Shropshire Star

Challenge Dan: Tee time and a butty in Eccleshall for under £20

Santa Claus is coming to town folks, and the spirit of the season is well and truly in the air.


Watch more of our videos on Shots!
and live on Freeview channel 276

With this, we’re all chomping at the bit to enjoy as much fun out and about as possible, but right now many of us are very cash conscious.

Help is here however, dear readers. As ever, Weekend Towers is proud to showcase how you can enjoy the delights of the region while sticking to a budget, and it was time this week to send Dan Dan The Man Who Can out on another mission...

I love a day out, and I love a bargain. Happily I knew exactly where I could enjoy both, and take in a healthy dose of festive magic at the same time.

A medieval market town with more charm than you could shake a stick at, Eccleshall is one of the region’s finest gems.

Picturesque and inviting, this Staffordshire town is not far from the Shropshire border, and offers a wonderful day out, whether you are looking for culinary excitement, retail therapy, or something fun to do with the little ‘uns.

Armed with my crisp £20 note, I was confident that the beautiful and bountiful Eccleshall would deliver on providing me with a fun-filled activity and a lovely bit of warming tucker without breaking my budget, and I knew just where to begin...

Fletchers Family Garden Centre – Crazy golf and wildlife centre

Dan Morris tries out the crazy golf course at Fletchers Family Garden Centre

A beloved institution of the town, Fletchers Family Garden Centre has been delighting the young and old of Eccleshall for decades.

However, though the business is a proud purveyor of all your gardening needs, don’t be fooled that this is where it stops. Fletchers is also home to a range of family-friendly attractions including a crazy golf course and a fantastic children’s play park.

At this time of year, this treasured garden centre also boasts a fantastic emporium of Christmas goods – from decorations to stocking fillers of all sizes – and anyone looking for a few last-minute deal-sealers could do a lot worse than dropping in.

Looking for a bit of fun that would get the blood, brain and laughing gear going however, for me today it was all about the crazy golf. The course has been part of the furniture at Fletchers for a long time, and I was keen to test my skill against its formidable range of obstacles. I’m going to blame the chill in the air and the fact that my back has seen better days since my last visit, but suffice to say that Rory, Tiger and the rest have nothing to fear from me. Still, plenty of laughs were had with a cheeky putt on Fletchers’ green, and at the price of only £1.50 per player, this truly was a bargain bit of fun.

It is worth while mentioning that visitors to Fletchers can also enjoy the wonders of the Gentleshaw Wildlife Centre – a small sanctuary for exotic animals and birds of prey.

As well as a hospital unit for the treatment of wild raptors, the centre is home to over 30 different species of bird of prey, primate, reptile and invertebrate. Though the animals were sleeping during our visit, I will certainly be making a marked point of returning during opening hours. At only £5 for an adult ticket, this is a lovely attraction that doesn’t break the bank and lets you get up-close with some of nature’s greatest treasures.

The Little George – Breakfast sandwich and a frothy coffee

Dan Morris with Tracy Slack from The Little George, Eccleshall

After a vigorous round of crazy golf, my appetite was in overdrive, and so it was time to visit one of Eccleshall’s renowned eateries for a bit of sustenance.

A fabulous brewhouse trading in a range of warm beverages, delicious food and a selection of fine beers, wine and spirits, The Little George is one of Eccleshall’s most popular hostelries, and is always home to a thriving crowd.

Having heard tell of this award-winning venue’s delectable breakfast offerings, I made my way to the bar and ordered a sumptuous bacon and sausage sandwich, along with a well-earned large latte – all in for £9.15.

Taking in The Little George’s festive ambiance, it wasn’t long before my tucker was brought forth, and boy did it hit the spot. The bacon and sausage were cooked to perfection, and served between beautiful, soft white bread that was to die for. My latte certainly did the job of warming the cockles, and my meal was also served with a complimentary mince pie. This was a lovely Christmas touch that sealed the deal on a cracking bite to eat, and a smashing day out in general.

A real Christmas cracker...

As I knew she would, Eccleshall delivered on all fronts. With a fun-filled morning of crazy golf only having set me back £1.50, and a nice, indulgent breakfast at The Little George in the bag for £9.15, a lovely time was had for only £10.65 – way within my £20 budget. Had I also bumped up my day with a visit to the Gentleshaw Wildlife Centre, this would only have increased expenditure to £15.65 – still within the allotted £20.

My day out in Eccleshall only scratched the surface of what this town has to offer, and with a wealth of bars, cafes, restaurants and much more still to explore, Challenge Dan will certainly be making a return here in the new year. For now, I’m going to simply say cheers and thank you to all staff at Fletchers and The Little George; another challenge successfully completed with some lovely help – job’s a good ‘un!

Sorry, we are not accepting comments on this article.