Coffee Shop Changes on April 12th

We are delighted that, due to further relaxation of COVID-19 restrictions on Monday April 12th, we will be opening up some of our coffee shops once more. To make sure we are able to operate safely and within COVID-19 guidelines, our coffee shops will be open as below:

From Monday April 12th our Ottery St Mary and Plymouth coffee shops will be offering a takeaway only service everyday, this will be a limited menu including cakes and hot drinks. The opening hours will be: Ottery St Mary – 9am to 4pm Monday – Sunday. Plymouth – 9am to 5pm  Monday to Saturday, 10.30am – 4pm on Sundays.

At our Lymington, Taunton and Jack’s Patch coffee shops we will be offering takeaway and outdoor seating. The opening times at these coffee shops will be 9am to 5pm Monday to Saturday, 10:30am to 4pm on Sundays.  A limited menu will be available to order.

Unfortunately, at this time, our coffee shops at Wincanton and Torbay centres will remain closed. We hope to be able to re-open these in May subject to further updates to COVID-19 guidelines. We are sorry for the inconvenience this may cause to our customers in Wincanton and Torbay.

Any updates will be posted here on our website and our social media pages.

Before you visit, please visit our COVID-19 Coffee Shop FAQ.

We’d like to thank all customers for their patience whilst our coffee shops have been closed, and we very much look forward to seeing you soon.

New Spring 2021 Magazine

Seeds by Post – Call our Hotline Today!

Buy your Seeds through our phone hotline!

Whilst we are in lockdown we want to help ensure you can be ready with your seeds for the new gardening season. Following the success of our Seeds by Post service introduced during the March 2020 lockdown, we have reopened our Seed Hotline service again.

Whether you are new to sowing seeds or an experienced gardener you can call our dedicated team members via the hotline. During the call, they will help you choose from our wide range of seed packets. Payment will be made by phone and the seeds will be posted out to your home address by Royal Mail. It’s a great way to ensure you have all your seeds ready to sow for this season!

Postage and Packing costs £1.50 per envelope. Depending on the seeds chosen, we can usually fit 4-6 packets in one envelope – our team will be able to give you the exact postage cost when you call. We are sorry but we can only post to addresses in the UK.

We have excellent stock of all seeds including vegetables, salad, herbs, summer bedding, flower seeds (perfect for pollinators) and much more. We’re unable to list all the seeds we have in stock as we have hundreds and hundreds to choose from!  If you need help chosing veg and salad seeds, click on the link for more information Seed Sowing Guide

Brands include Thompson & Morgan, Johnsons, Mr Fothergill’s, Mr Fothergill’s David Domoney range and Mr Fothergill’s RHS range. We also have a choice of seeds suitable for children including Thompson & Morgan’s Mr Men & Little Miss range. This year may be the ideal time to introduce the younger generation to gardening and the joys of seed sowing!

This service is operated by our Ottery St Mary Garden Centre specialised seed team.

The seed hotline is open between 10am and 4pm Monday to Friday

Please call 01404 815 815, choose option 1, and ask for the “SEED HOTLINE”

If you can’t get through, please try later in the day. NB the service is not available at the weekend.

Happy Sowing and Growing from all the Otter Team!

Not sure which seeds to choose?

If you’d like to start seed sowing whilst you are at home but not sure which seeds to buy, we can help you!

By clicking on the link at the bottom you’ll find a helpful chart which provides excellent information on seed sowing and harvesting times, along with a guide on which seeds can be sown directly outdoors into the soil, and which need to be started inside.

Happy Sowing & Growing from Otter!

Please click below :-

Seed Sowing Guide

Wincanton branch supports Yeovil Freewheelers

Thank you to generous Wincanton customers!

2020 was a very difficult year in terms of fundraising for our chosen charities, as we were unable to hold any special events as we usually do. However, customers were still able to donate to collecting tins in the garden centre.

So we’d like to give a heartfelt thank you to our Wincanton customers who helped the branch raise over £430 for the Yeovil Freewheelers charity.

As an emergency volunteer service, Yeovil Freewheelers supports Yeovil District Hospital, Dorset County Hospital and the community hospitals across the region by providing emergency courier services for blood, platelets, blood and tissue samples, medication, breast milk, documents, X rays, CT scans, and equipment.

The service operates 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, saving the NHS around £200,000 a year while easing patients’ suffering and helping to save lives.

The charity receives no funding from either national or local government relying instead on donors, sponsors, businesses and individuals.

