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Lowden Garden Centre, Melksham

Muddy says: Fancy a garden centre with a difference? Better come with us and have a snoop around this gaff then.

Starting with the garden bit – here you’ll find an eclectic mix of the finest home grown and responsibly sourced plants and trees, coupled with a wealth of knowledge and experience. The staff know their biscuits so they’ll help you pick out your petunias and every other bit of garden paraphernalia you’ll need and then, once your horticultural itch has been thoroughly scratched, shifty over to the gift shop for some seriously smart cookwear.
You’ll be impressed by the Farm Shop, selling locally sourced produce (most meat comes from within 15 miles and all craft beer and cider from within 10 miles) and titbits to stock up the larder – think homemade jams and Wiltshire honey, local yoghurts and cheeses.
Now, my favourite – the food. The Specials menu in the restaurant changes daily depending on the seasons (and what produce is looking at its best in the farm shop). They also serve breakfast and lighter lunch (think New York Deli sandwich and Moroccan spiced lamb flatbread), with wood-fired pizza on Thursday, Friday and Saturday lunch times. They’ve just released their newest pizza menu, which offers such treats as goats cheese, spinach and caramelised onion, mixed charcuterie on a passata base, and homemade Calibrese sausage with roasted red pepper. Yum. Word on the ground is their Sunday roast ain’t too shabby either.
A range of events includes lunchtime talks – coming up are visits by the 8th Countess of Carnarvon, who will talk about what it is like to live in Highclere Castle (that’s Downton Abbey to you and me), and Helena Attlee, author of ‘The Land Where Lemons Grow, The Story of Italy & It’s Citrus Fruit’ hosting a talk and lunch. Find out more here.
Oh, they are dog-friendly too, which is what we like to hear!

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The Urban Guide to the Countryside - Wiltshire