Sometimes you find a place to visit that truly blows you away. Bodnant Garden, a National Trust property in Tal-y-Cafn (near Colwyn Bay) in North Wales is one of those places. It truly was one of the most beautiful places I’ve ever been to. It’s easy to get to and clearly signposted from junction 19 of the A55.
The view alone from the (free!) carpark is worth visiting for.
Before we did anything, we headed to the tearoom for a cuppa and a scone (for me) and a glass of pop and chocolate orange cake for the boys. I have to admit that I haven’t been to a National Trust attraction for years, but I always remember the tearooms and cafes at all of them being worth a visit. The cafe was lovely and spacious, with a good selection of cakes, and colouring sheets for the kids.
We headed into the property and past the ticket desk – it currently costs £13.20 per adult and £6.60 per child and were given a map of the property (which I promptly lost, so we winged it all the way around).
We decided we were going to start off by following the Running Rabbit trail. How far we actually got on it, I have no idea because we kept getting distracted by little pathways and bridges. The trail, if you follow it properly, encourages children to explore and use their senses, and basically enjoy being outdoors. We certainly did that anyway – I think it’s pretty impossible not to at Bodnant Garden.
I’m no gardener. I can identify a lily, a rose, a daffodil and a tulip and that’s about as far as my knowledge of plants and flowers goes, but even I could appreciate the beauty and the vast range of plants and flowers around you at Bodnant. Considering it is only April – and we’ve had a pretty rubbish spring so far – it was full of colour. I bet it’s absolutely incredible in the summer when everything has bloomed!
Having no map (and there are very few signposts), we sort of just meandered about, which was really nice actually, because we just went wherever took our fancy. We walked through the meadows, which were carpeted with daffodils – it was beautiful, with views of the mountains.
As we followed the footpath around the meadow, we could hear the trickling of a stream, so followed the sound. This is where the garden became truly magical. Harrison and Alex said it was like walking through an enchanted wood, with twisty and tall trees, little streams and waterfalls, little wooden bridges.
We wandered around for a good couple of hours, past lakes and streams, ponds and waterfalls, past trees bigger than we’ve ever seen before and with the sounds of birds and insects all around.
We stopped off to get an ice cream and a coffee at the kiosk by the old water mill, which is beautiful in a decayed sort of way. There were some little activities inside for children – scent boxes, colouring and planting a seed to take home.
We then headed towards the Pin Mill and the Italian Terrace Gardens, which were my favourite part of the gardens. It was really beautiful and peaceful.
The big Bodnant Hall, which isn’t open to visitors is pretty spectacular as well, but what truly amazed us was the views. Just look at this:
We started to head back towards the exit after exploring the terraces because Ben was beginning to get tired, but we had been there a good few hours, and could easily spend another couple of hours there. It really is a full day out visit. I love the thought of going at different points throughout the year to see how it changes. I bet it looks beautiful when the bluebells are out and the laburnum arch is world famous when it is out in bloom.
I definitely recommend a visit to Bodnant Garden if you’re visiting (or live in!) North Wales. Make sure you wear comfy shoes and take a picnic – there are plenty of spots to sit and enjoy your lunch. Check out the Bodnant Garden National Trust website to see the events and up to date information.
*We were given free tickets to the garden for the purpose of this review. All words and thoughts are our own and have not been influenced in any way.