Gardener’s Rest, Thurlaston Garden Centre

We are huge fans of the Thurlaston Garden centre, and if you need any more evidence of why you should visit following this post, check out their Facebook and Instagram pages – the cakes always look amazing!!

As a family trip out, garden centres are becoming more popular, but one of our key loves of Thurlaston is that it is a local, family-run garden centre – and we do love to support small where possible.

The Unicorn Afternoon Tea event

The garden centre section is currently getting larger, with more flowers and plants than before. Inside is a gift shop, packed with small businesses from the local area, selling everything from wooden children’s toys and stationery, through to clothing, small gifts and even bath bombs. The staff are always so friendly and welcoming, and if you’re ever looking for a gift, then this is your place to go!

Now, for the cherry on the top – the Gardener’s Rest tearoom. We’ve been going here for over a year now and it just keeps getting better and better. The ladies who run it are always so friendly and welcoming, and the decorations around the room are beautiful – in the style of a vintage country garden.

Relaxing in the tea room

They’ve improved the heating/ventilation to make the temperature always lovely, and there is even an area where dogs are welcome to enjoy their coffee with you. They also have an outdoor decking area with plenty of seating, and a fantastic play area for children.

The play area is made out of a giant wooden pirate ship, alongside a large sandpit, and filled with buckets and spades for the kids to play on. The pirate ship itself has a slide, tyres and climbing wall, which Lily loves playing on!

Playing outdoors on the decking area

The new outdoor decking area is also really great, with tables alongside the play area so you can enjoy your coffee while the kids play. There’s a variety of different sized tables and picnic benches to accommodate for different sized groups too – and even some deck chairs by the play area!

On top of all of this, the food is fantastic. The cakes are homemade every day, including the best cheesecakes you’ve ever tasted – with specials each week, such as Oreo cheesecakes or at Easter they had one made with Cadbury’s Crème Eggs (again, keep an eye on their Social Media for the latest!).

The kids’ afternoon tea served on a miniature picnic bench

We have regularly enjoyed breakfast there – I recommend the vegan breakfast, even if you’re not vegan – or the eggs Bennedict! They also have kids’ options for all meals – from breakfasts through to children’s afternoon teas.

Lily loves the children’s lunch option served in a plant pot with colours too! If you’re a vegetarian, vegan, a kid, or even a dog, you even have your own menus.

LOVES the tearoom!

A final shoutout is for their events – all which are really well organised and really enjoyable. We’ve been to several family-friendly events, including breakfast with Santa (my mum actually cried it was so lovely!), meeting owls, an under 10’s Halloween Party, and an incredible unicorn afternoon tea!

They have some great family events on during school holidays, including animal encounters and playtime on a bus, so keep an eye out for upcoming events – and their awesome pumpkin patch at Halloween!

Chilling on the pumpkin patch 🙂

They also did Lily’s third birthday ‘party’ after she decided she wanted a party about 2 days before her birthday, and I hadn’t organised anything. We had just four of her friends there and sat on the picnic benches in the sunshine, enjoying the special kids’ afternoon tea. It was just lovely, and we cannot thank the staff enough.

Celebrating her 3rd birthday at the Gardener’s Rest

Finally, an important note for families, are that the toilets are great with the little ones. There is only one ladies’ toilet but it is really big, with plenty of space, a large changing table, spare wipes, and a little step for the toddlers to reach the toilet or sink.

If you’re looking for a place to meet up with other parents in the week, look no further – and if you have a group with different ages and dietary requirements, or looking for somewhere to visit with your dog, everyone is accommodated, and the staff go out their way to look after you.

Christmas at the Thurlaston Garden Centre

Tips for visiting with families

  • For bigger groups or peak times (weekends or holidays… especially on sunny ones!), as well as their events, book well in advance as they can get busy and often sell out
  • Their Instagram and Facebook pages are great to keep an eye on for their events – but make sure you book in quickly
  • The quietest times are weekdays, especially in the mornings, as they often host small gatherings such as for baby showers/birthdays in afternoons and weekends – so if you’re looking for a place to visit with friends and the kids (or to host a baby shower!), then off-peak is really quiet.

Visit their Facebook pages or Instagram to find out more!

Meeting the owls at Thurlaston – age 2!
The Unicorn afternoon tea…
Best day ever – a real unicorn in the tea room!
Breakfast with Santa
Meeting Santa and Mrs Claus in the beautiful grotto

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