I have just spent a wonderful day at Dyrham Park, a National Trust property near Bath.
This was my first visit, though I had wanted to go for a while, and it was lovely. I always use Trip Advisor when going somewhere new, I find it really useful to find out more about the individual experiences of recent visitors. This highlighted something I am glad I knew about before going, that essential repair work is being carried out to the roof, meaning that the entire building is covered in scaffolding. You can see in my first photo what it looks like.
Although some people might be put off, we read many positive reviews from visitors who had been while the work was going on who were anything but disappointed, and so we decided to give it a go.
To make up for not being able to see the beautiful exterior of the property, the NT have created new experiences to keep the visitor happy. The rooftop walk takes you up four stories, until you are standing overlooking the entire roof of Dyrham Park. It's quite an unusual experience, but an extraordinary one. You can get up close to the statues and chimneys, such as the eagle on the front of the house, and of course you also get fantastic views of the gardens and countryside, which without this experience you wouldn't be able to see! I also spotted some jackdaws nesting in one of the chimneys and watched them for a while.
The main part of the house is in a state of flux, with the top floor closed to visitors and only a few ground floor rooms open. There is a collections store with informative displays on how to look after rare artifacts, and 'sensory experiences' such as a harpsichord being expertly played and the opportunity to sample spicy hot chocolate based on a seventeenth-century recipe! The tea rooms were also excellent with a great display of cake, as any NT property should have these days!
The Church of St Peter's though not part of Dyrham Park is right next door and also worth a visit with the impressive tomb of George Wynter and the funerary brass of Sir Maurice Russell, both fifteenth century. Parts of the church date back to 1280.
The gardens and extensive grounds are very pretty at the moment too and were the highlight of the trip for me. On a sunny day with a slight breeze it was a refreshing break to sit on the grass in front of the pond and watch the gorgeous baby coots paddling around. We went in search of the playground (which we didn't find) and spent some time watching the fallow deer who were beautiful to see in the early evening light.
Well worth a visit!