“ National Trust home and gardens. Address: Wraxall, Bristol, Somerset BS48 1NX. Telephone: 0844 800 4966 „
As I am saving at the moment I am trying to find lots more things to do that don't cost me the earth, plus as I am also on a diet plan this also cuts out my eating out with friends so I am having to be a bit inventive with my days out.
My parents invited me along to one of their favourite National Trust properties with them last weekend and I thought it would be something a bit different so happily joined them at Tyntesfield.
On arrival at Tyntesfield we drove down through the grounds towards the car park which is well sign posted, we were met at the entrance to the car park by an attendant who showed us where to park and offered a little information on where to go and what there was to see, but obviously due to my parents having been to visit before this information wasn't needed in our case, but I did think that was a nice touch.
We then walked down to the ticket office area where there is also a National Trust shop, a cafe/restaurant and toilets. I thought the toilets were interesting as they were built in the old stable block and the trust had made a feature out of the old hay feeders where they had put in the sinks, the original beams were still there which was something different from boring day to day toilets.
My parents are both members of the National Trust so for them the visit was free, but for me access to the grounds and house was £13.50, the cashier did explain to me that if I joined the National Trust they would refund today's money, sadly at the cost of just over £50.50 for a single person it's not something I could afford, but I did think that was a good idea.
We had booked to look around the house and as it gets busy at Tyntesfield they only allocate a certain amount of tickets per day and these are allocated in blocks so as not to have the house crammed full of people. Ours were 11.30 to 12.30 which gives you more than enough time to see everything in the house, although it is fairly extensive.
William Gibbs originally bought the original Tyntes place in 1843, but it was in 1863 that he had work begin on making the house the design of gothic splendour that it is now, with it's large windows and fantastic stone carvings.
The house belonged to the Gibbs family until 2001 when Lord Wraxall the last member of the family passed away and it was bought by the National trust. I think they have done a fantastic job with the restoration works that have been done and they have managed to keep the house looking fantastic. They have recently begun more restoration works on the garden's orangery, the scaffold has been erected ready and these works are due to commence at the end of April, these will be fully viewable to visitors of the gardens so that they can see exactly how much work goes into the restoration projects, the works are also being carried out by some of the National Trust's apprentice stonemasons.
The first thing I noticed about the house was in the entrance hall where there are lots of carvings along the walls in Latin which I thought were beautiful and on the entrance to the door of the library, which was my favourite room I found out from a guide that the carving there meant 'the written word remains, the spoken word fades away' which I loved.
For those who are into Art the house still houses some impressive art work, mainly paintings of the Gibbs family through the ages, but well worth viewing, we were lucky enough to see some original portrait painted of the family on Ivory which are normally kept covered due to being very sensitive to light.
Another room I really enjoyed is the billiard room, the main attraction here being around ten deer heads mounted on the wall, along with various animal skins. The guide happened to being doing a talk as we entered this room and I was amazed to find out that the largest of all the mounted heads in the room, a rather humongous moose head was not shot by any of them men of the Gibbs family but instead by Via one of the ladies of the house, who's portrait is hanging on the main staircase of the house where she is depicted in a stunning yellow flowing gown much at odds to the image of her shooting Moose in Canada.
The other rooms in the house have been kept to a brilliant standard, as can be seen in the kitchen and bedrooms and this was largely helped by the fact that the Gibbs family were hoarders. Not fond of throwing anything away some of the older rooms were used for storage and this has been a large help to the National Trust in being able to help them piece together how the house would have looked through the years.
The Gibbs family also had a private chapel on the grounds of the estate and this is also open to visitors. While not religious myself I do enjoy viewing churches when I can and this small family chapel is a beautiful example of why, very well maintained the chapel has the capacity to hold around sixty people and despite being small is wonderfully light due to the wonderful stained glass windows.
The Tyntesfield estate also has beautiful grounds which are well worth checking out, including a kitchen garden which as well as the vegetables and herbs that are growing there; they also have greenhouses growing a wide range of flowers. As we went on what turned out to be a brilliantly hot day the grounds were packed with families picnicking on the grass, but thanks to the size of the estate they never seemed to be too cramped on spaces to relax and for the children to enjoy a game.
Tyntesfield estate also has holiday cottages on the estate that can be rented which include the chaplain's house, chaplains lodge and summerhouse cottage, this can be done online at www.nationaltrustcottages.co.uk
For something different to do on a Sunday day I would fully recommend a visit to Tyntesfield estate, learn something new in every room of the main house and then enjoy a homemade picnic in the grounds or have lunch in the cafe/restaurant.
If you are wanting to visit the house at Tyntesfield I would advise you to arrive early as the places are limited and do sell out quickly.
If you are taking children to Tyntesfield there is plenty to keep them entertained as in most of the rooms around the house there are boxes where they can find out more about the house in fun ways such as dressing up which I did see a lot of children enjoying.
The opening hours are 10.00 until 18.00 with the house and chapel closing slightly earlier at 17:00.
Gift aid admission prices : (Standard Admission prices in brackets) House, chapel and garden: adult £13.50 (£12.20), child £6.75 (£6), family £33.75 (£30.40). Garden only: adult £10 (£9), child £5 (£4.50), family £25 (£22.50). £2 off admission when arriving by bicycle, on foot or public transport
For any more information please see the National Trust website at www.Nationaltrust.org.uk