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“Friendly centre”

Speyside Heather Centre
More restaurant details
Restaurant details
Good for: Local cuisine, Large groups, Families with children
Dining options: Lunch, Breakfast, Reservations
Description: An award winning centre in the heart of Speyside, Attractions include a Gift Shop, Exhibition, Art Gallery, Antiques Shop, Traditional homely food served all day in the Clootie Dumpling Restaurant, Freshly made soups are a favourite and of course Starthspeys largest Garden Centre with a large selection of hardy plants & over 300 different Heathers from which to choose a living part of Scotland to take home with you.
Belford, United Kingdom
Level 3 Contributor
11 reviews
8 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 8 helpful votes
“Friendly centre”
Reviewed April 8, 2013

I was staying in the area for a week and visited this centre twice. Enjoyed browsing the well laid out shop and now have enough heathers to make a nice rockery. The staff were very friendly. My only tiny gripe is that I didn't see any squirrells!! Would definitely recommend you put this on your to-do list if in the area.

  • Visited April 2013
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
Thank irene j
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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183 reviews from our community

Visitor rating
Rating summary
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • Any
English first
2 reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
“well worth a visit”
Reviewed March 22, 2013

visited the heather centre on sunday 17th march and we were very impressed. much more to it than we expected. thoroughly enjoyed browsing the antiques and collectables area and the lovely shop. it was a really cold day so the lovely fire in the restaurant was very welcome. staff were very friendly and we enjoyed our coffee and cake. would love to go on a lovely summers day as there is a lovely garden to wander round and great walk for our dog.
will definetely return

  • Visited March 2013
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Thank jane l
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Level 1 Contributor
3 reviews
3 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
“Response to "What a Rip-Off" review of 28th.February 2013”
Reviewed March 22, 2013

The review of the Heather Centre of 28th Feb.2013 was very unfair.I visited it in March 2013,voluntarily and found it full of interesting things to pass an hour. I enjoyed looking around the shop and especially the enjoyed the wonderful photographic panoramas. There is no pressure to buy. This is a specialist Heather centre, as the name implies. The owners, the Lambie family are experts in their propagation and planting. Any garden from Lands End to John'o Groats can benefit from some of the special varieties--especially for Winter colour.
The staff are all pleasant. Like all family run businesses it is carefully managed and any shortcomings in the food department would be quickly rectified.
The squirrels do exist and are red and truly wild.!
Perhaps thie problem lies with the bus tour company, whose choice of venue this is.

  • Visited March 2013
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
Thank ambatalurach
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Vancouver, Canada
Level 2 Contributor
8 reviews
4 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 6 helpful votes
“Educational and some good food”
Reviewed March 6, 2013

Nice place to learn about heather and buy some.

Good food is also available.

Whither you are a gardener or just looking for a break from the travelling, you will enjoy your stop here.

Visited July 2012
1 Thank jross77
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Durham, United Kingdom
1 review
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 4 helpful votes
“What a Rip-Off”
Reviewed February 28, 2013

The Dugshaws got it absolutely right in 2010 and it seems that nothing has changed. Other reviews must have been submitted by the “Friends of Speyside Heather centre Association”. How many normal people want to see 15 million varieties of heather? There is nothing there worth seeing if you are just a normal person interested in magnificent scenery. You will see ropes strung between trees, which they tell you are for the squirrels to pass safely over the track although we didn’t see any. There is an enormously overpriced tourist tat shop, a couple of outside benches – but they really want you inside spending money on rubbish. Then there is the hyped up self- service transport type café which they call a restaurant. To me it didn’t look particularly clean, certainly battered tables, no tablecloths, etc. – most depressing. This was in Feb 2013 after the proprietor stated that they use the slack winter months to upgrade - gee whizz. The prices were enough to make you weep. I refused to buy at their prices while my partner had a pot of tea for one + 3 biscuits and I shelled out £5.15 for that. The guy on the next table had a tea and a bowl of their so-called renowned soup, which he said was cold and it had cost him £6.20. No wonder he looked pale. A simple omelette was the thick end of £7 and fish and chips was getting on for £8. The last time that I saw beverage prices like that was in St Mark’s Square in Venice overlooking the Doge’s palace. Coaches carry over 50 passengers who change every few days. Coach drivers have no concern for them but regard them simply as cash cows. They will take you where they want you to go, force you off the coach, lock the doors and vanish. They will only return when they want to, having dropped you near something such as a café where they get a payoff.
The Dugshaws are correct about the coach driver’s free food although they have only got part of it correct. Judging by the smile on the faces of the drivers on their return they get more than free food! It was no wonder that the Heather Centre owner thanked us for our custom – we all felt very grumpy and as if we had been robbed. The coach drivers are crafty- they combine a visit to the top of Cairngorm (which is worth seeing) giving you about 30seconds (that is not exaggerated since I didn’t even have time to change the batteries in my camera) before they are off. I wonder if that is partly because they don’t want to pay parking fees before they whisk you off to the Heather Centre for your lunch break. It is all designed to get as much money out of you as possible on their “free inclusive” half day tour. My advice is to only go if you want the drive and the weather is nice and warm. Then you can take a packed lunch and sit outside. If it is wet and cold then you won’t see anything at, on or from the Cairngorm and will only get fleeced in the Heather Centre. Finally, if you doubt this, then go onto Heather Centre.com website and click on the second down - headed ”Awards”. You will see that they have won 9 (as at Feb 2013) but the most recent is in 2003 – this speaks volumes.

