Family days together are precious, and it’s nice to spend time with the husband and girls sometimes without distractions, so during Cadw’s recent open doors event we decided to visit Tredegar House.
My girls were very excited about being ‘allowed’ to go inside the house, because even though they have walked through the grounds many times on family walks or helping their Nanny walk her dogs, they hadn’t actually been inside before.
We arrived quite early in the day and after we had chatted to the lovely staff on arrival we walked around the first small garden, which was home to some lovely exotic looking plants and flowers, and even though the leaves had started to fall and Autumn was creeping in, I managed to take a few snaps of the blooms. The girls and husband spent time as well finding as many apples as possible on the ground, they ended up left behind but it was a nice autumnal activity!
Once we’d finished wandering around the gardens, and it had started to rain, it seemed like the ideal time to venture inside the house. I have been inside Tredegar house before however that was years ago and before the National Trust took it over, and I have to say I was instantly impressed at how well everything was presented. It’s all in the detail and the effort to make everything seem as it would be hundreds of years ago, there was even a huge banquet laid out in the main hall.
All through the house children have been considered too, there are simple but educational information boards for them to read, which my eldest daughter really enjoyed reading aloud, a dressing up box with old fashioned dresses and costumes, an old light puppet box and lovely little wooden board games. I think we spent a good half hour just in the entertainment room alone, and It did make me think “who needs iPads?!”.
I really enjoyed looking at all the old paintings on the walls and the wall paper that was found behind a cupboard and preserved for many years. It was also very interesting to hear the story of the lady of the house that once decided she didn’t like her husband, and the various ways in which she tried to kill him off, even though ultimately she was unsuccessful. That was one of the great things about the house, the staff waiting to answer questions and interact with the visitors. My youngest asked a fair amount of questions one of them was what a an ink well was, I was surprised I hadn’t explained this to them before. It took me back to the time I was a child and I visited St Fagans with my school, we had to dress up as Victorian children and use real ink wells!
My favourite part of Tredegar House had to be the kitchen though. I’m always fascinated by the servant’s areas when visiting places like this, I loved the wall of bells and the many pots and pans. The day we went there were ladies in costume making traditional welsh cakes as well, which my family were more than happy to try of course, I can confirm they were lovely. There were plenty of other families visiting the house that day as well, but even though it was really busy everyone seemed to be enjoying themselves too and it wasn’t too cramped anywhere.
The last area we visited in the basement had a little stall with lavender bags and other sewn items, we were able to fill our own lavender bags to take home and they are proudly handing on our beds at home.
After we had finished exploring the house it was time to go on a little adventure around the lake, it was quite mild once the rain had stopped and it was lovely to wander through finding leaves and taking some more pictures (of course). There are so many lovely trees to walk beneath and even some old stumps being carved currently. I noticed plenty of wildlife and even some dragon flies darting around, which is always a sight that fascinates me.
As days out go we thoroughly enjoyed our day out at Tredegar House and will definitely be visiting again this winter. There are plenty of activities going on over the next few months with Halloween next.
I have to congratulate the National Trust on the work that has been done so far to Tredegar House since taking it on, I was impressed and we had a wonderful family day together.