Following a lovely, relaxing Christmas we were itching to get out and about and take in some fresh air. I’d seen blog posts by both Cardiff Mummy Says and Teddy Bears and Cardigan about the Twelve Days of Christmas Days at Dyffryn Gardens, a National Trust property based in the Vale of Glamorgan, and quite fancied taking a look myself.
With it being the Christmas holidays and us being super lazy we didn’t get to Dyffryn Gardens until about 2pm, we hit up the cafe as soon as we got there and then tackled the trail. This was our first visit and we would have liked to have explored the house and gardens thoroughly, but due to our lazy morning we simply didn’t have the time for this – I guess we will just have to visit again another day soon, which is no great shame.
A Partridge in A Pear Tree
First on the trail and very easily spotted is a Partridge in a Pear Tree, I’m sure by now you’ve gathered that the trail follows a popular Christmas song all about gifts received from a true love. Upon paying your entry fee you are handed a map setting out the trail, it is easy to follow although the items are zig zagged around the place, if, like me you are pedantic and want to do the trail in numerical order you will end up passing some of the ‘gifts’ on later days to get to the ones that you want to see first.
Two Turtle Doves
Some of the gifts are high up and out of reach, but the further you get into the trail the more interactive it seems to get. I’m not sure if this is intentional but it seemed to me to be a great way to cure any boredom that may creep in from the children as you get towards the end of the trail.
Three French Hens
Four Calling Birds
The four calling birds was the first of the interactive ‘gifts’ that we came across. It was really well done with four birds ‘flying’ above four birds houses, all of which you could wind up to play a tune, 12 Days of Christmas of course.Five Golden Rings
You could be forgiven for not spotting the five golden rings, cleverly hidden away out of reach on the house itself.
The geese were Aria’s favourite, and I’m pretty sure they were her daddy’s too. These geese all came with their own baskets and rubber eggs, Aria loved throwing the eggs around and watching them bounce. Hopefully she doesn’t attempt this with my eggs at home.
I actually thought that these were real swans on first glance. They looked so pretty on the frozen water with the stunning house in the background.
Number eight was one of the more interactive clues, challenging children to fill up the jugs with ‘milk’ (but actually water thankfully, can you imagine if they used actual milk!?)
Nine Ladies Dancing
The nine dancing ladies were super pretty, they went right around the corner so it was impossible to get them all in one photo, but I assure you there were nine! The silver silhouettes had tempting ribbons and bells attached to them to wow the children.
This interactive clue was one of the hardest to find as it was inside, somewhere that we hadn’t considered going! This was quite a cool one as you span the wheel and then looked at the reflection in the mirror to watch the ten lords leap. Aria loved spinning the wheel.
Eleven Pipers Piping
I loved this ‘gift’! We found a cute little basket of sticks, unfortunately we were there at the end of the day and there were only two sticks left, but one was all we needed so it didn’t spoil our fun. Aria loves making noise so this was absolutely perfect for her.
Twelve Drummers Drumming
The twelfth and final clue was by far the easiest to spot, it was near enough impossible to miss to be honest, twelve big bright red drums across the lawn stuck out quite a bit!
We thoroughly enjoyed the Twelve Days of Christmas trail at Dyffryn Gardens, and generally exploring the grounds there. We will definitely go back, I’m looking forward to visiting in the Spring/Summer and seeing the place in bloom, I can imagine that it looks beautiful.
The Twelve Days of Christmas Trail is running until 15 January 2017.