I am really enjoying revisiting National Trust properties that we’ve not visited for too many years. Places we visited as a young couple, before children. Dyrham Park is just such a place. We used to take picnics and join friends in the evenings to enjoy outdoor music concerts. It was a place we explored.
It has changed, but, as the man on the gate reassured me, the house is still in the same place. Nice to know!
Two decades ago, I remember parking right by the back of the house. Driving down the winding road. I remember the space in front of the house was awaiting restoration and was pretty unremarkable.
I can sincerely say that a couple of decades makes a big difference. We really should visit more often. He was right. The house hasn’t moved.
The car park is now near the entrance gate. There is a bus down to the house. We chose to walk, which took less than 10 minutes and gave great views on the way down. The children led the way, which meant we took the route as the crow flies, instead of the road. There are warnings that parts were steep, but we have climbed mountains, so that wasn’t going to stop us, according to the children.
I really don’t remember the deer, but there they were, everywhere, this time. When we spoke to one of the staff, he explained that the herd had been expanded over the last few decades. The herd dates back centuries with no new blood in all that time. I was surprised how laid back the deer seemed, especially as it is approaching rutting season. I encouraged the children to keep back and to stay calm. These were seriously laid back fallow deer bucks.
The front of the house is so impressive. All the more for being set in landscaped gardens.
We went into the house. The roof is being restored at the moment, so only downstairs was open. The children liked seeing the rooms set up as they would have been, but they weren’t interested in the information boards that filled some of the rooms. They did enjoy the hot chocolate taster and noted the recipe so we can make it at home.
It was the outside that really caught their attention. We explored the church, the ponds and the orchards. We helped pick up pears and put them in the provided white sacks, ready for juicing into perry.
The gardens are a mixture of formal and practical. Even on the overcast day, we enjoyed the views created by clever landscaping.
I’ll admit my favourite was the topiary head tucked in at the side of the house. Isn’t he perfect? (Wonders if I can start cutting one of my box hedges into a similar shape)
All good things have to come to an end. On the way back to the car, we took the path via the woodland play area. Not often that a deer makes itself comfortable near to where the children are playing.
Fortunately neither the children or the deer were put out.
They had fun. Walking, balancing, jumping, crawling through. Playing together. It was quite an obstacle course. They made up their own rules and played. Watching them landing in the autumn leaves, I could not have designed a better play area to end the day with.
It was a perfect autumn afternoon out. I’m glad we went back.