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“A missed opportunity”

Fairhaven Woodland and Water Garden
Certificate of Excellence
More attraction details
Attraction details
Recommended length of visit: 2-3 hours
Owner description: Enjoy a relaxing and peaceful day out away from the hustle and bustle in our 130 acre organic woodland garden with our exclusive broad. Wander the 3 miles of fully-accessible paths, take a trip on our boat Primrose then enjoy a cream tea or light lunch in our eco-tearoom before browsing around our giftshop. Open all year round except Christmas day Fairhaven is a garden for all seasons whether you visit us in Spring to see the spectacular primula display, in Summer to enjoy our events, in Autumn to appreciate the amazing autumnal colour or Winter to view the wildlife. 2017 Entry prices: Adults £6.75, Concessions £6.15, Children £3.85, Dogs 25p. 2017 Boat trip prices: 20 minute Broads trip, Adults £3.75, Children £2.75, Dogs 50p each (only two dogs per trip permitted). St Benet's Abbey trip, Adults £6.75, Children £4.75, Dogs £1 each (only two dogs per trip permitted.)
Useful Information: Wheelchair access, Food available for purchase
Norwich, U.K.
Level Contributor
57 reviews
12 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 37 helpful votes
“A missed opportunity”
Reviewed 6 August 2014

We had a very enjoyable visit with lovely weather. the gardens were lovely and very peaceful. There was so much duck weed on the water that it looked like a very luscious lawn! Maybe the introduction of some barley strw would help the problem.
Boat trip to St Benets Abbey was a lovely way to relax and admire the views.
All through the gardens we kept wondering about the names of the trees and interesting plants but not a single label on or near the the interesting specimens . What a shame we could not buy any plants like the ones we saw because we did not know what to ask for. We cannot be the only visitors who like to know the name of unusual plants and trees.
Coffee was good in the cafe but scones rather leaden!

Visited August 2014
Helpful?
Thank Jazzjerry
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Paul D, Public Relations Manager at Fairhaven Woodland and Water Garden, responded to this review, 13 August 2014
Thank you very much for your review; I am so pleased that you enjoyed your visit to the garden and the boat trip to St Benet's Abbey.

Thank you for pointing out the duckweed, which is particularly thick this year because of the flash flooding that we have had in the last few weeks - more nutrients running off the land = more weed. The weed has grown the most on King Stephen's Pond (nearest water to the garden entrance), because it isn't affected by the tide like the other dykes. We haven't taken any measures yet this year, but in the past when it has been very thick we have skimmed it off the top of the water. Unfortunately we would need rather a large amount of barley straw to make a difference.

Thank you also for raising the issue of plant labelling. We did have grant funding to label the main plants a few years ago, but unfortunately many of the signs were removed by visitors as 'souvenirs'. We will be adding labels to the main shrubs and trees over the winter.

Our staff are very happy to help with plant identification; a plant sales or garden team member is available most of the time. Alternatively, you can enquire at the shop and a phone call to a gardener will help identify the item.

I am sorry that you found your scone to be rather leaden. It would be good to know the day of your visit. That would help us find out who made them and we can provide the member of staff with additional baking training.
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280 reviews from our community

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Date | Rating
  • English first
  • Any
English first
Sleaford, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
3 reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
“Day Out”
Reviewed 4 August 2014

Nice walks in the woodlands- well signed.
Peaceful.
Took 40 minute boat ride & this was interesting.
Could do with clearing some of the duck weed off the river

Visited July 2014
Helpful?
Thank Keith S
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Paul D, Public Relations Manager at Fairhaven Woodland and Water Garden, responded to this review, 13 August 2014
Thank you very much for the review of your visit to Fairhaven. I am so pleased that you enjoyed your walk in the garden and the boat trip.

