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“Bicton Botanics”

Bicton Park Botanical Gardens
Ranked #8 of 124 things to do in Exeter
Certificate of Excellence
More attraction details
Attraction details
Owner description: Over 64 acres to explore "A delight for gardeners" Spanning nearly 300years of gardening history, the park is home to many rare and beautiful species, collected from around the world. The Palm House is made from over 18,000 panes of glass (built 20yrs before The Kew Gardens Palm House) hosting many Palms. Tropical House, Arid House, Temperate house. Enjoy your coffee / lunch overlooking the Italian Garden. Explore the arboretum and while away time in the bird hide Ride the Bicton Woodland railway for an oversight of the park (suitable for wheelchairs) The countryside museum containing a huge collection of bygone days.... And for the children indoor and outdoor play areas, crazy golf, Astro turf football pitch, ride the pedal tractors all to add to the fun (Please note play areas are only open to children between the ages of o to 12 yrs)
Reviewed 4 weeks ago

Great parking and relaxed entrance/cafe. It seems to be based on youngsters as some of the information seemed basic, might be as I'm a professional botanist. Anyway, stunning Palm House, did not expect it when walking around. Gardens themselves were very neat, was a bit taken back by the Ricinus (Castor Oil) plant being in reaching distance since its a poisonous plant. Rose garden was quirky and enjoyed the walk about the arboretum. The glasshouses were slightly less maintained but still lovely plants. Shell house felt a little dark and not a informative as I was expecting but lovely specimens. Great place for a day out with the kids.

Thank Briony H
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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5 - 9 of 663 reviews

Reviewed 8 November 2017

An impromptu visit after discovering our dog would be welcome. Absolutely beautiful gardens, even in October when there are not many colourful flowers about. Acres of walks to do, through formal landscaped grounds, woodland and around lakes. Plenty for children to do with a woodland railway and activity playgrounds. Also a countryside museum, gift shop and licensed restaurant. Do NOT leave without trying the Apple Pie!!
Will definitely be going back when we are next in Devon.

Thank Elaine N
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 30 October 2017

The children love it so much here hat I've bought a season ticket, plenty to do inside and out all year round.

Thank Lainey J
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 28 October 2017

I took out a membership 8 months ago had numerous good visits. Recently visited with two friends, each of us with a 13 month old baby. One friend spent £15 on membership. We then spent £10 in the main cafe on coffee & cake, and later all bought lunch in the soft play cafe for a further £15. As I do everywhere I go, I buy food for myself from the venue, but then feed my baby the weaning food I have brought with me.

On this occasion a grumpy member of staff approached our table in the completely empty cafe to say we could not have a picnic inside. I thought she had made a mistake and showed her that we had all bought sandwiches, crisps and drinks from the cafe. She then pointed to the baby food and said you can't feed them their own food inside! We were expected to eat the food we had paid for in the cafe, then take the babies outside, into the cold to feed them separately. These were small babies, not long in high chairs, all eating weaning finger food including one baby with special dietary needs.

On leaving the soft play we went to get our membership cards (which they now make you hand in) only to be told they had been confiscated, and wouldn't be returned until we had been sent a letter informing us of our rules breach. I couldn't believe it, but assumed this was just a grumpy member of staff being overly strict (I can completely understand that you can't eat your own food in a cafe, but I have never seen this applied to baby food anywhere else).

I emailed the management expecting to get an apology (as the staff refused to find a manager for me to speak to). They didn't bother to reply to my email. They did reply to my wife and my friend who had her membership card confiscated 2 hours after buying it. They confirmed this is company policy, and if you are bringing baby food with you, no matter how much you spend on food for adults in the cafe, and no matter how young your children, you must feed them outside regardless of the weather. I feel these rules are outrageous and are designed to force you to buy from the tiny range of baby and children's food that they sell. I won't ever return again - they have lost what would have been a regularly visiting (and spending!) family for the next 10-15 years. Please beware if you are taking weaning babies, this is not a family friendly venue.

5  Thank Jonny W
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 24 October 2017 via mobile

The grounds at Bicton are beautiful, a conservation site of coniferous trees with picturesque lawns and lovely floral displays.
BUT, considering it is supposed to be family friendly it fails miserably on this front. The soft play cafe has a very poor selection of food and parents are NOT ALLOWED to bring food for their young children (irrespective of specific dietary needs or allergies) as this is "PICNICKING!"
Families are of course welcome to eat their lunches outside in the freezing cold however. Management staff in the soft play are rude and overzealous, and complaints from the public fall on deaf ears. Other staff members are in general helpful and friendly and the main cafe has a better (but not brilliant) selection of food. We have never had any problems feeding our baby a lunch brought from home in the main cafe, which I think is fair if the adults are purchasing lunch for themselves.

6  Thank India R
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC

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