For my first Mother's Day back in 2010, Mr. TBaM took me to Dyffryn Gardens in the Vale of Glamorgan. We had a beautiful walk through the gardens pushing our little bundle in his pushchair, and it was good to revisit the site after such a long break since my last visit.
Dyffryn Gardens is a place that I'd first visited as a child with my parents, when the main house used to hold craft fayres every so often, particularly at Christmas time, and we'd wander from room to room and enjoy the immediate gardens. At the time though, things were beginning to look a little tatty, and fairly soon after the main house was closed to the public and left to fall into disrepair despite the efforts to maintain it. Visiting the venue over the past two to three years, and seeing such a stunning house boarded up, was so sad; I'd recount my memories to Mr. TBaM and sigh with nostalgia.
On Good Friday, the main house reopened finally.
January had seen the National Trust bring Dyffryn Gardens under their wing, and as a result they have spent a serious amount of money starting to restore it to the grandeur that it once knew. We visited today to take part in the National Trust Easter Egg Trail (sponsored by Cadbury's) and I will confess that I hadn't realised the house was reopening. When we registered for the Trail and were informed questions 1-4 would require us going inside, I became very excited when I realised I'd be able to actually show Mr. TBaM what I'd been waffling on about!
These photos are just a small snapshot of some of those that I took (I want to save the others for another post) but what they do show is the amazing details in the house that the Easter Egg Trail encouraged the children (and adults) to examine. Questions like 'How many people can you see in the stained glass window in the Great Hall?' and 'Are there 2, 4 or 8 swans on the ceiling of the Red Drawing Room?' really encourage visitors to view the wonders of the magnificent house. The Boy has not collapsed in that middle photo above, he's lying on the provided beanbags looking at the painted ceilings.
We spent a pleasant thirty minutes sauntering from room to room in the house (we should have only spent ten minutes as the house was actually supposed to be closed but they sneaked us in), answering the questions and enjoying the beauty of the architecture. The remaining six questions were centred around the gardens and we set out to find the answers but became distracted by all the wonderful play opportunities!
What else can you do on International Tree Climbing Day but climb a tree with an inviting split trunk? And really, the opportunity to cross off #2 on the National Trust's 50 Things To Do Before You're 11 & ¾ was too much to resist! 'Rolling down a really big hill' it was then! ('Really big' is very subjective when you're only 3 & ¾!)
It was such a pleasure to see Dyffryn Gardens on its way to being the magnificent venue that it once was, as a resident of the Vale of Glamorgan I'm very grateful to the National Trust for adopting it and making this happen. We're keeping our fingers crossed for sunny weather tomorrow again, as we want to go back and finish our Easter Egg Trail off!
We received free entry into the Gardens in order to review the Easter Egg Trail. My opinion is honest and unbiased.