An incredibly warm Thursday afternoon saw us return to another favourite haunt, Dyffryn Gardens in the Vale of Glamorgan.
Now in the safe hands of the National Trust, the house is in the process of being lovingly restored and a team of experienced gardeners are caring for the vast array of plants growing happily in the well-tended soil.
|The Children’s Play Area|
|Visitors’ Centre & Coffee Shop|
The future of the Gardens has seemed unsettled for some while, with rumours that it was going to be a 5 star hotel but losing this place as a family bolt hole with its walled gardens, arboretum and various ponds and pools would have been a real shame.
|We want to go to Bat Night!|
In past years the husband and I attended an open air performance of Puccini’s opera “La Traviata” which was magical and then there were the Halloween evenings where staff would dress up as ghosts and ghouls and leap out of the foliage to scare the happy revellers (also in fancy dress). The last time we went, a lovely lady dressed as a vampire leapt out not realising we were carrying Ieuan. Ieuan’s wails could be heard over some distance. “Eh luv,” she said, “give him to me for a cuddle”. Ieuan was having none of it. The Gardens were also a popular venue for open air Shakespeare plays and I hope that these cultural events can make a return in due course.
|Loads of room for the kids to run around|
|A gorgeous display of Heathers|
|The house at Dyffryn|
The Dyffryn Estate dates back to the 7th century when the house was then called the Manor of Worlton and was given to the Bishop Oudaceous of Llandaf. In the 16th century the Button family acquired the manor and the first house was built. In 1891 the estate was sold to John Cory, an extremely wealth coal merchant who built the present house in 1893. In its somewhat chequered history, the estate has also been used as a police academy, a dog training centre and an education conference facility.
Now that the Gardens belong to the National Trust, however, entrance is free only for members so we have taken out a family membership at £86 for the four of us for a year. Local National Trust properties to us include Dyffryn and Tredegar House but there is a wealth of National Trust properties in the UK, particularly in our favourite holiday county of Devon. At roughly £7 per month, I think this is excellent value. Otherwise, the cost for a family of four is around £21.
I love Dyffryn because it has space for the kids to run free in a relatively safe environment. There are so many nooks and crannies ideal for games of hide ‘n’ seek or picnics.
There is a play area for younger kids just outside the Visitors’ Reception and Gift Shop, plenty of toilets and a good coffee shop. There is also ample parking.
We are hoping for a long hot summer in which we can spend many a lazy evening in the secluded tranquillity of Dyffryn Gardens.
Further information can be found at www.nationaltrust.org.uk/dyffryn-gardens including opening times and prices for non National Trust members.