Our Wincanton branch has supported the charity for several years and has decided to continue supporting Yeovil Freewheelers during 2021. If you would like to make your own donation visit:

Santa Claus is planning to come to Ottery St Mary!

We have spoken with Santa and are delighted to announce that he is planning a festive drive-by in his sleigh through the roads and past the houses in Ottery St Mary on Tuesday 22nd December. He has checked with his “Elf & Safety” Team and can confirm that it is within the covid safety guidelines for him spread Christmas cheer and wave to all of the children in the town from his sleigh.


According to our sources at the North Pole, Santa is hoping to see friendly waves and smiling faces as he rides on his sleigh through the town tomorrow evening. He has asked for you all to please stay warm and safe in your homes. Keep your ears open for the sound of his festive tunes as he approaches your road and keep your eyes peeled through your windows to spot him passing your home. When you see Santa please give him a big wave from your front door or from your window.


Santa will be touring through the town from approximately 5.30pm until 6.30pm.

His route will hopefully cover Butts Road area, Ridgeway area, Chineway area, Slade Road area, Primary School area, between 5.30pm and 6pm.

Followed by Winters Lane area, Millcroft area, Mill Street, Thorne Farm Way area and Claremont Field area between 6pm and 6.30pm.


Santa has asked that if you would like to make a donation to show your appreciation for his drive-by through Ottery, please make a donation to any charity of your choice to support those in need this Christmas.


Each year the Rotary Club arrange with Santa for him to visit many towns before Christmas to raise money for charity and see all the local children. This year it has not been possible for them to arrange this event and the team at Otter are pleased to be able to organise this Santa sleigh drive-by in place of this.


*We want to ensure that everyone remains safe and well for Christmas Day and that all Covid-19 guidelines remain adhered to. Please do not approach Santa’s sleigh, venture on to the pavements, or gather in groups. Santa’s sleigh is quite large and it may not be possible for him to manoeuvre through every street. He will do his best to pass as many homes as possible, but to avoid disappointment it may be a good idea to wait until you hear the festive music or see the sleigh before you tell your children.

Cooking Up Christmas Cheer for the Local Community

In a show of Christmas spirit, our MD Jacqui Taylor is helping to make sure that no-one in the nearby community of Ottery St Mary will go short of a festive meal on Christmas Day.

With the annual free Christmas lunch in the town unable to take place due to the pandemic, Jacqui and her team of willing helpers at Otter Garden Centre will provide a roast turkey dinner complete with a Christmas cracker and mince pie to the elderly, infirm, isolated or anyone otherwise in need, at no cost. The meal will be freshly cooked and delivered at lunchtime on December 25.

Jacqui says, “It’s been such a hard year for everyone but especially so for older people and those who have had to shield – there has been so much isolation and loneliness. Many don’t have family to care for them, whilst for others their family members live a long distance away or in a higher tier, so they are not able to visit this Christmas.”

“We really do believe Christmas is a time for giving and for showing that we care. With this small gesture we hope that the most vulnerable and lonely in our community will know that we are thinking of them.”

The meals, which will be freshly prepared by our restaurant team, will include roast turkey and all the trimmings – roast potatoes, fresh vegetables, stuffing, pigs in blankets and gravy, plus the all-important homemade mince pie to finish.

Jacqui has enlisted several family members who together with the “Ottery Community Volunteer Group” and other volunteers from Ottery will be putting off their own celebrations until later on Christmas Day in order to make the deliveries and ensure the food arrives piping hot and on time.

Family, friends and neighbours are encouraged to nominate anyone they think should be included. Former mayor Glyn Dobson and the Ottery Help Scheme are putting the list together. Glyn says that he has received requests from family members living hundreds of miles for their elderly parents to receive a meal.

To nominate someone for a meal, contact Glyn 01404 813403 and at  or Emily at the Ottery Help Scheme 01404 813041 and at



Otter Elves raise money for Brain Tumour Charity

It was “hi-ho hi-ho” all the way as a number of our team members in Ottery St Mary dressed as festive elves and cycled, jogged and walked to work at Otter in memory of Ottery colleague Rob Gillingham, who passed away from a brain tumour earlier this year.

The elves were fundraising for Brain Tumour Support, a charity that helps those affected by any type of brain tumour, not just patients, but also their families, friends and carers.

Karl Baker cycled from Exeter

We were delighted that a total of 43 team members dressed up and took part in the event that took place on Friday 3rd December. They were given a surprise to find the big man, Santa waiting at the garden centre to meet them, along with mince pies and hot drinks to warm up and thank them for their efforts. Many of the team also carried on with their elf antics throughout the day, remaining in costume to the delight of customers visiting the garden centre.

