In this guest post, Gordon Gray takes a trip to the Wales Botanical Gardens and shares his experience of the world’s largest single span domed greenhouse and many other attractions that he says put the Eden Project to shame.
My wife and I enjoy weekends in Wales to escape from it all every summer and this year was no exception. However, knowing that we were due to go away again, our son bought us a gift experience voucher for entry to the Wales Botanical Gardens, which I’ve often talked about, but never actually gotten around to actually going.
And I have to say that it really is a must see experience.
Even though it was a dull day with the odd shower, there was plenty of interesting viewing to occupy more than four hours in our visit.
The large grounds are divided into several different gardens, each with its own interesting collection and layout. There are grand avenues, smaller paths, several picnic areas, and the distant views are breath taking.
All areas of gardening interest are displayed, from exotic plants, to formal shrubs, to vegetable and fruit patches, to water planting areas, including a Japanese garden and a large lake.
Although the main attraction is the world’s largest single span domed greenhouse which occupies plants from around the world. So on our journey through the greenhouse, we walked from one continent to the next, viewing plants from below and above. Diagrams and photographs on the wall illustrate how they built it, and it is an extraordinary sight.
The dome here also houses a lovely restaurant where we bought some sensible dinners and drinks for only £7!
The double walled garden is beautiful, and well worth a visit. The old apothecary building was very interesting too.
Frankly, this place puts the Eden Project to shame. Even thought it was a bit wet and windy, the entire estate was a pleasure to visit. The beauty is breath taking and the sheer variety of plants an absolute joy for a keen gardener.
Although we were there for the whole day, there were still a few things we didn’t see, including a large nature reserve, which would have required several hours to explore.
But if you do decide to go, I would certainly recommend wearing comfortable shoes, as there is a lot of walking. Waterproof clothing is also a must outside of summer, because everything other than the Great Glasshouse and the small tropical house is open to the elements.
My only complaint would be that we had to wait 40 minutes for the land train to give us a tour and it didn’t seem to be running to a time table. Although the trip was good fun, if a bit chilly and the commentary from the driver was both fascinating and entertaining as well.
So we will definitely revisit when we are in the area again.