Merriments Gardens began life in the late 1980s, when Peggy Weeks along with her son David, daughter Mandy & son-in-law Mark Buchele, bought the site. Originally a market garden growing tomatoes, the growing nursery and retail plant centre started life in 1989.
In that same year, the family purchased the 4-acre field adjacent to the nursery which they originally used to graze sheep and then as stock beds. In 1992, the decision was made to turn the field into a Garden to showcase the plants grown onsite and provide visitors with ideas they could take home to their own gardens. Built round a central systems of ponds, much of the design work was undertaken by Mark Buchele with Peggy & Mandy Weeks growing many of the plants that can still be seen in the wide sweeping beds throughout the Garden.
Merriments was always very much a family endeavour with Peggy being the driving force in the nursery as well as planting up beautiful hanging baskets for sale in the Shop, whilst David ran his landscaping business from the site. Mandy is still respected in horticultural industry for her plant knowledge and enquiring mind and Mark, a close friend of Christopher Lloyd (of Great Dixter fame), brought his love of plants & eye for colour to many of the original planting plans in the Garden.
Following the sad loss of both Mandy and Mark to cancer and with Peggy looking to retire, the decision was made to put Merriments up for sale. It took several years, but in 2017 a local lady, Lucy Cross, for whom Merriments held special memories of time spent here with her own mother, stepped forward and bought the business.
With the sale finally completed in June 2017, Merriments has entered a new era. With Lucy’s much needed investment, we aim to build on the tremendous legacy left by the original owners. Remaining privately owned, has enabled Merriments to retained its family feel with many of the team having worked here or sharing connections over many years. Longstanding members of the team has been joined by others who share a passion for plants, design & all things horticultural and we work together on all aspects of the business to make Merriments a special place to visit and build memories.
Over the coming years we are working to restore the Garden to its former glory ,whilst further developing it, and to return the Nursery to growing unusual and top-quality plants for sale in the Plant Centre to our many discerning, garden loving customers.
With a new Café sitting alongside the original table-service licensed Restaurant, both serving freshly prepared seasonal meals, largely made from local ingredients, and a Shop offering a wide range of gardening essentials, gifts and cards, Merriments Gardens has everything you need and is well worth a visit!
The Garden is now closed for the Winter and will re-open on Sunday 20th March 2022. Mondays - Saturdays 9am - 5pm & Sundays 10am -4pm. No booking is required.
£9 per adult, £8 for seniors and free for children under 16.
Free entry for Merriments Garden Season Ticket holders (see below)
Free entry to RHS Members everyday throughout our 2021 Season except when we open for the NGS in August (Wednesday 18th). For joint RHS Memberships, free entry is only for the first named cardholder. RHS Members cannot use their card if visiting as part of a group (in line with RHS rules for Partner Gardens - please see your RHS Handbook for more information)
The Merriments Garden Season Ticket entitles the holder (and one guest per visit) to unlimited free visits during our period (March to October).
The Season Ticket costs £30 and valid for 12 months from the date of purchase.
Please call if you have further questions.
Yes - you do not need to book, just show your voucher at the till when paying for Garden entry.
We recommend a minimum of 90 minutes to fully absorb our RHS Partner Garden, there is lots to see and it’s best to take your time!
Yes. For groups of 15 and more who book in advance, we can offer a discounted rate of £8.50 per person.
Please contact firstname.lastname@example.org to book or for more information.
We are a dog friendly site and welcome well behaved canine companions all year round. Dogs are allowed in the Garden, as long as they are kept on a lead and cleared up after. Dogs are also very welcome to join you if you are eating on the terrace of our restaurant, and we provide water bowls to keep them hydrated. At present, we don't have capacity for dogs inside our restaurant, and we ask that visitors do not take dogs (other than guide or service dogs) through the restaurant to the toilets. If you wish to eat with us on a wet day, or in the winter months, please ask our friendly shop staff, who are usually very happy to dog sit your companion while you eat.
We are constantly looking for ways to make our menu suitable for everyone, and offer an extensive selection for celiac, dairy free and vegetarian visitors. Several of our vegetarian dishes can simply be made vegan.
Our kitchen does use nuts and shellfish, so we ask that any customers with a severe or life-threatening allergy make contact before they visit so we can discuss safety measures to ensure an appropriate food preparation process.
We will do our utmost to cater to your dietary needs, please call ahead if you would like to discuss a specific dietary restriction or need. 01580 860 666.
Our cafe and outside terrace are now open with Covid safety measures in place. We do not take bookings outside as this space is weather dependent. For inside bookings, call 01580 86066 and choose the restaurant option when prompted. We are open Monday - Saturday 9am-4pm & Sundays 10am - 4pm.
Our site is largely flat, entirely step free, and all of our facilities, including the Restaurant and bathrooms, are wheelchair accessible. Our garden is situated on a gentle slope with plenty of benches for rests, and most of its paths can accommodate a wheelchair. We do advise against the use of motorised wheelchairs in wet weather as our clay soil can become slippery and cause them to get stuck. We have a wheelchair available to borrow, this does need to be booked ahead.
Please contact the centre to reserve the wheelchair or if you have any specific questions regarding accessibility.
Join the Merriments Club and received year-round discounts in the Shop, Plant Centre & Restaurant,
or invest in a Garden Season Ticket to receive the best available access to our beautiful RHS Partner Garden