The classic Christmas song 12 Days of Christmas is brought to life this year at Dyffryn Gardens, with a family-friendly trail around the grounds featuring all the items from the song.
I headed to the National Trust property yesterday, a cold but beautifully sunny day, with Toddler Boy I, my 2½ year old youngest child, while his big brother and sister were at school.
This post does contain photographic spoilers – so if you are planning on visiting and want to see what’s in store for yourself, then stop reading now!
Armed with a map of the trail which we picked up at reception, we managed to find all 12 presents. Some were very visible and impossible to miss, such as the seven swans a swimming on the pond and the 12 drummers drumming on the main lawn.
Others were a little trickier to find. Six geese a laying involved walking around the maze of gardens, but when we did find them, we were rewarded with a little game where you could throw (plastic) eggs into the geese’s roosting baskets. Toddler thought this was brilliant. Four calling birds was also proving difficult, but a member of staff pointed us in the direction of the old potting sheds. The paper birds were nestled above wooden bird boxes, each of which housed a music box operated by turning a key.
Toddler’s favourite was the 11 pipers piping – wind chimes you could play with sticks. I loved the three French hens, made from recycled plastic bags and wearing berets, in case we were in any doubt as to their nationality, as well as the 10 lords a leaping, where you had to spin a wheel to see the lords dancing in the mirror behind. It’s called a thaumatrope!
The trail is great fun; really engaging for children of different ages and a good way to explore the grounds.
We were at Dyffryn Gardens for around three hours, although you could easily stay for longer as there’s so much to explore. We took our own sandwiches, but there’s a cafe if you wanted to buy lunch.
We have a family membership (paid for ourselves; nothing to do with my blog) so we’ll definitely be going back when the schools break up for the Christmas holidays. Little Man O, 5, and Little Miss E, nearly 7, loved all the photos and are keen to discover it for themselves.
“On the twelfth day of Christmas, my true love sent to me:
12 drummers drumming
Eleven pipers piping
Ten lords a leaping
Nine ladies dancing
Eight maids a milking
Seven swans a swimming
Six geese a laying
Five gold rings
Four calling birds
Three French hens
Two turtle doves
and a partridge in a pear tree.
The 12 Days of Christmas trail runs until 10th January 2017 at Dyffryn Gardens in the Vale of Glamorgan (closed Christmas Day and Boxing Day). Adults £8.80, children £4, under 5s free, family £22, all gift aid prices.
Also see the website for details of afternoon tea and breakfast with the elves, as well as Visit Father Christmas.
See more of what Dyffryn Gardens has to offer in my previous review post.
You might also like: Christmas 2016: 85 family-friendly events in and around Cardiff