History buffs and nature lovers alike will find reasons to love Dyrham Park. Located in near Bath, the 274-acre park boasts historic architecture, world-renowned art, legendary gardens and year-round family-friendly activities for visitors to enjoy. For visitors looking for things to do in Bath and its surrounding area, this short trip north will not disappoint.
Dyrham Park has evolved many times over the last 300 years. Politician and civil servant William Blathwayt commissioned the house commissioned the construction of the property’s mansion in two waves, in 1692 and 1704. The property’s legendary gardens, with Tudor origins, have experienced several transformations over the years, including a shift to a landscape park in 1791. The National Land Trust purchased the mansion and the West Garden in 1956 and has worked to restore it ever since.
When visitors step into Blathwayt’s 17th-century baroque mansion, they’ll find many things exactly as they were 300 years ago. Due to Blathwayt’s royal connections, the house is considered to be a premiere showcase of Dutch paintings, furniture, tapestries, and other handicrafts, including two notable paintings by Dutch artist Samuel van Hoogstraten. Tours of the mansion also include a hands-on encounter with “life below the stairs” (the servant area), which allows visitors to view a Victorian kitchen and the home’s elaborate pulley system.
A distinguishing feature of the park’s gardens is their mixture of the old and the new. The family-friendly West garden reflects both the more formal 18th-century garden, yet other modern sections take advantage of the landscape’s unique features such as the cascade. The garden’s orchard features pear trees that are hundreds of years old and used to make the alcoholic drink Dyrham Park Perry, which is sold on site. An annual garden highlight is the spring arrival of more than 8,000 tulip bulbs planted on the west terrace.
Though Dyrham Park is home to many varieties of animals, it is perhaps most famous for its herd of more than 200 fallow deer. Throughout the year visitors can spot the deer in various seasons, observing fawning, rutting, and the shedding of antlers. The deer are not alone in the park; they’re joined by a variety of other insects and animals, including birds, badgers, rabbits, newts, foxes, and squirrels. The park also boasts thousands of trees, some of which are hundreds of years old.
Activities and Events
Beyond the historic sites and natural beauty, families can enjoy the Old Lodge picnic area, which features a straw bale maze, antique tractors, and other farm tools from long ago. The park also hosts seasonal events, such as the annual Victorian “Christmas at the Blathwayts.” The grounds also feature a tearoom, a gift shop, plant sales, and a tea garden. Children’s quizzes, trails, and activity packs are available and the site regularly features activity days for families.
Visitors young and old will find something enchanting at Dyrham Park. Guests from near and far will feel as if they’ve stepped back in time as they enjoy the property’s peaceful gardens, breath taking wildlife population, and historic architecture and art.