With the sun shining again we headed to Tredegar House for the day today. We’ve been National Trust members for around three years now and it’s proving great value. South Wales might not have the same numbers of properties as other areas of the UK – but both Tredegar House in Newport and Dyffryn Gardens in the Vale of Glamorgan are great at organising family-friendly events throughout the year, and especially during the school holidays, which keeps us going back regularly.
This half term, Tredegar House is celebrating the hedgehog with an interactive trail and hedgehog-themed arts and crafts running until Sunday. There’s also pumpkin carving (last day tomorrow Tuesday 31st October) plus a toffee apple bar where you can decorate your own sweet treat (until Sunday).
When we arrived at 11.30am today the car park (free for NT members; £5 all day for non-members) was already packed. But given how huge the grounds are, it never felt at all crowded or over busy. That’s one of the things I love about the NT. Even on peak days you always feel like there’s plenty of space.
Toffee apple making
until Sunday 5th November, 11am-4pm, £2 per apple
Positioned right next to the entrance, this was the first thing we did on arrival (although I insisted that my children waited until after their lunch to eat their creations.
For the cost of £2, children can choose an apple pre-coated in either sticky toffee, milk chocolate or white chocolate. These are then decorated with marshmallows, edible eyes and small chunks of icing in different colours.
The slight downside was that the apples are kept in a fridge which made sticking things on to the chocolate-coated ones tricky although smoothing on some water helped in getting things to stick. My eldest two children, 7¾-year-old Little Miss E and 6-year-old Little Man O, made spooky faces while Littlest Boy I, 3½, seemed intent on piling on as many sweets as he could.
until Tuesday 31st October, 11am-4pm, £3 per pumpkin
Taking place in the stable area, the pumpkin carving station was really well organised and reasonably priced too. Unlike other local venues offering pumpkin carving, this doesn’t need to be booked in advance – you can either pay (cash) at the admissions desk when you arrive or just turn up at the pumpkin carving station itself.
My children loved picking out their own pumpkins from the display and using the carving kits to create their designs… although I did end up doing most of the scooping out of the insides and helping with the actual carving.
Pumpkins can be left in the stable while you explore the rest of the property. I was worried about transporting three pumpkins plus three children and all our stuff back to the car but thankfully the member of staff working gave us one of the many net bags that had been storing the pumpkins in. They are now ready and waiting for trick or treaters tomorrow with battery-operated candles inside to make them glow.
Hedgehog trail and crafts
until Sunday 5th November 11am-4pm
We learned so much about hedgehogs through the interactive trail. It begins in the woodland just as you enter the grounds with signs guiding you around some of the gardens. Information points around the trail reveal interesting facts about the wild mammal plus every day from Monday to Friday at 2.30pm you can help to build one of five hedgehog hotels. We were busy carving pumpkins at this point and so managed to completely miss it.
In the Orangery, children are able to make hedgehogs by sticking coloured strips of paper onto paper plates at no additional cost. Each of my children managed this with minimal help (other than cutting out the hedgehog template for Littlest) and they were all very proud of their creations. It was a great activity after learning so much about the animals on the trail.
In between all of this we picnicked in the beautiful grounds and my children climbed trees and ran around the lawns. We paid a quick visit into the house – my children love the room on the left as you enter where you can dress up in period fancy dress, play traditional board games and create a shadow puppet show in a theatre booth.
Entry costs £9.20 for adults; £4.60 for children; £23 for a family. Prices include Gift Aid.
Have you visited Tredegar House this week? Do let me know in the comments below; on the Cardiff Mummy Says Facebook page or by tweeting me on @cardiffmummySee the website for full details of events at Tredegar House this half term.
We pay for our National Trust membership ourselves and Tredegar House did not know we would be writing this review