My parents used to take my brother and I to Tredegar House in Newport a lot as children, and it has so many happy memories for us all. So when I was offered a day pass to use as part of the #NTFirst promotion, I jumped at the chance. It's a new National Trust campaign to get people out and about, and enjoying some of our native wildlife. You can find out more about it HERE.
We hadn't been able to use it over the Easter holidays, as planned, so when the sun came out on Wednesday we decided to grab the opportunity. Marianna, me, Bracken the dog, and my parents all piled into the car for a trip down memory lane...
The house is really a mansion. Some parts date back to the 15th century, but most of it is an extravagant 17th century rebuild by William Morgan. It stayed in the Morgan / Tredegar family for centuries, until it was bought by the Catholic Church and converted into a school in 1951, later serving as the first site of St. Joseph's Comprehensive. It was bought by Newport Council in 1974 and finally came into National Trust ownership in 2012. You can read more about the history of the estate at Friends of Tredegar House.
It's a beautiful place to visit, and I love that they have restored different rooms to reflect different periods. There are gilt edged 17th century rooms full of art, glamorous art deco 1930s bedrooms, and somewhat less glamorous servants' areas below stairs. The house is so child friendly, with dress up clothes, activities, and just a really welcoming atmosphere. Outside there are some gorgeous formal gardens too, laid out in 18th century style.
Admission to the actual house is £7.20 per adult, £3.60 per child, or £18 for a family pass. Find out more about the opening times and other details at the National Trust Website. Don't forget to check out the What's On Page for some of the cool activities you can take part in, from 'Meet the Gardeners' sessions to the annual Folk Festival.
Beyond the gardens is the parkland. It's open to everyone, free of charge, and the car park charge is a reasonable £2. (Or free to blue badge holders.) We went to feed the ducks - though they were completely disinterested in our special seed and grain duck mix - and walked down the ancient oak avenue.
Dogs are totally welcome in the parkland, with dog poop bags and bins plentifully provided, so we let Bracken have a run around while we sat in the sun next to rows of daffodils. I dreamed of perfect photos of Marianna against a backdrop of sunny daffs. This is the best we could manage:
All the exploring had built up an appetite, so our next stop was the Brewhouse cafe. It serves hot and cold food, but in the end we went for tea and carrot cake - made with organic carrots from the estate's gardens, according to the website. There is a little gift shop next door and, as I've always been addicted to gift shops, we had to have a look around. My mum, exhibiting way more eagerness to get her purse open than I remember from childhood gift shop trips, bought Marianna a little wooden wriggly worm. It's now her new favourite toy.
Marianna was getting a bit grouchy by this point, so we gave in while the going was good and went home for naptime. It was a lovely day though, and I'm sure it will be the first of many many trips there!