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Webbs of Wychbold’s hidden sister garden centre in Hagley that locals like to keep secret – Alison Brinkworth

Webbs of Wychbold is coveted as one the best garden centres in the Midlands with its huge restaurant, endless rows of plants and vast home decor aisles off the M5. While it may be the strapping, big brother, its lesser-known little sister seems to be hiding her light under a bushel.

You’ll find this smaller Webbs garden centre in Hagley, off Kidderminster Rd South, also among the pretty Worcestershire countryside. Pulling into the car park, the difference is instantly noticeable from Wychbold’s ‘big W’, as I’m going to call it, as I can get a space right next to the front door.

It’s a refreshing change from busy scenes I normally encounter at ‘big W’, where I usually end up at the back of the large car park and browsing behind a coach load of excited pensioners. It already feels calmer and I wonder if maybe the best things do come in small packages?

READ MORE: I went for lunch at the best garden centre in the Midlands and queued like I was at an LA nightclub

Through the entrance with its familiar purple sign, I’m greeted by scenes almost identical to ‘big W’ but on a more compact scale. It’s as though the Wychbold Webbs I know and love has been shrunk in the wash.

Alongside fragranced candles and luxury foods, there’s the same high end garden furniture and fire pits that I hope to one day save up enough to own. While there isn’t a Hobbycraft or Lakeland at this site, the feel of the rest of the store is in a similar vein.

Outside, there’s large areas for plants and as a garden centre, that is still Webbs’ main priority. While towards the back of the store, you’ll find the open-plan cafe. There’s even an added surprise in the garden.

Birds of Prey centre at Webbs Hagley

There’s a Birds of Prey attraction

At the back of the outdoor area of plants is the added attraction of a Birds of Prey Centre. Based in the store’s grounds, it houses over 80 birds of prey including vultures, owls, eagles, falcons and hawks.

It does come at an extra price but is a fascinating way to wile away the time, especially with children. The centre is open between 11am and 5pm with last entry in the summer at 4pm.

During Winter, the centre is closed on Mondays but opening times are November and February, 11am to 3.30pm, and December and January, 11am to 2.30pm. Tickets can be bought on the door and it costs £5.50 for adult entry, concessions £5, children aged five to 16 costs £3.50, children aged four and under is free.

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Webbs Hagley restaurant reviewed

The restaurant remains table service with friendly, young waiting staff greeting you at the entrance with a beaming smile. It fits over 100 people on 25 tables or more, but it’s a fraction of the size of that at ‘big W’.

The table service seems to be a hang-over from covid restrictions, as does the fact they are only taking card payments when I visit. It’s a stylish cafe, shiny with white gleaming Victorian tiles around the counter set against glistening metalic futuristic hanging lampshades.

Country chic wooden tables provide a haven for the many mums and couples out grabbing lunch. It’s good to see there’s plenty of space between tables to have a good gossip or private assignation.

There’s 25 lunch options on the menu that range from soup and bread roll to toasties, sandwiches, jacket potatoes and more decadent hot meals. It’s not as extensive as at the large ‘big W’ restaurant but there is a decent and varied mix of offerings.

It continues the Webbs reputation of temptingly extravagant dishes that are out of the norm from most garden Centres. Dishes like Chicken Ballotine in Parma Ham stuffed with wild garlic and truffle cream cheese with new potatoes, asparagus and herb oil for £13.29.

Then there is a Smoked Haddock Fishcake with poached egg, samphire and curried hollandaise for £12.49 or Sweet Potato, Aubergine and Spinach Curry with Pilao rice and a naan bread for £11.49. You get the drift.

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I opted for a Beer Battered Fish Finger Sandwich that came on a long wooden board with a hefty salad and large portion of fries for £10.99. The fish had a deliciously crispy batter around hearty chunks of fish and was covered in lip-lickingly good lemon and dill mayonnaise.

Extremely filling and freshly cooked, it was delicious although slightly on the expensive side. I didn’t try the cold sandwiches, but saw several coming out to other diners and it’s obvious that they don’t skimp on portion sizes.

Cakes to die for

Make sure you save room for cake… as there’s lots of it! A table full in fact, in front of the counter to browse that ranges from White Chocolate and Raspberry to Toffee Cake.

Cakes at Webbs Hagley store in Worcestershire
Cakes at Webbs Hagley store in Worcestershire

One woman comes bustling in the restaurant looking a little flustered and on edge. ‘I’m just here for cake’, she gasps to the server. I get the feeling its her daily fix and she’s getting withdrawals. Not overly busy, there’s a gentle stream of customers and it feels very much like a well-kept local secret.

Trying a slice of the already mentioned White Chocolate and Raspberry, I double down with a Mint and Chocolate slice too. Both are exquisite but the Mint one tastes exactly like an Aero bar and is particularly scrumptious. The White Chocolate is a variation of a Victoria Sponge and although very nice, not as memorable.

Slices are all £3.99 and are displayed on the cake table with a card showing all their main ingredients that could cause an allergy(very useful) along with the number of calories(shaming me into returning to the gym sometime this week)

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Price

While some of the main meals and cake may be at the higher end, price-wise, what you get is plentiful and good quality.

The drinks are priced similar to the going rate of £2.79 for a latte and £2.69 for a pot of tea. They charge tea by the bag and ask if you’d like a mug or pot, so my tip is to ask for a pot as you will get more value for your money.

For two hot drinks, two slices of cake and a fish finger sandwich that comes with chips and is large enough to share, the total for two people was £24.45.

Advantages of the Hagley Webbs over Wychbold

Although it is much smaller, there are less people, meaning less queues and general busyness. It’s easier to park closer to the front entrance and has a more personal feel about the place.

This store does offer some attractions that aren’t at the larger store. Last Christmas, for instance, Wychbold had The Enchanted Gardens Illuminations Trail while the Hagley store maintained the traditional Santa’s grotto.

Then there is the Birds of Prey Centre. Based in the store’s grounds, it houses over 80 birds of prey including vultures, owls, eagles, falcons and hawks and costs £5 entry, between 11am and 5pm with last entry in the summer at 4pm.

Gardening is still a main priority for Webbs Hagley store
Gardening is still a main priority for Webbs Hagley store

Overall Verdict

Sometimes, a change is as good as a rest, especially as ‘big W’ and its sister store have very different feels and attractions. While Hagley is much smaller, they’re the same style, efficient service and good products associated with Webbs brand.

The food menu may be less extensive but what it does offer is delicious and high quality. Maybe this other branch won’t remain such a local secret for so long.

Webbs Hagley, 157 Kidderminster Rd South, West, Hagley, Stourbridge, DY9 0JB. Monday to Saturday, 9am to 6pm, and Sunday, 10.30am to 4.30pm.

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