is very clearly sign posted.
I was very impressed with the products. As you would expect there is a wide selection of plants, flowers and garden furniture including a green house with outdoor plants.
The Farm Food Hall and Deli selection is very impressive and consists of a cheese counter and meat counter, fresh baked goods including delicious bread, fruit, preserves, tins and cans, chocolates, alcohol, frozen goods etc It is all locally sourced where possible and there are a lot of organic goods. The wide range of luxury chocolates including Charbonnel&Walker and Prestat entices me every time.
Dobbies also stocks other items such as candles, stationary, outdoor wear, toys, books and beauty products with such brands as Woods of Windsor and Tisserand. I can spend ages browsing the beauty products! It's an excellent place to buy gifts for friends and family.
My favourite part of the store is the restaurant! There is an impressive array of cakes and pastries and they do a variety of hot drinks
such as hot chocolate
and cappuccino. I also love the hot food range which features hot paninis, I always have the brie, cranberry and walnut panini, which comes, served with salad. They also do hot meals, fresh sandwiches and jacket potatoes
. There is a juice counter and an ice cream counter. It's not exactly cheap but the food is really good.
The staff members are generally friendly and helpful. They are easily identified by the pink or green Dobbies polo shirts. There seem to be plenty of assistants on hand to aid customers. Over the Christmas shopping period it was very busy but the assistants remained cheerful.
Christmas at Dobbies:
I was impressed with the Christmas features; I especially loved the animatronics polar bears! There was a Father Christmas Grotto and numerous festive displays. They had put in a lot of effort and the store was very Christmassy indeed.
The bottom line: I would recommend Dobbies to everyone!