Places Matter | National Trust.
When Shaniah broke up for summer, we put together a bucket list for those summer days. Amongst other things exploring the local National Trust sites featured heavily on the list. Sadly nature happened, and for the most part, the weather was not on our side, and places indoors took priority.
Thankfully for us, August bank holiday weekend came with a much-needed break in the rain clouds and exploring is something that we did in the bucket loads.
Saturday (24th) we decided to take a 30 minute trip to Dyrham Park; one of the many national trusts places situated nearby.
Dyrham Park is super straightforward to get to, very well signposted and a genuinely enjoyable journey, even with the sun beaming down on us.
You cannot avoid the entrance as it is through some lovely grand gates, Shaniah instantaneously imagined that she was about to enter a princess castle, and honestly, I could see why!
The carpark was very accommodating with an overflow for peak times. Being one of the sunniest days of the summer the overflow carpark was very much in use.
Wandering the grounds of Dyrham Park.
Supplied with a map of the grounds and a nature trail booklet for Shaniah, we set off on our adventure. There were a few paths that we could choose to take, there was also a shuttle bus going to and from the 17th-century house. We decided that with the weather being as lovely as it was, we would take the longer path through the pastures.
From the minute that you take that initial step, you know that whatever you are about to experience is something special. The scenery is breathtaking. First up, we walked a trail bordered by tall trees. It felt truly enchanting. We took a few tree rubbings and carried on our way. Once we rambled a few moments more, we came to a few tree stumps that were led near the pathway. Shaniah spent a good 20 minutes playing around on the trunks, I guess you could call it natures playground? Either way, she was having the time of her life.
We walked a little longer, past some cows and deer that were grazing and made our way to the picnic area/play park. Again, Shaniah was in her element.
Within this park were numerous ride-on tractors, some climbing frames and some real static tractors which were a huge hit with adults and children alike.
One thing that Shaniah wasn’t a fan of was the “natural toilet” that was within the play park. Instead of having a flush you had to shovel some sawdust in the toilet once you had done your thing. A brilliant idea but Shaniah was put off by the flies that flew out once you lifted the toilet seat lid. This bought an end to playing at the park as we had to make our way down to the cafe to use the more modern form of
To get down to the cafe and the 17th-century home, we had to go down a somewhat steep slope. I remained rather hesitant about walking down such a large hill. However, Shaniah got down on her knees, led down and chose to roll the entire way. Her novel approach to the hill brought up loads of chats with other people who were passing through the grounds. Oh, how I wished that I could join in.
As we made our way closer, the house began to emerge from behind the hill and my word, it was truly breathtaking. I would unquestionably have been proud to have owned such a stunning home.
With toilet duties attended to, we took a trip to the cafe. This was our first time entering the areas of a National Trust site, and although the cafe menu was lovely, I found it somewhat overpriced. Coming in at close to THIRTY pounds for 1 sandwich, 3 drinks, half a jacket potato, a kids meal pack, 1 ice-cream and a brownie. We have since learnt that taking a picnic is the way to go and it’s far nicer eating within the grounds of these magnificent places rather than inside a room.
With food consumed, we gathered our things and carried on examining the grounds of Dyrham Park. We walked past large ponds, waterfalls, countless amounts of delicate blooms and a rather eye-catching church before finding the entrance to the house.
The 17th-century house
To keep the children (and adults) on their toes, in each room a key had been hidden ready for the children to seek. They were hidden on the furniture and to change things up a bit they were also hidden within some of the paintings!
We spent a good hour sauntering through the different rooms, studying all the beautiful intricate detail each room holds from ceiling to floor, and also looking for the hidden keys and just relishing the day. Once Shaniah had found all the keys, she was then able to collect her badge.
Our day was nearly coming to a close, so we chose to take a trip inside the shop before we depart as Shaniah had a gift voucher to use. There is so much for everyone within the shop. I went for some sugar-free mints in a metal case with Dyrham Park on it. Shaniah went for a cuddly cat toy, and my aircraft enthusiast of a brother went for the mints and some gliders. Everything is reasonably priced and of great quality.
With the walk taking its toll on Shaniah, we decided to take advantage of the free shuttle bus, which takes voluntary donations and travel back on up to the car park.
Dyrham Park was the perfect place for us to use our National Trust membership for the first time. Although the sun had led everyone out to the same place, it didn’t feel congested at all, not even whilst we were walking through the house. The cafe queue was quick enough and you didn’t feel as though you were treading on anyone’s toes. The grounds are truly fascinating and left us eager to use our membership again – So we did, two days later at Newark Park!