Bank Holiday Monday in May, typically raining as we woke and the usual conversation as to what we would like to do today. We always Google the weather and despite looking out this morning at what can only be described as a heavy fog of rain and grey skies the forecast stated that it would dry out by 1pm and from 2pm there would be full sunshine. We simply didn’t believe it and resigned ourselves to a day at home.
Busying ourselves with occupying Tiggy and her brothers, factoring mealtimes and nap times too we were somewhat taken aback when pretty much exactly 1pm the rain stopped. By 1:30pm the clouds were lifting and by 1:45pm there were blue skies! Without further ado we rounded up the troops, loaded them into the car and headed out. We hadn’t really planned on a destination save that it had to have a hill as we took a kite given that it was bright but windy.
We headed towards the motorway and as we pulled around the roundabout and over the bridge we could see that all traffic heading East was stationary for as far as we could see. That was that then, we headed West and the first place that sprung to mind in that direction was the Botanic Gardens. So that’s where we headed.
Tiggy’s daddy hadn’t been to the Botanic Gardens before and asked the sort of questions that made me think he wasn’t overly keen on going. “Is there anything on there today?”, “Is there anything for the children to do?”, “Is it all just plants so that the children might not enjoy?”. I, having been several times before with the children by myself knew only too well that we would all enjoy but even I hadn’t appreciated just how much!
I’ve taken Tiggy and her brothers several times before and we have always walked the same route up into the gardens and pretty much the same route down. What I hadn’t appreciated having taken the time to study the map kindly given at the entrance (usually the boys take them and I don’t get a look in!) was that there was a huge amount of the gardens that we hadn’t seen before, hadn’t even known were there!
Our mission then, to explore. Tiggy was tucked nicely into her pram and her brothers all kitted out in their wellies, perfect for puddle jumping given the rain that morning. We didn’t have to look too far for those and we were off! We discovered a double walled garden, a tropical house, Wallace Garden, Principality House, the site of Middleton Hall, a new children’s play area and on Millennium Square there was a falconry event. These were just some of the places within the gardens that we hadn’t seen before. There’s lots for children to see and do and many more areas that are worthy of our exploration but given the time we arrived we simply didn’t have enough time to see the rest on this visit. Definitely reason to return soon, that and the fact that we took out membership whilst here as it seemed like something that would benefit us as a family having this on our doorstep with so much to see and do here.
Tiggy’s brother Reuben tried his hand at falconry whilst here (not for the first time) and held an owl, something that even Tiggy has done before albeit not at this venue. We spent an age playing in the park having walked through the gardens to get there and it was lovely having only just been built. It was certainly a great area for the children to play with a springy trampoline set into the floor, a zip wire and even a small park to cater for the smallest of children.
We stopped for a coffee and some juice and to feed Tiggy in their tea rooms and then headed off behind what would once have been Middleton Hall to the high bank to fly our kite. This is where I’d say Tiggy’s daddy enjoyed the most and given his earlier questions and wonderings as to whether the children would be entertained and occupied I think it was him who was more entertained than them and quite reluctant to give Tiggy’s brothers a turn at kite flying!
In conclusion, what a great place, plenty to do and see, lots of fun to be had and often events held to entertain all ages, even daddy’s! You can see from the photos in this blog post that we’ve been several times since the Bank Holiday in May and have enjoyed a different day out each time.
What’s more exciting is that we are going to collaborate with the National Botanic Garden Of Wales to bring you “A Year In The Gardens” featuring an insight into this wonderful place, the people that make it tick, some educational fun facts for children (possibly for adults too), coverage of fabulous events that are held here and of course pictures of the change to the gardens that each season brings. I can’t tell you how excited I am! Keep checking back for monthly updates and a years’ end round up…..xoxo