Dyrham Park National Trust

Dyrham Park National Trust

Dyrham Park is large deer park with a Baroque/Palladian style house at the centre of the property. The venue is centred around the house at the bottom of a hill where there are gardens, a shop and café. The great thing about Dyrham Park in recent years is the Old Lodge picnic and play area has been built, where children can take part in a nature trail and have a good run around.

Review

We  have been to Dyrham several times as a family as it’s well located just off junction 18 of the M4. It is good to meet people there as you can travel easily from Bristol, Bath, Wiltshire and Gloucestershire. You arrive at the top of the estate and the car park is spacious and easily accessible. It is a vast estate so be prepared to walk a lot, but for those that struggle or if you have a buggy or wheelchair, they do have a shuttle bus that takes you to the main house, gardens, shop and café. We like to be able to stretch our legs and get the kids walking so choose the shuttle bus just at the end of the day when everyone is a little tired. I would pack wellies as you are able to explore the deer park and have a good walk around, but you still have the option to keep to the paths if you solely want to go to the house and the gardens.

The house looks beautiful, but we are yet to visit it and go inside. On our visits we have enjoyed the extensive gardens which the children enjoy running around. The gardens have nice paved areas and as they are enclosed you can see where the children are. However, from what I can remember they are not allowed to walk on the grass so bear this in mind. We tend to explore the area around the house first and then pop into the cafe for a coffee and cake, which has a lovely fully enclosed, for that added peace of mind. The café sells hot meals, children’s lunch boxes and snacks. They have ice creams and drinks if you have packed your own picnic but fancy an extra treat. This is a good meeting place where there are toilets with disabled and baby changing facilities. There are benches around the court yard where you can sit and have a snack or an ice cream in the summer. They have a nice grassed area in front of the house where in dry weather you can sit and have a nice picnic. I remember going there with my son as a baby/toddler and him crawling all around and feeling quite safe.

For the adventurous children and those prepared to walk (bring a baby carrier or backpack carrier for those under 2 as you may end up carry them) there is a nice walk up a hill to the Old Lodge picnic area and play area. It does state on the website that you can borrow these from the house, so if you forget and need one do go and ask. There is an enclosed play area which has been created in a farmyard style.  They have tractors they can climb on, smaller tractors they can race each other with and a smallish adventure playground. There is a bit of a walk to get here, which takes about 20 minutes and most of it is up hill so be aware of that, but it is really worth the extra effort. It is also a nice place to go for lunch and have a picnic, drink or snack, as there are benches and picnic tables.

For those who have dogs they do not allow dogs (other than assistance dogs) in the main deer park or garden, but they do have a small dog walking area near the car park, and you are welcome to walk your dog in the meadow and wooded copse attached.  Park & Garden Manager Dale Dennehy said: “The main park is home to a herd of around 185 wild fallow deer and our priority in the park is caring for them, which is why we don’t allow dogs in the main park. We recognise some people are disappointed that they cannot come in with their dogs so we have created a dog walking area at the top.”

Overall, I feel it is a great place to visit due to the amount of space at Dyrham which means you are never near other families so the kids can burn a lot of energy running around! However, there is a lot of walking if you want to explore the Old Lodge area and farmyard playground, so if walking is an issue be mindful of this.

Finally, do check their Facebook feed as they often post updates, events and useful tips for your day out.  Equally, we have telephoned prior to events, such as the Easter Egg Hunt, and the staff are welcoming, friendly and informative.  So, if you need extra information do not hesitate to give them a call.

Details from the website

  • Baby-changing facilities at car park and near house.
  • Front-carrying baby slings and hip-carrying infant seats for loan in the house.
  • Free children’s quizzes and trails in the house.
  • Activity days and guided trails for families – please see our events page for details.
  • Children’s park activity packs available from reception (£5 refundable deposit).