Tyntesfield has been on my Bristol bucket list for as long as I can remember, so with Spring in full bloom, it seemed like the perfect time to finally make a visit to this beautiful National Trust site in North Somerset.
Located just 7 miles outside of Bristol, Tyntesfield is the ideal place to escape the hustle and bustle of the city for a day. It still blows my mind that within 15 minutes from the city centre, you can find yourself in rolling hills and idyllic English countryside – just one of the many reasons I love living in Bristol!
With acres of gorgeous parkland and woodland trails, Tyntesfield estate is worth a visit in all seasons but with the gardens bursting into life and the grass greener than ever, this is somewhere you can’t miss during spring-time.
A little bit about the Tyntesfield Estate
First things first… a little bit of history for you. In the mid 1800s, the Tyntesfield property was bought by businessman and philanthropist, William Gibbs and his family – the richest “commoner” in England, at the time. Gibbs spent most of his working life in London but needed somewhere to stay, when on business in Bristol, so he built this beautiful family estate as a “home away from home” (as you do!) It was handed down to generation, after generation, of the Gibbs family, each leaving their own unique mark on the property.
The estate was eventually sold to the National Trust in 2002, after the last member of the Gibbs family died, and the house has been carefully restored ever since. Today, it is one of the most popular heritage attractions in Somerset and has even featured in a number of well-known films and TV shows, including Sherlock.
Planning your visit to Tyntesfield
Getting to Tyntesfield:
Located just 15-20 minutes outside of Bristol, Tyntesfield can be easily reached by car or public transport. All-day parking costs £5 per vehicle, or is free if you’re a National Trust member.
There’s a 20% discount in the shop and cafe for all visitors who travel sustainably to Tyntesfield – either by bike, public transport or on foot. The nearest train station is Nailsea and Backwell, which is 4 miles from the entrance. Alternatively, the X6 bus departs from Bristol bus station to Tyntesfield every hour and it’s a 15 minute walk from the bus-stop on Clevedon Road to the entrance.
There are two types of ticket available, when planning your visit to Tyntesfield:
– Entrance to the house, gardens and estate (£16.50 a standard ticket plus optional Gift Aid)
– Gardens and estate only (£10.20 a standard ticket plus optional Gift Aid)
Timed visiting slots are in operation for the main house and you can check availability here. Tickets can be pre-booked by calling 0344 249 1895 or are available on a first-come-first-serve basis from the Ticket Office.
Read more: Tickets and pricing at Tyntesfield.
Top tip: Just before you reach the Ticket Office, there’s a lovely little courtyard with a food truck in the centre. Here, you can grab a coffee or try some local Marshfield Farm ice cream, while eyeing up some of the gorgeous plants for sale in the yard. There’s also a cute, little second-hand bookshop at the entrance that’s worth a browse!
Tyntesfield is incredibly dog-friendly, which means there’s no reason to leave your four-legged friend behind. Our 7-month old Golden Retriever, Marnie, loved all the woodland trails and vast grounds (not to mention the huge amounts of fuss she received from the lovely National Trust staff!)
Dogs on a short lead can go anywhere apart from inside the historic buildings; the walled gardens; and the rose garden (judging by Marnie’s impressive digging skills in our own backyard, I can completely understand the logic behind this one!) Dogs are also welcome in the cafe and restaurant, so you can enjoy a coffee break with your furry friend by your side.
Read more: Exploring Tyntesfield with a dog.
What to see and do at Tyntesfield
Once you’ve purchased your tickets, you’ll be handed a map of the Tyntesfield Estate and Gardens, with all the main points of interest clearly marked. As we were visiting with Marnie, we bought tickets for the gardens and estate, only, but we still ended up spending a good couple of hours exploring. If you’re visiting the house, as well, you’ll want to allow at least 3-4 hours to see everything.
Here are some of the top attractions to look out for:
The Chaplain’s House
Just beyond the main entrance, you’ll arrive at the Chaplain’s House – a quaint Tudor-style cottage, with timber frames and honey-coloured stone. You’ll spot the first signs of spring here, with pretty yellow flowers in bloom alongside the path. I didn’t realise it, at the time, but you can actually hire out this adorable property as a holiday home!
As you follow the trail around, the Chapel is the first part of the house that you’ll see. I thought the building looked familiar and, sure enough, it was inspired by the gorgeous architecture of Saint Chapelle in Paris. Every year, the chapel hosts Christmas concerts led by local choirs – definitely a reason to return during the festive season.
At the heart of the estate is the main house itself: a stunning Victorian mansion, with Gothic carvings, grand turrets, and distinctive Bath Stone. Dogs aren’t allowed into the house, so we happily admired the extravagant exteriors whilst enjoying the sunshine!
If you do have tickets to enter the house, you can tour the ornate rooms and discover the largest collection owned by the National Trust. There are more than 60,000 items of the Gibbs’ family, on display; from fine furniture and paintings to a grand Victorian library full of old books.
The formal terraces outside the main house are one of the most impressive features of the estate. At this time of year, they are overflowing with colourful tulips and pretty flower-beds, making the house look even more majestic.
This is a good time to stop for a break in the Pavillion Cafe, just a little further on from the Terraces. Whether you want a quick cuppa or a quintessentially English cream tea, you can enjoy a relaxing break here with incredible views over the Yeo Valley. There’s also an excellent play-area here, if you’re visiting with kids.
Read more: Visiting Tyntesfield with kids.
The Orangery and gardens
The historic Orangery was one of my favourite parts of Tyntesfield. A completely derelict site, when it came into the hands of the National Trust, the Orangery has been gradually restored over the years by trainee craftspeople and the result is magnificent. On a sunny day, you could easily mistake this for the Mediterranean, rather than rural Somerset!
The flowers in the cut gardens were bursting into life during our visit and are used for the flower arrangements in the main house today. Be sure to take a peek inside the glass-house, too, which is full of lemon trees and exotic, sweet-smelling plants.
The Rose Garden is one of the final areas on the walking trail and leaves quite the lasting impression. With beautifully tiled Victorian gazebos, and row upon row of brightly coloured roses, this peaceful little nook is the perfect place to stop and relax, before heading home.
This is one of the few areas that dogs aren’t allowed into, so I had Marnie’s eyes boring into me as I snapped some pics and quickly admired the roses!
Before you leave, be sure to explore some of the gardens and parkland around the Tyntesfield estate – 540 acres to be precise! There are plenty of pretty spots to sit for a while and enjoy the views of the idyllic Somerset countryside and the beautiful manor house itself, cloaked in Spring blossom.
I can’t believe it took me so long to visit Tyntesfield but I have a feeling this is going to become one of our regular haunts, especially as it’s so dog-friendly! If you’re planning a visit, there’s really no better time to experience this beautiful National Trust site.
Visiting elsewhere in South West England? Check out my guides to exploring this beautiful part of the UK.