18 hidden gem Kent garden centers you must visit this summer
You could really make a day of it if gardening is your thing, but even if you’re not a fan of green-fingered gardens, garden centers are still worth a visit.
There’s much more to them than just plants and gardening equipment – most have a restaurant or café, a gift shop selling everything from local produce to stationery, and the surrounding landscape is often stunning.
Read more: Kent’s newest garden center is to open in Sandridge
Kent is full of hidden gems but our garden centers are one of our best kept secrets.
We’ve compiled a list of 18 garden centers worth a visit if you find yourself bored at the pub this summer.
Madrona Nursery, Bethersden
Madrona Nursery was founded nearly 40 years ago by engineer Liam Mackenzie from his mother’s backyard in Lod.
The current site was purchased in 1990 and includes stunning gardens, an attractive tower and a tea room.
The garden center offers a wide range of trees, shrubs, perennials, ferns, unusual herbs and a landscape design service.
Bulkley Road, Bethersden, Ashford TN26 3EG
Ripley’s Garden Centre, Ashford
Located on the A28 between Tenterden and Ashford, Ripleys Garden Center has been owned by the Ripley family for almost 40 years.
The garden center offers a variety of products from traditional items such as plants, seeds and soil, to more luxurious products such as specialist Christmas cards, handcrafted wooden stalls and Sophie Allport products.
There is also an on-site restaurant and beauty salon and independent businesses including AZ Animal Care, The Antiques Barn and Olson Timber Buildings.
Ashford Road, Ashford TN26 3LF
My Tree Nursery, Faversham
The Maytree Nursery in Faversham is a traditional garden centre, focusing mostly on plants.
They stock a variety of products including lawn and gardening tools, hanging baskets, trees, compost, pots and accessories.
Courtenay Road, Dunkirk, Faversham ME13 9LH
Folkestone Garden Centre
Folkestone Garden Center is located on the site of the former McFarlane’s World of Butterflies & Garden Nursery.
They stock a range of specially selected high quality plants, garden sundries, tools and gifts, as well as a range of imported garden furniture and high quality cane furniture.
You can also enjoy a slice of homemade cake, a full English breakfast or a light lunch at Groves Coffee Shop & Restaurant.
Canterbury Road, A260, Swingfield Mines, Folkestone CT15 7HX
Collings Potted Garden Nursery, Burstead
Located in Bearstead, just outside Maidstone, Coolings Potted Garden is a dog-friendly garden center established in 1927.
They are members of the Kent Wildlife Trust and encourage conservation – there is even a wildlife area on site with a bird hide for visitors to see.
As well as selling garden produce, there is also an on-site nursery offering a selection of coffees, cakes and a light lunch menu of hot and cold foods – however, the café is currently closed until further notice.
Ashford Road, Burstead, Maidstone ME14 4NH
Meadow Grange Nursery and Farm, Canterbury
Meadow Grange Nursery in Canterbury has an on-site farm shop selling locally sourced strawberries, asparagus, eggs, fruit and vegetables alongside a wide range of plants.
They also sell fresh Hinxden dairy farm produce, meat from local butchers in Brogdale, deli items, frozen Kentish pies, Owlets and Kingsdown juices, local beers and wines, jams, pickles and sweets.
And if all the food on offer makes you feel a little peckish, there’s also a coffee hut outside selling tea, coffee and Solly’s ice cream.
Honey Hill, Whitstable CT5 3BP
Badgers Hill Farm, Chilham
Badgers Hill Farm is a two-acre garden center with a huge inventory of perennials, bedding plants, trees, shrubs, roses, climbers and hedges.
But if plants aren’t really your thing, Badgers Hill is also home to a range of different animals that visitors are welcome to come and see.
They have miniature donkeys, sheep, goats, chickens, geese, rhea, mara, wallabies, and peacocks.
And if you’re not an animal lover either, there’s an on-site café that sells homemade cider, tillers, homemade cakes, sandwiches and traditional breakfasts.
New Cut Road, Chilham, CT4 8BW
Brookside Garden Centre, Tonbridge
Brookside is a family run business just outside Tonbridge, which has been in business for nearly 50 years and aims to create a ‘personal relationship’ with customers.