  • Visited February 2013
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
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    • Food
4 Thank pensioner1936
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
HeatherCentre, Owner at Speyside Heather Centre, responded to this review, March 15, 2013
Dear pensioner 1936
Gee Whizz as you say, someone got out the wrong side of the bed this morning!!
Thank you for taking the time to leave your expressive review of our centre.
We realise that all visitors to this beautiful part of the world, which we are rightly proud of, have various expectations and varying tastes in experiences and we are genuinely surprised and disappointed that you feel this way.
We have many regular local visitors but some of our visitors are brought to our Centre by Coach Tour operators who value The Centre as a worthwhile addition to their itinerary. I’m not sure where your anger comes from but I can tell by the tone of your review that you were not exactly enamoured by the coach tour experience. This unfortunately means visitors that would not normally be drawn to visit The Centre are brought here without choice, this we cannot help, but we do try to make the visit as appealing to the broadest spectrum.
Unfortunately, we do not have 15 million heathers here at the centre but during the summer months we can stock up to 300 varieties of beautiful flowering heathers, a favourite with gardeners as they are excellent for ground cover, easy maintenance and colour throughout the year as well as every other plant suitable for this area.
At this point we would like to announce that contrary to the comments made we have continued to receive awards including 4 Stars from Visit Scotland and Gold Star Green Tourism in 2012 neither of which are awarded lightly.
The Centre continues to provide a range of facilities that are completely free to the general public. These include 3 outdoor squirrel and bird watch areas and indoor live video screen for viewing in inclement weather, small show garden, albeit more interesting in the summer) child play area, gallery with exhibits from local artists and seating throughout the garden centre.
We also have seating in front of 3 of our 4 fires for visitors to enjoy in cold weather and of course toilet facilities that are used many times by non customers.
Regarding the Restaurant, we do not feel that £1.50 for a pot of tea with unlimited top ups, a large bowl of freshly made soup with bread & croutons @ £3.60 or locally sourced haddock with french fries, handmade coleslaw & salad @ £7.50 are overpriced.
The Centre also boasts a unique exhibition on the historical uses and importance of heather to Scotland in 12 different languages, created at considerable expense and is an optional service at a very nominal charge of 50p
The stock in the shop reflects what we believe the customer expects and would like to purchase and varies from inexpensive but hopefully tasteful souvenirs to quality craft jewellery, paintings by local artists, a wide selection of accessories and much, much more. The garden shop has an extensive range of bird and wildlife products along with again a large selection of garden sundries.
Extra ropes are provided to give the squirrels a safe passage across a busy road near the centre as there were regular fatalities. The fact that they are wild obviously means that we cannot control their movements but fortunately most of our visitors are lucky enough to have a sighting at one of the many feeding areas we have situated around the woodland and in the centre itself.
We have just celebrated our 40th year in business and have survived this long by listening to customers, acting on and encouraging customer feedback and will continue to do so.
Is it too much to assume that the smile on the drivers’ face meant that he was happy in life, and that the welcome and greeting, by the owner, was actually a genuine thank you for visiting in the depths of winter?
Hopefully readers will make their own minds up about whether this review was justified.
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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