National Botanic Garden of Wales

50days: #6 National Botanic Garden of Wales

Just 40 minutes drive from our guesthouse, this horticultural haven makes a fantastic day out for young, old and everyone in between. The National Botanic Garden of Wales (lets call it NBGW from now on) includes 568-acres of parkland, formal gardens, lakes and woodland which all surround a huge tropical glasshouse designed by Norman Foster. This is Wales’ answer to the Eden Project – minus the crowds. 

Greenhouse at the National Botanic Garden of Wales

It’s not just a few pretty flowers either: this is a bonanza of all things botanical. You’ll find dozens of different displays including the healing herbs of Apothecary’s Garden and it’s Edwardian Pharmacy, the Aqualab, a Bee Garden that is abuzz with 250,000 busy bees, boulder gardens, boardwalks, biomass boilers, a double-walled garden, an ice house, a Japanese garden, tropical greenhouses, wildflower meadows, waterfall, dipping ponds and a ghost forest.

Throughout the year there are guided walks, including some to the less-visited outlying areas of the estate, as well as a programme of seasonal events. With two energetic preschoolers, we particularly love Welly Wednesdays – weekly toddler activity hour at 11am – and are looking forward to the opening of the new play area on 23rd March 2016. Children aside, there’s enough here to keep you coming back again and again to enjoy the changing seasons.

Here’s a few shots from our last visit…

Botanic adventures

This Easter there are even more reasons to plan a visit. NBGW is supporting the nationwide ‘Weekend of Adventure‘ on the 2nd and 3rd of April 2016. Young explorers are invited to ‘Adventure Like Wallace‘ – in honour of  Wales’ most famous scientist, Alfred Russel Wallace – the very first Indiana Jones! Along with new spring lambs, hatching chicks, scavenger hunts, crafts and bird-watching, you can also try your hand at pond-dipping, bug hunts and a wildlife safari.

Also on 2nd and 3rd April, don’t miss the Spring Antiques Fair when BBC Bargain Hunt will be at NBGW for this two-day antiques event run by Derwen Fairs. You’ll find a world of collectibles, curios and all manner of tempting offers and antiquities, alongside the colourful blooms.

National Botanic Garden of Wales Antiques Fair

And that’s not all: nestled deep in the heart of Carmarthenshire, the drive to the National Botanic Garden of Wales takes you through the Tawe Valley – a gorgeous gem of Welsh countryside that causes us to draw breath every time we drive through it. Lush, rugged, rolling hills are dotted with ruined castles that preside over the River Tawe. It’s worth a trip just to gaze out over the valley itself. The NBGW makes an excellent day out in its own right but also combine brilliantly with the National Trust’s Dinefwr Estate, a visit to the market town of Llandeilo, gentile Aberglasney Gardens and the castles of Kidwelly, Carreg Cennen and Paxtons Tower. It is also worth tailoring your day trip around two fantastic eateries in the region: Y Polyn and Wright’s Food Emporium. But I’m not going to say any more – this region, with all it’s delights, is still well under the radar… and I want to be sure that I can enjoy those flower-filled walks and empty tables next time we head north on #50days adventure!

National Botanic Garden of Wales: Need to know

National Botanic Garden of Wales
Middleton Hall
SA32 8HN

Phone: 01558 667149

Open: open every day of the year, except Christmas Eve and Christmas Day.

Times: 1st April – 31 October, 10am-6pm. 1st November – 31st March, 10am-4.30pm

Cost: Adults £9.75, Children £4.95, Family £24, Under fives go free