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A freind of mine recently suggested I took my kids out to Walesby garden centre in the run up to Christmas,I had been scratching my head for ideas of where I could take them. So today I thought I'd give it a go,loaded my kids in the car and ventured off to take a look.I wasn't dissapointed,it was well worth the visit and I'll be putting it on next years itinary!! It was an amazing festive experiance,with Christmas displays,Santa,live reindeer,every decoration you could imagine to see and buy(if you want) and even a festive childrens ride.
Situated at(yes you've guessed it)Walesby!! It is close to Ollerton,Nottinghamshire. From Nottingham it's around a 40 minute drive,and 30 minutes from Newark. Walesby is well into Sherwood Forest terratory,which makes it a sceenic and pleasant drive.And it is also worth noting,only 10 minutes from Sherwood pines,if you feel like getting a freshly cut tree while you are out and about. And as Walesy is a very small village that fortunately is well signposted from Ollerton(2 miles away and a major town) the garden centre is very easy to locate and on the main road through the village.
There is ample parking at the centre,with a small car park on the premises and a large car park adjasent.Though you will find you may need to resort to the roadside depending on when you go as it can get extreamly buisy,but even then you won't have to walk far at all and it is not a problem.
Quite apart from it being a large and well stocked garden centre of the conventional variety,it takes on a whole new life at Christmas time. The first thing you will experiance is huge rooms full of festive scenes and displays,santa and snowmen and all the usual snoe scenes.All presented very well and a pleasure for both adults and kids. This leads you to yet more great rooms filled with every imaginable decoration for your house inside and out.The displays are stunning,decorated trees everywhere and baskets and walls covered in decorations.It took us well over an hour and a half just to look at this section.Any decorations you want to buy you just collect along the way(and they are reasonably priced)...the tills are as you exit the buildings,but you don't need to be intending to buy..browsing is thoroughly enjoyable. When you have have had you fill of the decorations it's time to head out of the buildings,make any purchases and on to the next set of festivities. I should at this point tell you of the tea rooms here,whilst they are accessable from many different points in the centre,this is where we decided it was time for a cuppa. "Thirsty Gardens Cafe" is rather a quaint little tea room,with a reasonable amount of seating,clean and with a pleasant atmoshpere.There is both smoking and non-smoking and tables are a good size.We had no problem in seating the 5 of us and our baggage.I then set about queueing for refreshments..not the quickest queue I've ever been in,but not the longest either and in around 10 minutes I was sat back down with my tray.With a pot of tea for two, 3 kids cartons of juice,4 mince pies and 5 packets of crisps I felt it wasn't too expensive when I handed over £6.75p.They also served meals which although we didn't require I took note of the price and a decent cooked meal was around £4. We sat in the smoking part of the cafe,which over looked a rather nice little courtyard where a carousel was running.My 4 year old daughter of course thought it was great watching the little sleighs and reindeer humming round. After we had finnished our tea and pies we visited the carousel and paid the £1 for Faye's ride..which lasted quite a long time. The next delightful experiance was the reindeer.These had been brought in from the Cairngorms for the season,and were a real treat to see.The kids were very impressed with them,and I was sure I saw the sparkle of magic creaping back into my 11 year olds eyes(Mr I'm getting too old to beleive in santa anymore). Then there was Santas Grotto..£3 per child included a present,and for an additional £1 Santa gave them a letter to take home,I went a little extra and spent another 30p each to have the letters posted home. My two sons decided seeing Santa would be cool,but my daughter has developed "Santa phobia",and felt too shy to want to sit on this strangers knee!! The queue was quick moving and not too long,and although this made me apprehensive at first,proved to be no reflection on the time they spent with him. Again the themed walls were all around and Santa was at in a lovely little room with a fireplace and festive decore.Curios as always ,I went in with my kids and Santa (obviously being used to older visitors) had a great padded seat for them right next to him.He asked them what they wanted,and having been handed thier lists,had a great chat with them. Having seen Santa we then went on into another room filled with toys and gifts where they were asked to choose one each.This I thought was a fab idea,and there was plenty to choose from.Michael (aged 10)chose a charming piggy bank,and Lewis(aged 11)a helicopter.Both gifts were of good quality and I left feeling we had had our money's worth. You then walk back through the non seasonal section of the garden centre and back out to the car parks,where is situated a stall selling hot dogs and burgers,and in veiw of how long you could spend at the centre I didn't think it was out of place.
Walesby Garden Centre Brake Road, Walesby, Nr. New Ollerton, Notts., NG22 9NQ.
Telephone; 01623 860382
Opening times are 10am til 6pm
An excellent day out,suitable for all ages especially if you have kids!! We will be going again next year...hope to see you there!! Thanx for reading.