Unexpected greenery and glasshouses
This review is especially helpful for those who have or use the following: Long Cane, Wheelchair
The Botanic Gardens were an unexpected find as we were walking in the area. Tucked quietly behind the leisure centre and ice rink they were surprisingly good and a seemingly popular oasis of tranquility.
Transport & Parking
Getting to the Botanic Gardens was for us more by accident than any effort of planning! We had walked along the riverside walkway from the town centre. The nearby road seemed quite busy and there were signs of buses going along. For the motorists there was plenty of parking in the area.
We enjoyed our visit. A long building fronts the gardens and invites you to pop in where you can explore the gardens or take some refreshments in the Cobbs Cafe. We decided to try both of these options. Automated doors help you to get in the building and once inside there is a small reception area, toilets and a large cafe area. Having worked up a thirst with our exploring we headed for the counter of the coffee shop. Greeted with a smile and warm welcome we opted for some coffees. The tabled and chairs weren't fixed and a chair soon removed to allow me to wheel up to the table. We paused, pondered and planned our what next move and decided that after a suitable rest we'd venture out in to the botanic gardens. Going out of the building, again via automated doors, we came on to wooden platform which had a well constructed ramp that headed down to the paving slabs that fronted the glasshouses. We went in to the tropical house and at first it felt like a steam room but that subsided and we took in the unfolding view. It was an amazing jungle of plant life, hanging down, growing up and generally taking over in a nice sort of way. With a central, almost cave like, area we sat a while and soaked up the atmosphere until the temptation to follow the sound of running water took over. Peering around the corner there was a waterfall window where the stream of water flowed from above and across the window style aperture in the rock creating a picturesque view. Our curiosity took us in to the next glasshouse where the cacti and heat loving plants were thriving; even in the February sun! Adjacent was another glasshouse where what looked like a miniature orange tree caught our attention so the cameras were soon deployed. We then venture to the outdoor paths and spend a great time walking around and exploring the wooden sculpture, the magical wall mirror, the pond and so much more.
The accessible toilet was fine but would be tight for a power chair user as there was limited side transfer space. Otherwise it was clean and tidy.
During our rambling around the gardens we met several folk, we think volunteers, who were out and about sprucing up the grounds, clipping the cacti, and generally tidying up. In the cafe the service and welcome was second to none as we received help to find a table, carry our coffees across, and were left to enjoy the atmosphere.
Anything else you wish to tell us?
A great find if you are looking for somewhere with variety and intrigue as you explore. if you're not too keen on walking there were plenty of seats in the garden to just sit and enjoy watching the world pass by.