Brambles is a recent addition to the Poplar Tree Garden Centre in Shincliffe. If you’re a fan of both horticulture and café culture, this is the place for you.
The downside is that you have to get to Shincliffe (about a mile south east of Durham) and then work your way through the garden centre to get a nice cuppa. In truth, because of this awkward location, it’s probably not worth going to just for a coffee. However, if you’re also in need of a begonia or two, why not give it a go? I am reliably informed that there is more to do in Shincliffe than might initially meet the eye, such as picnics and riverside walks.
It’s quite swish and clean, and has only been around since February 2006. There is much greenery to please roaming eyes, due of course to the garden centre.
Unfortunately, like so many would-be coffee-houses, it’s verging on what would normally be described as a tea room. But there are plenty of coffee options and it can justify its “coffee house” label.
The most important thing is it’s a nice place to sit in peace and quiet…. unless there are unruly youngsters around. It’s not too long since those days when I was dragged round garden centres with my parents, so I can appreciate the mind-numbing boredom experienced by nippers who are probably twenty years off having a garden of their own.
The coffee is what you’d expect from a garden centre, and if you need more then there’s plenty of food. They’ve done the place up nicely, and even though it can get busy there’s plenty of space (it seats 100).
(at the Poplar Tree Garden Centre)
We visited on 27 August 2007.