Located just outside Bath, Dyrham Park is a beautiful estate perfect for a family day out.
Set in 270 acres of ancient parkland and home to a historic herd of fallow deer who roam freely, there is always lots to see and do. Even if you have visited many times, it’s always worth another visit.
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Over the next couple of years, there will be even more to see as Dyrham Park is going through some major changes, including improvements to the house, bringing to life the 17th-century elements of the garden and adding better customer facilities.
Our first stop was to head straight for the stunning mansion house, which over the Christmas period was beautifully decorated with festive foliage including orange, spices, cinnamon, pine cones and lavender – my children were so impressed that they’ve insisted we do the same for our house next Christmas.
The house has a 17th-century feel about it, although it was built many hundred years prior. It was acquired by William Blathwayt through marriage and as we explored the house we were treated to some of his collection of artworks, furniture and Dutch Delftware.
For lunch, we took advantage of the warm winter sun and found a wooden bench in the Sphynx Court to enjoy our picnic. However, there are always the options of the tea room or garden kiosk. Appetites satisfied, it was time to stretch our legs and explore the stunning gardens.
An area which we’d not explored much were the terraces and a more natural part of the gardens, near St Peter’s Church.
Ideal for bird spotting, my son thought this was the perfect location to build a pretend campfire while my daughter decided that the best way to attract the birds was to find some food for them.
Our bird spotting skills were limited to seeing one friendly robin.
Although my son wasn’t pleased with having to leave his campfire, we continued our walk around the gardens. Past the avenue and the pool gardens to the garden’s nut walk, which was decorated with brightly coloured ribbons, and finally through the Nichol’s Orchard.
We had left just enough time to grab a hot chocolate before heading to hear some 17th-century stories.
Volunteers were dressed as 17th-century servants and ready to entertain the children with their creative tales. We were treated to King Edmund and the Golden Apple, How the Hedgehog was Made and The Viking’s Gold.
The children were in awe of the storytellers as they captured imaginations with their tales. Plus, they loved the fact that it was audience participation; my two never miss an opportunity to get involved.
It was a lovely end to a charming family day out.
Entry to Dyrham Park’s house and garden costs £13.50 for adults and £6.75 for children, while annual National Trust membership starts from £69. Find out more at www.nationaltrust.org.uk/dyrham-park
Main photo by Maria Newman
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