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Visit the gardens at Dyffryn

The Pompeiian Garden looking north, Dyffryn Gardens, Vale of Glamorgan
The Pompeiian Garden, Dyffryn Gardens, Vale of Glamorgan | © Milly Kelly

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.

Summer highlights

In the summer Dyffryn Gardens is full of fragrance and colour. Everywhere you look you will see plants in full bloom. The bedding displays are at their height in July, especially the South Front and Paved Court and the Herbaceous Border gives long lasting colour and interest throughout the summer.

In May we reopened two more restored sections of the Arboretum which were overtaken by weeds and bamboo during lockdown. There is now a peaceful glade with interesting trees where you can find shade from the summer sun, then follow our newly opened path through the Arboretum's meadow, designed as a wandering route amongst the wild orchids.

The gardens act as a summer sanctuary for many bird species including swifts, swallows and house martins. Greenfinches have also been nesting here for the last couple of years so keep an ear out for their song. Dyffryn is also a summer haven for pollinators and our gardens support more than 50 species of bees which you can find foraging in beds and borders all around the garden.

Arial view of the spiral mini-meadows, Dyffryn Gardens, Vale of Glamorgan
The spiral mini-meadows at Dyffryn Gardens during summer 2023 | © James Dobson

This is the fourth year of growing our two ‘mini meadows’ on the Great Lawn, either side of the central canal. After last year’s spirals, the design this year was inspired by the swirl patterns on the facade of the house, uncovered and restored last winter. We grow the meadows to increase the diversity of pollinators and insects as well as limit compaction on the South Lawn so that waxcaps can thrive in the autumn. The increase in pollinators and insects then encourages predators like dragonflies. The dragonflies mingle with the damselflies over the water features, home to water lilies and other aquatic plants and their flitting displays are truly spectacular. We also have several other areas of meadow which were established in 2019 - we now have bee orchids (which are a beautiful species of wild orchid) flowering in May and June flourishing in our meadow spaces.

Bookmark this page and come back later in the summer to find out more about our signature Dahlia and late summer ginger lily displays, as well as what will be blossoming in the Kitchen Gardens and Exotics Garden later in the season.

Herbaceous Border in summer, Dyffryn Gardens, Vale of Glamorgan
Herbaceous Border in summer, Dyffryn Gardens, Vale of Glamorgan | © Milly Kelly | National Trust

Summer Stroll

Pick-up your Summer Stroll leaflet from the Welcome Centre when you arrive - it has a full-site map of the gardens and some of the most stunning and interesting sections of the garden during the summer are highlighted so you can easily find them.

You'll find a moment of calm in the quiet sanctuary of the Fernery before exploring the features of the Garden Rooms, including the Herbaceous Border and Paved Court, which are filled with colourful seasonal plants.

Find out more about how we garden for nature and our biodiversity studies, learning what calls Dyffryn home and how we can help nature thrive here.

Head Gardener tour

Join Dyffryn’s Head Gardener for a tour around the gardens, taking in the seasonal highlights and sharing what the garden team are up to at this time of year.

This is a specialist 90-minute tour with our Head Gardener, Chris Flynn, focusing on horticultural expertise in the gardens, how we’re gardening for nature, and the ongoing conservation and restoration work of the Grade I listed gardens.

Chris will show you the seasonal highlights of the gardens and share the story of how Dyffryn was created and what that means for us as we work to restore it. There will be a chance to ask questions, hear Chris’ top tips, and take some inspiration for your own gardens and green spaces. All proceeds from the tour go back into looking after and restoring the gardens.

Book your place on our events section of the website.

The wisteria blossoming in the sunshine of the Pompeiian Garden at Dyffryn Gardens, Vale of Glamorgan
Wisteria in the Pompeiian Garden, Dyffryn Gardens, Vale of Glamorgan | © Milly Kelly

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 looking north, Dyffryn Gardens, Vale of Glamorgan
The Pompeiian Garden, Dyffryn Gardens, Vale of Glamorgan | © Milly Kelly

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.

The glasshouse at Dyffryn Gardens, Vale of Glamorgan
The glasshouse at Dyffryn Gardens, Vale of Glamorgan | © National Trust Images/Andrew Butler

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.

You might also be interested in

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.

The Gardens Cafe, Dyffryn Gardens, Vale of Glamorgan

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.