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Family days out at Dyffryn Gardens

Family days out at Dyffryn Gardens in the winter
Winter family days out at Dyffryn Gardens | © James Dobson

Dyffryn Gardens is a great place to visit with your family, from youngest to oldest, there is something to interest every member of the family at Dyffryn.

Planning your family visit

Here’s the information you need at a glance to help plan your next day out at Dyffryn Gardens:

  • Children under five visit for free.
  • There are baby-changing facilities at regular intervals around the gardens as well as accessible toilet facilities.
  • There are pram, wheelchair and mobility scooter-friendly routes and wheelchairs and a mobility scooter can be rented (free of charge) from the Welcome Centre.
  • We have two log stack play areas.
  • For safety reasons we can’t allow any kind of children’s bike, scooter or trike in the gardens unless it has a long handle on the back and is controlled by an adult at all times.
  • Dogs are welcome so even the family pup can join in (please see here for information on visiting Dyffryn with your dog).
  • The cafe serves children's lunchboxes and a range of hot and cold food and drinks, as well as treats for your four-legged family members.
  • We also welcome picnics.

Winter highlights

It may be winter, but the gardens at Dyffryn are anything but bleak. There’s still lots of nature to explore and uncover including scented shrubs like Christmas box, winter sweet and winter honeysuckle as well as snowdrops and early crocuses. Inside our tropical glasshouse you’ll find intriguing and exotic plants flowering in an oasis of colour and warmth. Our Log Stack play areas are also open all winter for adventures and den-building.

Christmas at Dyffryn Gardens.

Enjoy festive events and join in as we decorate Dyffryn ready for Christmas. Discover merry scenes nestled in the gardens, build a snowman (whatever the weather), add to our ribbon garlands, enjoy family games and help us fill the garden with Christmas cheer. Don’t forget to swing by our second-hand bookshop where lots of jolly events will be taking place throughout December and the Christmas holidays.

Find out more here.

Sensory and Explorer backpacks

Aimed at ages 3-11 ¾ our explorer and sensory backpacks are completely free to borrow (no purchase or deposit needed) and are specially designed to get our younger visitors engaging in the world around them in creative ways.

Explorer backpack

These take inspiration from the National Trust’s ‘50 things to do before you’re 11 ¾’ campaign and facilitate children getting closer to nature in the spirit of pure fun. The backpack is full of suggestions like navigating your way around Dyffryn with the compass and map, using the magnifying glass or binoculars to take a closer look at the Dyffryn wildlife and using the tape measure to find out the circumference of a tree trunk. There are also identification spotter sheets, and a tick list to fill in. If your little explorer is particularly engaged with something they find in the backpack some things are available to purchase in our shop, but we encourage you to come back and borrow our backpacks and tools again and again!

Sensory backpack

These backpacks aim to help children process the sensory aspects of a visit to Dyffryn Gardens. They contain a lovely book called Lilly & Myles: The Torch by Jon Roberts and Hannah Rounding (in both English and Welsh) and an accompanying torch, as well as ear defenders, mini kaleidoscopes, soft finger puppets, tactile twisty blocks and handmade worry stones for anxious moments. Again, much of these things can be purchased from the shop if your little one falls in love with anything and doesn’t want to leave it behind, but our sensory backpacks are available every day, free of charge for whenever you need them.

Log Stack play areas

There are two Log Stack play areas at Dyffryn, one outside the pay barrier near the Welcome Centre and a larger one in the Arboretum. These wild play areas have plenty of space for youngsters to run, jump, explore and play.

Balance along enormous trees which were felled as part of the arboretum revival plan, jump from log to log along the stepping stones and have a picnic on hand carved picnic stumps.

The area is home to squirrels, birds and lots of creepy crawlies, so bring a magnifying glass or some binoculars and get spotting.

Even in between events, Dyffryn is a great option for a family day out. With every new season the gardens change and evolve so there is always something new to see.

We also have self-led seasonal trails to enjoy. Pick-up a trail leaflet at the Welcome Centre to be guided round the seasonal highlights of the gardens. Please see the Visit the gardens at Dyffryn page for more information on the current seasonal walk.

And with a café, shop and second-hand bookshop (with a great selection of children's and YA literature), there’s always plenty to do at Dyffryn Gardens. So whenever you choose to visit, you know that you and your family will make some lovely memories.

Herbaceous Border in summer, Dyffryn Gardens, Vale of Glamorgan

Discover more at Dyffryn Gardens

Find out when Dyffryn Gardens is open, how to get here and what there is to see and do on your visit.

Cheese scones in a baking tray

Eating and shopping at Dyffryn Gardens 

Enjoy hearty dishes and light snacks at the café with a tasty treat to round off your visit. Pop into the shop to pick up something special to take home.

A dog eating doggy ice cream outside the Welcome Centre, Dyffryn Gardens, Vale of Glamorgan

Visiting Dyffryn Gardens with your dog 

Dyffryn Gardens is a two pawprint rated place. Find out more about visiting with your dog and how we’re making Dyffryn more dog-friendly.