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The History of Beetham Nurseries

Beetham Nurseries is a family-run, independent Garden Centre and Growing Nursery based in south Cumbria. Established in 1984, we have a rich history! Read more below about our growth over the years and how we have become the site you see and visit today. 

The Beginning


Stephen & Lesley Abbit founded the business which consisted of just a small field, a humble polytunnel, a stand pipe and a portaloo.

Stephen still remembers their first day, "We had a few customers, locked up and left the money in a bag on the wall! Luckily, a local found it and returned it to us when we opened the following day!"

The First Covered Retail Area


In 1986 the first covered retail area was built: a glasshouse that housed plants.

Small Outdoor Covered Area Built


In 1989, an additional small outdoor covered area was built: several polytunnels housed compost and gardening materials.


The Beetham Tea Room Was Built


Plants have always been at the very forefront of the business and to this day, this hasn't changed. However, in 2001 the need for diversification was recognised.

In order to keep up with visitor demand and to compete with similar businesses in the area, the Beetham Tea Room was built. This consisted of a small building which, at full capacity, seated approximately 40 people. 


Silver-Gilt Winners at the RHS Tatton Park Flower Show


In 2002, we were delighted to be awarded a Silver-Gilt medal at the RHS Tatton Park Flower Show.


Gold Medal Winners at the RHS Tatton Park Flower Show


In 2003, we were delighted to be awarded a gold medal at the RHS Tatton Park Flower Show.

RHS Gold Medal at the RHS Tatton Park Flower Show


Following the success of the previous year, in 2004, we were awarded a gold medal at the RHS Tatton Park Flower Show for our exhibit, 'A Garden For Otium'. This beautiful garden was constructed from Lakeland slate by Andrew Loudon

The Gift Shop Was Built


In 2005, in place of the polytunnels that housed compost and gardening materials, the Gift Shop was built. This added an additional dimension to the business, which provided visiting customers with a more fulfilling experience. 

At the same time, new office space, a kitchen and a new staff area was built to accommodate the needs of the growing number of staff.

Gold Medal Winners at the RHS Tatton Park Flower Show


In 2008, we were awarded a Gold Medal at the RHS Tatton Park Flower Show for 'The Lake District Poet's Garden'.

The garden was designed by Beetham Nurseries in conjunction with Andrew Loudon and sponsored by: The Coppermines and Lake Cottages; Beetham Nurseries; Honister Slate Mine; Windermere Attractions; The Lake District Historic Houses Association; Cumbria Tourism; and the RHS Tatton Park Flower Show.

The Garden Cafe Was Built


In 2010, to cope with the overwhelming demand placed on the Beetham Tearoom, The Garden Cafe was built. A bright, airy space featuring full length sliding glass doors that bring the outside in on those warm sunny days, the fully licensed venue soon became very popular with our customers, and also doubled up as an evening venue for popular events. Many of our events are now held here, from flamboyant floral demonstrations to talks on vegetables, bees and bonsai.  

The old Beetham Tearoom was converted into the Garden Food Shop; and now is the delicious Wood Fired Kitchen, offering an array of delicious food throughout the day.

The Garden Club Was Launched


In 2013, the Garden Club was launched in order to give something back to the number of loyal customers who frequently visit us. Members are rewarded for their loyalty with points that can be redeemed against future purchases; exclusive monthly Garden Club offers; and a newsletter providing useful information including seasonal gardening tips, company news, future events and competitions.

If you'd like to find out more about The Garden Club, click here. 

The Growing Nursery Was Built


In 2014, to mark our 30th anniversary year, The Growing Nursery was built.

The Growing Nursery provides access to our specialist growing area. It's a traditional retail plant nursery where you will find an ever-changing selection of plants that are all grown at Beetham Nurseries; they are always interesting, unusual or specialist and offer the highest quality at exceptionally good value for money.

To find out more about The Growing Nursery, click here. 

The Glasshouse Was Built


The Glasshouse was built: originally intended as a space to provide workshops, it soon became an area to feature the Conservatory Collection - our newest collection of unusual, rare and interesting plants that are perfect for the greenhouse or conservatory.

New Parking Area


Due to demand, land was converted into a new car parking area to accommodate an additional 170 cars.

The Garden Club now has over 10,000 members! 

New Undercover Shopping Area


A new outdoor canopy was constructed to increase undercover retail space. Drainage was also added for phase one of our proposed new retail development.

“From initial staff levels of 5 people, Beetham Nurseries now employs over 60 people from the local and surrounding areas.“

Our New Home & Lifestyle Space


End of April 2018 and we're putting the finishing touches to our new home & lifestyle space. A bright and airy space offering a range of outdoor furniture, barbecues, homewares, gifts and lifestyle products.

The Garden Food Shop is Relocated


Moving the Garden Food Shop into the new Home & Lifestyle Shop has allowed us to increase our offering of quality local produce. We now stock a range of fresh fruit and veg; still offer freshly baked goods such as pastries and bread; and continue to support local producers. 

The Wood Fired Kitchen


Work was begun on the renovation of the Old Tearooms to bring a brand new and exciting food venture to Beetham. 

The Wood Fired Kitchen will offer locally sourced, high quality ingredients cooked on a wood fired oven in an open kitchen environment.

Lower Car Park Gets a Makeover


Work has begun on the lower car park (near to the main entrance) to resurface it with tarmac following feedback from our customers. It will also include disabled parking bays to make it easier for customers to access the Garden Centre.