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Visit the gardens at Dyffryn

Dyffryn Gardens in winter
The Great Lawn, Dyffryn Gardens, Vale of Glamorgan | © James Dobson

On the outskirts of Cardiff, discover more than 55 acres of horticultural variety, including grand historical vistas, a magical arboretum, intimate garden rooms, working kitchen gardens, an exotic glass house and two log stack play areas. During your visit, stop by our delightful café and beautifully curated shop to pick out some treats.

Winter highlights

It may be winter, but the gardens at Dyffryn are anything but bleak. At this time of year the aromas of scented shrubs including Christmas box, winter sweet and winter honeysuckle fill the chilly air. Discover more delicate scents from sarcococca, chimonanthus and hamamelisna as you head around the gardens on a winter wander.

Winter flowering plants

Look out for early snowdrops. You'll often find them tucked under trees alongside clusters of hellebores dotted around the gardens. Other winter flowering plants to look out for include camellia and cyclamen.

Inside the heated glasshouse, you'll find orchids, bromeliads and aloes flowering in an oasis of colour and warmth, in contrast to the cold weather outside.

Structural splendour

The bare forms of deciduous trees and spectacular bark come to the fore in the winter. The great spire of the dawn redwood in the Exotics Garden is a real favourite. And be sure to seek out the bright bark of the young birches on the Kennel Bank and the mottled cinnamon of stewartia stems in the Arboretum.

Winter wander

1 January 2024

After the hectic energy which often accompanies the end of one year and the start of another, a quiet winter walk is a great way to look after your body and mind during the ongoing winter months.

Pick-up your winter wander leaflet from the Welcome Centre when you arrive, it has a full-site map of the gardens and all the most interesting sections of the garden during the winter are highlighted so you can easily find them. Features such as snowdrops, early crocuses, Christmas Box, and ornamental grass. The map also points out where you can find our Glasshouse for a warming taste of the tropical even in the heart of winter.

On the back of the leaflet you can learn a bit about what our gardeners are up to over the winter and what we need to do to prepare the gardens for the spring.

A garden for all seasons

The gardens at Dyffryn were commissioned by Reginald Cory and designed by the famed Edwardian garden designer, Thomas Mawson in 1906.

As a keen plantsman himself, Cory worked collaboratively with Mawson to create this garden oasis. The majority of the gardens you see today are true to the original design. There was also a strong theme of experimentation and fluidity to the planting as Reginald was passionate about propagating and breeding many exotic and foreign species that he and others brought back from plant hunting forays all over the world.

The Pompeiian Garden

The Pompeiian Garden, inspired by Cory's trips to Italy, was built in 1909. Like its Italian namesake, it was designed with an impressive colonnade, a loggia and a central fountain in a lawn square.

One of the most enchanting features of the gardens is a series of themed outdoor rooms. This was a typical feature for a grand house like Dyffryn in the early 20th Century. The National Trust took over the restoration and protection of Dyffryn Gardens in 2012 and since then we have been working hard to restore these garden rooms back to their 1920s splendour. The Coronavirus Pandemic set our work back by some years but now we have an even clearer vision to blend restoration, horticulture, history and biodiversity and ensure that Dyffryn Gardens thrives for many generations to come.

A quote by Chris FlynnNational Trust Head Gardener, Dyffryn Gardens
The cacti house at Dyffryn Garden, Vale of Glamorgan
The cacti house at Dyffryn Garden, Vale of Glamorgan | © National Trust Images/Andrew Butler

Tropical glasshouse

The tropical glasshouse is filled with exotic orchids, vines, cacti and succulents.

Split into three, the glasshouse is bursting with otherworldly delights. Be transported into the desert, the rainforest and see our intricate vinery.

Reginald Cory was a passionate plantsman and gardens are full to bursting with plants from around the world. With this spirit in mind, the glasshouse is home to a unique collection of exotic specimens, most of which are used to warmer climates than Wales!

The orchid house contains some rare and particularly unusual specimens such as Bromeliads, Ethiopian banana (Ensete ventricosum montbeliardii), Spiral ginger (Costus barbatus), Urn plant (Aechmea Fasciata) and Bowring's Cattleya (Cattleya bowringiana).

We also have over 30 species of cacti and succulents.

Plant collecting

During the late 19th and early 20th centuries there was a huge surge in popularity for plant collecting as wealthy adventurers explored the globe in search of new and exotic species to bring back to Britain.

Reginald Cory commissioned and attended plant collecting expeditions all over the world and brought his finds back to Dyffryn. With its sheltered south-facing position these plants thrived and many remain today.

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.

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.

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The North Front of the house at Dyffryn House and Gardens, Vale of Glamorgan, Wales

History of Dyffryn 

John Cory built the house and gardens at Dyffryn on the wealth he accumulated from his exploits in the coal industry.

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.


Dyffryn Gardens map 

Take a look at the map of Dyffryn Gardens to help plan your visit.

The Head Gardener shows a group of adults and children round Dyffryn Gardens with Dyffryn House in the background

Visiting Dyffryn Gardens with your group 

Visit Dyffryn Gardens as a group and enjoy discounted entry fees.

Volunteers at Dyffryn Gardens, Vale of Glamorgan, Wales

Volunteer opportunities at Dyffryn Gardens 

Find out how you can get involved at Dyffryn Gardens and explore the different opportunities available.