I've been several times over the past few years, and the various gardens are an excellent inspiration for different ways to grow organically, whatever your plot.
However on my most recent visit, I discovered that due to redevelopments, they have closed the shop and cafe (permanently). I can't say I ever bought anything from the shop, and I heard that the franchisee hadn't been able to make it pay of late. But the lack of a cafe immediately makes this impractical for a family day out, as the site is in the middle of the countryside without alternatives. We would like to have stayed longer, as there are plenty of fun things to do inside with a toddler (we were dodging rain showers outside) but we had to leave to find lunch.
We're unlikely to return until there is some better refreshment solution. It doesn't need to be a full-service restaurant - sandwiches, baked potatoes, soup, cakes would be more than adequate, or something using seasonal produce from the gardens? There is machine tea/coffee available but that's not exactly an attraction.
However if you bring your own or do without, the transition period (moving to a more educational focus) at least offers free entry for now. The lack of a cafe need urgent reconsideration - without it, you may as well turn most of the car park over to grass and open for pre-booked educational visits only. An on-site garden centre isn't necessary, but kids like to take something home - a small shop with carefully-considered souvenirs could be part of the welcome desk and have no additional staffing implications.
I hope this transitional period marks a low spot, and the shortcomings are addressed so that my family (and many others) can enjoy learning about organic gardening through the seasons and years.
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.