Thank you for pointing out the duckweed, which is particularly thick this year because of the flash flooding that we have had in the last few weeks - more nutrients running off the land = more weed. The weed has grown the most on King Stephen's Pond (nearest water to the garden entrance), because it isn't affected by the tide like the other dykes. We haven't taken any measures yet this year, but in the past when it has been very thick we have skimmed it off the top of the water.
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Newark-on-Trent, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
123 reviews
50 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 81 helpful votes
“Average pricey gardens but boat trip was fab”
Reviewed 4 August 2014 via mobile

We visited with a boat trip in mind and I'm glad we'd planned on that and not just the gardens. It was nice for a shaded woodland style walk but there wasn't a great deal to see, especially not for the price.

The boat trip to the abbey was well worth the money, 50 minutes with an informative skipper and a nice relaxing journey.

We finished off with a nice pannini in the tea room.

Altogether this cost us around £50

Visited August 2014
Helpful?
Thank PandaWard
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Paul D, Public Relations Manager at Fairhaven Woodland and Water Garden, responded to this review, 7 August 2014
Thank you very much for your review. I am so pleased that you enjoyed the boat trip out to St Benet’s Abbey and our skipper’s commentary and also enjoyed your walk in the garden and the panini in the tearoom.

There are more 3½ miles of footpaths at Fairhaven, which criss-cross the water channels that give the garden its character. There are many ancient oak and beech trees to enjoy, particularly the King Oak, which is one of the oldest trees in Norfolk and was a sapling at the time of the Battle of Hastings. The summer is a great time for dragonflies and butterflies, as well as our resident bird population.

I am sorry you felt that the admission charge to the garden is high. We are a small charity. The money from the entry charge goes straight towards maintaining the garden.

I do hope you will return to see our lovely autumn colours, or perhaps the spring flowers, especially the candelabra primulas in May.
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Cussy-le-Châtel, Bourgogne, France
Level Contributor
19 reviews
6 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 9 helpful votes
“Peaceful park and garden”
Reviewed 30 July 2014

We really enjoyed walking around and discovering the wild flowers. The paths are well kept and easy to walk, we also saw an elderly lady with an electric wheelchair having no difficulty in exploring the gardens.

There was an abundance of flowers to see, this will however depend on the time of year of your visit. Even if you are not a flower or garden lover, it is interesting place to visit.

The boat trip (extra costs) on the broads was very interesting, the friendly skipper giving a detailed commentary about the surroundings and answering all the questions.
The food served in the restaurant was correct and not expensive.

Dogs are welcomed and no doubt enjoy the shade on a hot summer's day.

Visited July 2014
Helpful?
Thank Phillip A
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Paul D, Public Relations Manager at Fairhaven Woodland and Water Garden, responded to this review, 15 August 2014
Thank you very much for your review. I am glad you enjoyed walking in the garden and discovering the wild flowers, as well as the boat trip. Thanks also for pointing out that we welcome dogs. We have our annual Dog Day at the end of August, incorporating a fun dog show in aid of Hallswood Animal Sanctuary.
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Manchester, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
6 reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 5 helpful votes
“Nice garden to look around”
Reviewed 22 July 2014

Lovely garden to walk around and explore. Appears to have good access for wheelchair users.
Bit noisy as there was some chainsawing going on.
Tried the restaurant and found the woman serving quite rude when informing us that there was limited menu due to short staffing. Sorry to have disturbed you!! Silly of me to think that the reason for you being there is to serve your customers!
Overall it was a pleasant couple of hours.

Visited July 2014
Helpful?
Thank AntR666
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Paul D, Public Relations Manager at Fairhaven Woodland and Water Garden, responded to this review, 31 July 2014
Thank you for taking the time to review the garden – I’m very glad to hear you enjoyed your visit. As you noted in your review we did have to get one of the chainsaws out last week as unfortunately one of our trees required urgent attention. Had the tree been away from the path we would have been able to leave it until after closing but safety dictated the timescale on this one. Whenever possible we use hand tools and traditional skills but sometimes we do have to resort to machinery.

Regarding your visit to the tearoom I am sorry to hear of your experience and I have discussed the matter with the Tearoom Manager. Unfortunately we were unexpectedly short staffed on that occasion and to make sure the kitchen was able to keep up with demand we did have to reduce the menu. This however does not excuse bad manners and this has been raised with the person in question.

I hope that you will be able to visit again and give the tearoom another try.
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