Bodnant Garden is a place I’ve looked at longingly over the past few years, but it was only recently that I finally got to visit: with its maze of criss-crossing pathways and abundance of floral beauty, I wasn’t surprised to find myself feeling completely at home.
On the journey over there, the clouds were grey and eerie; the rain poured from the sky like someone had released a bath plug and each droplet bounced off the car like a tiny plastic bullet. With no umbrella and only a light jacket, things weren’t looking good, but just as we pulled into the car park, someone remembered to put the plug back in and the shower of bullets came to a halt.
Once on foot, we traversed back down through the car park and zig-zagged our way underneath the road through the subway. The gardens are ideally located next door to the garden centre; which on a warmer, less wet day would have been lovely to have a meander around before heading back to the car.
The gardens themselves were very impressive; I was in floral heaven. And even though we collected a map on the way in, we still managed to find ourselves lost among the greenery.
We crossed bridges, climbed stairs and meandered down steep slopes; we oohed and aahed like at a firework display, as around every corner we were met with brightly coloured eye candy. There were so many flowers that I’d never seen before and even the one’s I was familiar with, somehow seemed shiny and new.
There were lily ponds where people queued patiently with their camera, waiting to get a prime spot for their shot, while the wild flowers along the borders danced playfully in the wind.
As we made our way down to the bottom of the gardens, a kiosk with a small seating area came into view. With our tummies rumbling from hunger, we rubbed our hands together with glee; but our excitement was short lived as we realised the soup bowl was empty and there was only one sandwich left on the side. We told ourselves we could do a quick sweep of the remaining gardens before heading to the main café back at the car park; but between losing our position on the map and trying to shelter from the rain, it was another two hours before we finally stumbled into the cabin. The jacket potato with salad, which didn’t seem particularly appealing at the time of ordering, turned out to be surprisingly tasty.
With the sun now shining brightly in the sky, we headed back to the car ready for our journey home; but not without a quick detour to have a walk along the beach first. My grandparents used to live in Rhos-on-Sea, so the promenade at Colwyn Bay wasn’t unfamiliar to me. We parked up along the road and then made our way down onto the beach. Feeling a little overdressed due to the weather conditions earlier that day, the sand was awash with people dressed in shorts and swimsuits. We meandered down towards the pier, stopping occasionally to take photographs and examine dead jellyfish washed up on the shore. As we got back into the car for the final time that day, I felt grateful for a day away from the norm and a break from routine.
On the drive back home I looked back through the photos from the day and smiled to myself; I’d finally ticked Bodnant Garden off my list of places to visit.
Notes for visiting Bodnant Garden:
Cost: We paid £8.50 each for entry (including gift aid). A standard ticket was nearly £1 cheaper.
Food: Unless you’re planning on leaving the gardens to eat in either the main café or the garden centre, I would suggest taking a picnic (or at least a substantial snack). On the day we visited it was pretty busy, so the kiosk within the gardens had run out of food. It was the middle of school holidays so I can’t comment on how this compares to term times. Even though the website says that picnics aren’t allowed, we saw many people enjoying their own packed lunches as there are some lovely places to sit and eat. Being almost completely vegan, I should have learnt my lesson by now and taken food anyway! But luckily at the main café, I was able to buy a very tasty lunch.
Camera: Don’t forget your camera! Bodnant Garden is lovely and a camera is a must – there are so many photo opportunities.
Walking: Be prepared for a lot of walking; there are many steps and uneven terrain, so wear comfortable footwear.