They were famous for their popular North Pole Picnic and Christmas Grotto but have stopped running the event for the foreseeable future because it has become too big for their small business.
However, they still have a range of produce on offer, including plants, fish and furniture, and you can stop by the Mulberry Tree Café which sells fresh pastries, homemade fudge and other local treats.
Seven Mile Lane, East Peckham, Tonbridge TN12 5JG
Tenterden Garden Centre
Tenterden Garden Center attracts over 100,000 visitors each year and enjoys views across Romney Marsh and the Isle of Oxne.
It contains a wide range of plants, tools, bird care, conservatory and garden furniture, canes and gifts.
There is also an on-site café and the Living World Pets & Aquatics Center which sells aquatic animal, reptile and pet supplies.
Appledore Road, B2080 Reading Road, Tenterden TN30 7HT
(Rough Valley in Dover).
Located between Folkestone and Dover, Alkham Valley sells locally sourced plans, pots and decorations.
There’s also a tea room that offers free tea or coffee with breakfast throughout June and July if you need another incentive to go!
Kham Valley Road, Kham, South Kham, Dover CT15 7EW
Dobbies Garden Centre, Ashford
Located just off the M20 motorway, Dobbies Garden Center has an enclosed woodland play area for children with natural species of flowers, fungi and wildlife.
As well as plants and gardening supplies, there’s a cozy café inside where you can stop for a quick tea break, a hot tub barn, aquatics shop, a car wash and butchers.
Eureka Leisure Park, Rutherford Road, Ashford TN25 4BN
Roxley Manor, Sidcup
There’s something for everyone at Ruxley Manor – they sell everything from outdoor furniture, BBQs and stoneware to lifestyle products, pet care and water toys.
They also belong to the Garden Center Association and promise a note of credit or exchange for any hardy plant that fails to grow or bloom within five years.
Ruxley Manor also hold regular events with guest speakers to help you make the most of your garden and have new summer pods offering afternoon tea, breakfast and lunch.
Maidstone Road, Orpington, Sidcup DA14 5BQ
Millbrook Garden Centre, Gravesend
If you want a break from clothes shopping, Millbrook Garden Center is just 10 minutes from Bluewater Shopping Center in Gravesend.
They have ample free parking, Wi-Fi and a new restaurant, The Mill, which serves hot and cold drinks as well as delicious breakfast and lunch meals.
Millbrook sells a wide range of products beyond just plants, including children’s toys, pet care, food and drink, furniture and clothing.
Station Road, Southfleet, Gravesend, DA13 9PA
Rumwood Nurseries and Garden Centre, Maidstone
Romwood Nurseries and Garden Center specializes in growing roses and trees.
They have a large selection of products on site but also sell roses for mail order delivery throughout the year.
The Coffee Garden is open daily between 10am and 3pm and sells locally roasted coffee, cakes and snacks.
New Road, Langley, Maidstone ME17 3ND
Canterbury Chartham Garden Center is located in Ashford
Canterbury Chartham Garden Center sells a range of plants, tools and gardening equipment.
It also includes a children’s play area, a homewares and gift shop, and a restaurant, in addition to shops from well-known brands.
Stour Business Park, Ashford Road CT4 7HF
Notcotes Garden Centre, Tunbridge Wells
Notcutts in Tunbridge Wells is another dog-friendly garden centre.
It has a restaurant with indoor and outdoor seating that serves a range of breakfasts, sandwiches, salads, main courses and children’s meals – it serves vegetarian and gluten-free meals.
Tonbridge Road, Pembury, Tunbridge Wells TN2 4QN
Bullhill Garden Centre, Sevenoaks
Polhill Garden Center in Sevenoaks offers a range of high quality garden and plant products.
But if gardening isn’t your cup of tea, there’s also a shopping village, restaurants and a brand new children’s play area featuring all-weather surfaces, slides, climbing frames, go-carts, boats and crazy golf for the whole family to enjoy.
London Road, Sevenoaks TN14 7AD
Hawley Garden Centre, Dartford
The Hawley Garden Center in Dartford has listened to customer requests and has begun stocking items other than plants.
They offer a wide range of products and also have a car wash, café, water sports centre, caravans, wood burner and conservatory businesses on site.
Hawley Road, Hawley, Sutton-at-Hon, Dartford DA2 7RB