Otter Garden Centres Managing Director Jacqui Taylor took part by wearing an elf outfit and cycling into work through Ottery St Mary. She got behind the fundraiser on behalf of the business by pledging a £50 donation for each of the team members who took part, adding £2,150 to the pot. Jacqui said:

“Rob was a valued, popular member of our team, and well known as the driver of our grotto’s ‘Santa Express’ train each year; it’s an honour to fundraise in his memory.

“Although our grotto isn’t open this year due to the pandemic, seeing so many elves at the garden centre really gave everyone a boost of festive cheer!”

Volunteer fundraiser from Brain Tumour Support, Jeanette Hackwell who organised a collection on the day added: “It was such a successful day and a lasting tribute to Rob.

“The funds raised will go a long way to keeping the charity active, especially after the impact of Covid-19.”

Helen Patterson with Elves, Sally, Lauren, Sally and Wendy

Jeanette and her team, all of whom have or have had brain tumours, collected £250 generous garden centre customers, swelling the total further. Another brain tumour survivor Helen Patterson (pictured right with her bike), the inspiration behind the fundraiser, cycled 30 miles to the garden centre in her elf outfit, raising over £500

which she split between Brain Tumour Support and Alzheimer’s Society.

Together with the amount raised by the festive Otter elves and the collection on the day, the total raised so far for Brain Tumour Support is well over £3,500.

There is still time to make a donation by visiting the JustGiving page

Town centre lights up with Otter-grown tree

Christmas has come to Ottery St Mary and we are delighted to have been asked to donate a beautiful, home grown Christmas tree again this year.

Our team from Otter, Ottery St Mary delivered and set up the tree in its traditional spot, outside the library in Silver Street. We were extremely grateful to Ottery resident Richard Coley who always makes sure a tree goes up every year for his help in decorating the tree, and we appreciate his time to help add

the baubles and twinkling fairy lights. Our Branch Manager John Giblin was there to make sure that everything went to plan and the tree looked the best it has ever looked to bring added festive cheer to the town.

The tree is a beautiful 10 year old Nordman Fir, a variety with a low needle drop so we know it will look its best throughout the festive season. It’s from our own range of Christmas trees grown less than two miles from the town, so very much locally sourced!

For each Christmas tree we cut down we plant two new ones, meeting our sustainable aims. Our Christmas tree growing area also provides shelter and food for wildlife, including bees from beehives kept there which use the pollen to feed their larvae.

After the season, the tree will be recycled through the local council’s recycling scheme.


Elf Sparkle Cycle Day Fundraiser December 4th

Elf Sparkle Cycle Day fundraiser in memory of former Santa Express driver

You may see some of our Ottery St Mary team members dressed as elves on the local roads around our garden centre this Friday!  A large group of our team members are rallying round with a seasonal fundraiser in memory of their colleague Rob Gillingham.

Sadly Rob, described by colleagues as a kind, lovely man, passed away from a brain tumour earlier this year. He was well known for his annual stint as the Santa Express driver, ferrying families to and from our popular grotto.

The idea for the fundraiser came from Helen Patterson, who has worked at the grotto as an elf! Helen also had a brain tumour which was removed in 2017, leaving her with a titanium plate in her skull and an eyelid that won’t open. Her plan is to cycle from Exeter to the garden centre in Ottery dressed as an elf to raise money for Brain Tumour Support and Alzheimer’s Society.

She says, “I was so disappointed not to be an elf this year that I thought this would be a great way to dress up and raise money at the same time!”

The Ottery team got on board by loaning Helen her elf costume from the grotto wardrobe. Then they started thinking about how they could help more.

Branch manager, John Giblin explains, “We realised we could join in with the fundraising for Brain Tumour Support in memory of our colleague Rob so we started encouraging staff members to get involved.

“We now have more than 40 signed up to cycle, walk or run to work dressed as elves. It’s a great way to use of our elf costumes to bring some festive cheer as we’re unable to run our grotto this year.”

Helen adds, “I’m thrilled that so many people from Otter are getting behind the charity – out of something sad has come something good.”

The event has been named ‘Elf Sparkle Cycle Day’ to reflect events being run by Brain Tumour Support and Alzheimer’s Society.

Volunteers from Brain Tumour Support will be with us in Ottery all day to raise money and encourage donations on the JustGiving page.

The team are hoping to raise over £1,000 for the charity!

To donate, visit the JustGiving page

For more information about Brain Tumour Support visit