Monday 10 October 2022

Dyrham Park

Darren had a free pass to any National Trust property, and as it was another lovely day we decided to go to Dyrham Park on the outskirts of Bristol.

We knew absolutely nothing about it apart from the fact that it has a very long wall along the A46 to keep people out.

We turned in through the imposing front gates and couldn't see the house at all as the road disappeared down a very steep hill. We had to turn off to the car park and walk down. 

After picking up a map in the Visitor Centre we set off in the opposite direction to the house to a viewpoint. It was very nice, but quite similar to the views yesterday, so instead here is Darren in a tree.

After our viewpoint we approached the house from the back through beautiful gardens. 

We wandered around admiring the views and trying our best to follow the confusing signs. We enjoyed a coffee in the cafe, bought a metal duck in the gift shop, and followed a sign that said basement but actually led to a courtyard garden. All of the while we were looking for the entrance to the house, and in the end we had to give up and ask a guide. It turns out that the front door is at the back and was kept closed with a sign saying 'wait to be invited in'. 
It all seemed very odd so instead I pushed open the door to find ourselves in a dark, grand room with a lady playing a harpsichord. 
The house is being restored after many years of neglect and lots of the rooms are closed to the public, but what they had was interesting, and they also had a dressing up box. 

There were very few visitors in the house, but two others were already there so we got dressed together. I was hoping to be a grand lady in a Jane Austen style outfit, but all I could find was the maids clothes. 

In the house we saw a picture of the enormous and intricate gardens at the front of the house, but were told by a guide that we needed to manage our expectations. 

That turned out to be true, as none of them are there any more, although there may be plans to reinstate them. It would be fantastic if they did as the gardens went all of the way up the steep slopes on either side of the house and there was a stepped waterfall down the hill from this viewpoint. 

All in all, a good fun outing if a bit confusing at times. 

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