|Dyffryn Gardens National Trust Entrance with the playground and cafe on the right|
We arrived early and the car park was quite empty. There were squeals of delight coming from the children playing in the playground. We had a quick look as we walked by but the equipment was a little too big for a 17 month old so we carried on over a little stream into the shop/reception.
We are members of the National Trust so entry for us was free but looking at the prices on the door it seemed a tad expensive, £7.80 per adult and £3.90 per child, children under 5 go free.
We were greeted by a friendly face who offered two plates of food to try. They were made from recipes from their cookbook and the chocolate cake was amazing!
|Lots of lovely plants for sale|
The gardens are behind a Victorian Mansion house that is open to the public but today was all about exploring the gardens. The gardens are made up of themed Edwardian "rooms", a glasshouse, Arboretum and lawns. Too much to see in one day for a toddler so we just followed Bears lead and went where he took us.
|Map with the garden rooms on the right|
|A stick and a tree stump! Toddler Paradise.|
We walked down the long drive and around to the back of the house where there are fantastic views across the croquet lawn.
|Long walk past the rockery towards the house and gardens|
|View across croquet lawn|
|Terrace at back of the house|
There is so much for a toddler to do. Splash in puddles; look down drains; admire a man on a bull; discover gateways and steps; wander paths; play in the fountain.
|More toddler delights. Wellies and a puddle.|
|Bear doesn't need mansions or lawns to make him happy - a drain will do.|
|Bear loved the bronze statue and that little fence did not keep him away for long!|
|Places to explore.|
|Bear mimicking the birds that were abundant in this spot.|
|No fishes but fascinating anyway|
|Seating with soft cushions in my favourite garden room - the Pompeian Garden|
|View from the cushioned seats. The sun was so warm we could almost have been in Pompeii|
|Lots of seating for the weary|
|A wire globe and paths that make you want to wander|
|Each garden room has stunning views towards the next|
|Looking back past the vine walk|
|A bit of fun around every corner but Bear was in his buggy as he was too tired now to walk|
|The side of the mansion house glimpsed through the yew trees|
|The rear of the house from the vine walk|
For the gardeners there are huge herbaceous beds and magnificent trees. The scent of the Sarcococca confusa - scented box filled the air although the flowers are so insignificant we had to search for the shrub.
|The scent from this Sarcococca confusa - Sweet box; just filled the gardens|
|A wisteria with a poem|
|Even some poetry|
|A magnificent oak|
|A magnificent Scots Pine clinging onto the rockery|
|A magnificent Yew tree|
We left feeling relaxed and happy. Bear thought he still had energy to run away but he was truly worn out and fell asleep in the car just as we got home.
|Bear thinks he has energy left.....|
|........but he doesn't. (Reflections as this picture was taken through the window once parked at home)|
There is so much to this wonderful place that you could easily spend the day here. There are a lot of steps and some open, unfenced water but the gardens are magnificent and we will be back often.
Do you have a favourite National Trust place that you love to visit?
*We have held National Trust membership since May 2015. We paid for it ourselves and will be renewing again this year.