Last weekend we decided to go on one last adventure in my little car before I change it next month. We also thought it would be the perfect opportunity to tick off another place on our National Trust bucket list. We certainly haven’t made the most of our membership cards over the past few months as we have been moving house, starting new jobs and finding out we are having a baby (the first few weeks were rough – you can catch up with that here). So I rummaged around the cupboard and dug out our 2018 guide book. I flicked through the pages looking for somewhere that was just outside of South Wales.
I quickly found Dyrham Park, which is just across the bridge near Bristol and Bath. We got up early, loaded up the car with our boots, coats, hats, scarves and snacks (lots of snacks) and went on our way. As it was a Sunday it only took us about an hour to get there and we arrived just after they opened. It was so simple to get to as it’s just off the M4. Dyrham Park is free for National trust members or £12.50 each to get in. There is also a parking charge too, which is also free for National Trust members.
When we arrived we were kindly greeted by one of the staff who checked us in with our membership cards and then showed us where everything was on the map. We decided to head down to the mansion house using ‘the drive’. It was a 10 minute walk down a beautiful tree lined drive and then downhill towards the house. There is also a bus from the car park to the house if you don’t fancy walking.
We decided to have a nose around the gardens and outside grounds before heading into the luxurious 17thcentury mansion house. Now I have to admit I am not the biggest history buff – it was never one of my favourite subjects at school, but I enjoyed looking around the house and seeing the original features that have been preserved. It happened to include an oak four poster bed and mattress that was over 300 years old and cost around £320,000 in today’s money – basically it put our bed to shame.
Once we had finished exploring we decided to stop in the tea rooms for our traditional tea and scones break. Although I was a little side-tracked by a huge slab of chocolate brownie and chose that for a change. Once our tummies were full and we had warmed up a little bit, we went for a mooch around the gift shop. Now I do love a good gift shop and this one was beautiful. The stock had just been updated to include all of their Christmas gifts, hampers and decorations. It was all so beautiful. I even managed to pick up a little something to pop in my friend’s Christmas present.
After we had finished nosing around the gift shop we decided to take the longer route back to the car, which we were told was about 45 minutes. The walk was fairly easy and there are paths to stick to if you have prams, small children or if you just wanted to avoid the mud. It was a lovely walk and the views were beautiful. To be honest the walk probably would have taken us even less time, however as we were walking up the hill Ryan was chatting away to me and I just stopped dead and told him to be quiet. He looked at me confused as to why I had stopped him mid-sentence and then I pointed to a stag that had just walked out in front of us!
I quickly tried to grab my camera or phone out of my bag, but it had already started to wander off. I was absolutely gutted! The stag had wandered into the forest and I thought that would be the only chance we got it see it. We decided to veer of the path a little bit and follow the edge of the forestry. Before we knew it we had found the stag again in the forestry and he was just munching away on something to eat. This time I had my camera and phone ready to go as we stood in awe just watching him. It was an amazing experience to see one in the wild. It was incredibly tame and didn’t seem to bothered by us quietly watching him. We stood on the other side of the fence watching him wander around for a little while before heading back to the car. I still couldn’t believe what had happened, but it absolutely made my day! It certainly pays off to take the scenic route.
We thoroughly enjoyed Dryham Park and would definitely recommend it for a day out. It is a beautiful location with various walks to follow and things to see. It would be perfect to let little ones run around and use up some energy or if you just fancy a quiet wander on Sunday afternoon. However, if you do decide to go I cannot recommend the scenic route enough – just keep your eyes open for the animals!
Have you been to Dryham Park or any other National Trust site? I would love to hear your recommendations, so please leave me a comment below!