Visiting Dobbies Morpeth Soft Play & Garden Centre with Under 5s

Dobbies Morpeth (or Heighley Gate) is one of our favourite garden centres. It has a large free car park, an aquatics centre, soft play for little ones, cafe, restaurants and lots of lovely plants / shopping opportunities. 

Thanks to Bethanie from Girl About Northumberland for their help with this article and my lovely readers for sharing soft play photos. Over the Bethanie......

Visiting Dobbies Morpeth Soft Play & Garden Centre with Under 5s
Credit : Claire Guy 

It may sound strange, but I have very fond memories of visiting our local garden centre when I was younger. There was always so much to look at and usually involved a trip to the café and playpark.

Now I am a parent myself, I can be found taking my own children to the local garden centre on a weekend or during the school holidays, just for fun! Our nearest one is Dobbies, Morpeth. 

Or as some of you may remember it: Heighley Gate. This post is sharing what to expect when visiting Dobbies Garden Centre with a toddler. 

Dobbies Garden Centre, North East.

Dobbies have stores all over the country including a store in Northern Ireland. They offer more than just a garden centre with departments in homeware, outdoor furniture, toys and garden machinery. Team members making up the horticulture team are fully trained and qualified to offer expert gardening advice.

There are four Dobbies across the North East and they can be found in Morpeth, Ponteland, Gosforth and Birtley, Chester-le-street. 

I have left the links to each one at the bottom of this post for ease when planning your trip out. Contact numbers and special events can be found on their websites as it always helps to plan your trip out when visiting with a toddler. Like taking a peek at the restaurant menu etc. 

Dobbies, Morpeth.

Visiting Dobbies Morpeth Soft Play & Garden Centre with Under 5s

Many years ago, when I was at school, Heighley Gate was my weekend job, so I came to know the store pretty well. In fact, I ended up working there for six years and still visit frequently despite it now being owned by Dobbies. 

No matter what time of year you are visiting there is always something seasonal on in the displays around the garden centre. I love that the displays change seasonally and as you enter through the main doors you are often greeted by a wonderful display. The kids will love that there is already so much to look at upon arrival.  

Credit : Girl About Northumberland 

My favourite time of year to visit is around Christmas as it looks lovely and festive and quite often there will be special events being held such as Christmas markets. 

As you make your way through the displays, head towards the aquatic department, (Maiden Head Aquatics). Here you can feed the fish for £1 and spend some time looking at the rows of tanks filled with a variety of tropical fish. Make sure you also head outside for the outdoor tanks, where the slightly bigger fish can be found. 

As you leave the aquatic department and start to make your way down towards the restaurant, you will pass the Dinosaur Encounter crazy golf. At the time of writing this post, the golf is temporarily closed but will hopefully be reopening soon. Even if it is closed during your visit, the kids will still love looking at the large dinosaurs as you can spot them from far off. 

A fab alternative is this Pirate themed crazy golf in Morpeth. 

Visiting Dobbies Morpeth Soft Play & Garden Centre with Under 5s

Head down to the soft play and restaurant where you will find a variety of hot and cold snacks, breakfast or lunch deals on offer. They also do a lunch box deal for kids at a cost of £5.20 which includes a drink, sandwich and three items of choice and a piece of fruit. As well as the lunch box deal, there is also a children’s menu offering hot food.

Visiting Dobbies Morpeth Soft Play & Garden Centre with Under 5s  - kids restaurant menu

Alternatively, if you visit after 12 noon, you can take advantage of their Dine & Play Deal

It is worth noting that there are only soft plays at the Morpeth and Gosforth centres.  Soft play costs £3 for a 60 minute session (pay on arrival) but this can be reduced to £2.50 for Dobbies plus members. (Something else I recommend taking out if you are planning on visiting regularly. As well as earning points you also receive two free hot drinks vouchers a month. The real reason I have the membership…)

Find out more and sign up to Dobbies Plus here (it is £12 per year). 

I enjoy coming to the soft play at Dobbies Garden Centre as it is usually quiet and perfect for smaller children. Also, it is a great place to meet up with a friend, as you can catch up over a cup of coffee while the kids play in the secure soft play. 

Credit : Leanne Colpitts (Morpeth Soft Play)

Visiting Dobbies Morpeth Soft Play & Garden Centre with Under 5s
Credit : Claire Guy  (Morpeth Soft Play)

Visiting Dobbies Morpeth Soft Play & Garden Centre with Under 5s
Credit : Claire Guy (Morpeth Soft Play)

Credit : Dot Invarity (Gosforth Soft Play)

Credit : Dot Invarity (Gosforth Soft Play)

When everyone has been fed and watered, walk back through to the main shop and stop by the toy section where there is a range of toys from popular board games to Lego and soft toys. 

Toilets and baby change are located in the main shop as well as in the restaurant area. 

There is also a small play area with outdoor seating by the coffee shop. The outdoor area is free to visit and perfect for the warmer weather. 

We also love the huge fruit and veg stall by the exit. 

Breakfast with Santa.

Just as a side note, the breakfast with Santa is always a popular event at Dobbies and is a lovely little event where the kids and adults eat their breakfast sat at festively decorated tables. There are craft activities and then a meeting with the big man himself. 

Garden Centre concessions:

Within Dobbies Garden Centres you will find a range of concessions which add to your shopping experience. Dobbies Morpeth has partnered with Sainsburys so you can pick up a few bits for tea while you are entertaining your toddler. What a day out! 

Visit Dobbies:




Birtley, Chester-lee-street:

Dogs are allowed in some Dobbies stores and the restaurant area has a designated seating area for dogs. (So don’t be alarmed to see one sitting at a table.)

Check out our other local soft play reviews below: 

The Fun Zone Durham Review 

Round the Twist Benton Review 

Dobbies Soft Play Review 

CJ's Jungle Cramlington Review 

Gigglewicks Role Play Centre Cramlington Review 

The Fun Shack Newcastle Review 

Dobbies Morpeth is just off A697 and is super easy to get to via the A1. Postcode NE61 3DA. 


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