Travelling on the M6 north? Lunch at Barton Grange

Barton Grange near PrestonThe subject of today’s blog post is a true gem, but also an unusual one in that it isn’t actually in the Lake District at all!

When I last visited this place for myself, I thought what a wonderful stopping point it would make for those of you travelling north on the M6 motorway to the Lake District – especially if you’re not sure how to make one of the most important decisions of the day: where to lunch…

This hidden gem is Barton Grange, a large independent garden centre situated between Preston and Garstang, which is not just a plant nursery but a restaurant, café, shopping experience (garden shop, clothing, gifts, books, cook shop, farm shop, sweet shop – and two cake counters) all rolled into one delicious visit.

Assuming you are travelling on the M6 north, all you need to do is leave the motorway at Junction 32, and follow the A6 north for around 3.5 miles (see the Barton Grange website for more specific directions, as I’m not taking responsibility for any map-based arguments if you get lost! 🙂 ). And when you can finally prise yourself away from the garden centre after lunch, simply continue on the A6 north and rejoin the motorway at Junction 33.

I’ve used Barton Grange as a stopping point on my way out of the Lake District, so it would make an equally good lunching stop on the way in. You could stop for a full dining experience in the Willows restaurant (where I can highly recommend the hot paninis with salad and coleslaw 🙂 ), or a self-service lunch in the large Riverside café next door.

And for lovers of cake, I can confirm that the cakes here are ENORMOUS! After eating, we’ve always then followed up with a stroll around the nursery and indoor spaces (slightly easier if you resist the temptation of cake for afters), before heading back on the road.

Here are some pictures from last spring, which I think tell you far more about the experience than I possibly can using the written word! And no matter what time of year you visit, there’s always something new to see.

Barton Grange
There’s lots to see even before you enter the garden centre itself

Features in the car park at Barton Grange garden centre

A mosaic on the outer wallThe front entrance at Barton GrangeThe indoor plant section at Barton GrangeSignposts at Barton Grange

The Riverside Café at Barton Grange
The Riverside Café
The view out over the garden centre from the Willows Restaurant at Barton Grange
The view out over the garden centre from the Willows Restaurant

The Riverside Café

Cake counter at Barton Grange
The cake counter is much bigger than I’ve managed to capture here – and is usually full to brimming. We must have visited on a quiet day!
Now that you’re full from all that cake, it’s time for a stroll around the garden centre…
In case you were wondering what was lurking behind the wall in the previous photo, it’s one of these rather fun trolley-cars. Beep beep.
Watering can display at Barton Grange
Whatever time of year you visit, the attention paid to displays is really worth seeing
Elk on display at Barton Grange garden centre
He’s quite striking, isn’t he?!

A spring display

A giant snail sculpture
And look who’s lurking under the restaurant window…

Display at Barton Grange

Bear at Barton Grange
Has anyone noticed that there’s a very big bear at the end of the aisle…?

Undercover display of watering cans

Gifts and interiors
Gifts and interiors

Indoors at Barton Grange

Sweet shop
And for those with a sweet tooth…

The indoor plants

The clock tower at Barton Grange
The clock tower feature

Barton Grange signAs you can see, the attention that goes into everything at Barton Grange makes it a really worthwhile place to visit – even if you’re not particularly into gardening. If you’re looking for somewhere to stop on your next journey to the Lake District, why not give it a try?!

For more information, visit Barton Grange online.

However you choose to travel to the Lake District (and from whichever direction!), do you have any favourite places you simply must stop at on the way? If so, please leave your own recommendations below for the benefit of other blog readers!

One Comment

  1. There’s nothing quite like driving up the M6 motorway to the Lake District and seeing the distinctive hill on the right-hand side at Junction 36. Someone kindly pointed out to me that it is called Farleton Knott, and has great views too, so you learn something new every day!

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