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Donaghadee Garden Centre (Creative Gardens)

There are a few wee spots dotted around the outskirts and back hills of Bangor for those looking to escape the constant hubbub and chaos of Bangor’s city centre (joking obviously). Nice wee drives, bring nanny on a Sunday type places. I’ve shared a few in our cafe guide etc. but here it’s more specific with an exciting day out to Donaghadee Garden Centre (aka Creative Gardens Donaghadee)… and most importantly their onsite cafe which is the only reason I’d be there.

While Creative Gardens did start as a garden centre, it’s now more like the lovechild of Homebase and IKEA only they’re selling stuff at twice the price (I’m not going to lie). At the same time, they are selling unique and local products, and it’s always good to shop local, so maybe grab some plant seeds or a good chutney so you don’t feel too awkward when skulking past the checkouts at the exit.

What do they Sell at the Donaghadee Garden Centre?

“Won’t don’t they sell!” It’s a bit of a slog before actually reaching the cafe with room upon room of all sorts of non-garden-related products. It starts with a gift shop with stuff like local snacks, sweets, chutneys and chilli dips. Then it’s more gifts, cards and candles, before housewares, rugs, mirrors, clothes… and we finally reach the plants. At least the indoor plants. A lot of it is indoors. Even the garden centre is mostly indoors.

The Cafe at Donaghadee Garden Centre

A visit to Creative Gardens is normally for the womenfolk of the family, while I just tag along for the lasagne. So my motivation is for the on-site cafe which opens through the day but only serves the lunch menu between 12:00PM – 16:00PM. This means arriving to Creative Gardens by around 11:00AM which gives enough time to navigate the gift shops etc. and before the canteen is overrun by a rabble of grannies.

The cafe hasn’t changed much through the years other than size as it now has 4 large seating areas, and includes outdoor seating for the sunnier days. The menu is not so different either, only the lasagne now comes served with fries over wedges, and each come in separate bowls/baskets. Fortunately it takes mere seconds to pour them out onto the accompanying plate where they’re supposed to be. Could do with more coleslaw.

There is more to the lunch menu than lasagne, with other exciting options including Mexican Bean Hot Pot and Chicken Goujons and Seafood Chowder and… well maybe not too exciting but I’m near certain they’ll all be quality, tasty meals. Then there is the usual cafe fare inside and outside of lunch hours including an arrangement of scones (cinnamon for the win), all sorts of coffees and teas, and the paninis do well.

When’s the best time to Visit Creative Gardens in Donaghadee?

Midday in the summer, when the wheat fields are golden for the harvest, the sun is in the sky, and you’re just in time for the lunch menu in the on-site cafe.

Actually, midday all year round, as there’s almost always something going on. For example, on a more recent visit, when there were 40 mph winds out, we could watch on from the cafe while staff scrambled to save fallen trees and potted plants only for the wind to just topple them over again. Free entertainment.

There are also seasonal changes when at Christmas for example the interiors will be decorated with oversized baubles and selfie ops which are perfect for the kids (like my adorable wee nephew below). Otherwise, most visits from us will be chasing expiring coupons or cashing in on near-forgotten gift cards.

Where is the Donaghadee Garden Centre?

It’s pretty much one straight road from Bangor town centre following the Donaghadee Road (crossing the Donaghadee Roundabout) before following the rural backroads towards Donaghadee. In total it’s a 7-minute drive (3.8 miles) before taking a left lane and Creative Gardens is just 50 meters along.

It is easy to find, but I still put it on Google Maps to be sure, as I’m prone to either miss the turning or just randomly get lost in the endless backdrop of fields. Here’s the directions here.

Address: 34 Stockbridge Rd, Donaghadee BT21 0PN

A Day Out it in Donaghadee?

Honestly, Donaghadee’s not as bad as people say it is. Just watch Hope Street (me either). It really is a nice wee scenic seaside town with some great coastal views from above at the Donaghadee Moat. You’re also more than halfway there so why not take the scenic coastal route back? Groomsport’s not bad either. And then there’s the not-so-far Ballycopeland Windmill for a further loop through Millisle. We’re in a beautiful part of the country.

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