Historic Houses of North Wales
North Wales is home to a tempting range of historic houses, encompassing a broad sweep of Welsh history, from the Medieval and Jacobean eras to Victorian times. All have tales to tell, from the life of luxury upstairs to the unending toil of downstairs, from Napoleonic war heroes to things that go bump in the night…
We start at Erddig Hall, one of the most fascinating houses in Britain due to the unusually close relationship that existed between the family and their servants. On Anglesey we find Plas Newydd, famous for its Whistler mural as well as relics from the Battle of Waterloo, and across the Menai Strait lies Penryhn Castle, typical of the type of house built by wealthy Victorian merchants. Bodrhyddan Hall has been home to the same family since the Middle Ages, while Aberconwy House is one of the oldest datable medieval merchant houses in Wales. Finally we have a private guided tour of Plas Teg, one of the most important Jacobean houses in Wales and also notable for its paranormal activity.
Please note: several of the properties included in this tour are owned by the National Trust and as many of our guests are NT/NTS members, we have not included admission costs for these properties. There is therefore a supplement of £55.00 for non-members.
Travel by luxury coach from London is included, featuring:
- Luxury leather seats with 3-point seat belts and arm rests, facing illuminated tables
- Air conditioning/heating
- Sky TV
- Curtains and privacy glass
- Air suspension
We depart by coach from our local departure points and head for Wales, where our first visit will be to Erddig Hall. Erddig is one of the most fascinating houses in Britain, not least because of the unusually close relationship that existed between the family of the house and their servants. The beautiful and extensive range of outbuildings includes kitchen, laundry, bakehouse, stables, sawmill, smithy and joiner's shop, while the stunning state rooms display most of their original 18th- and 19th-century furniture and furnishings, including some exquisite Chinese wallpaper. The large walled garden has been restored to its 18th-century formal design and has a Victorian parterre and yew walk. It also contains the National Collection of ivies.
We continue to our comfortable accommodation at the Dunoon Hotel, Llandudno, set in a handsome building in this beautifully preserved Victorian seaside town. Dinner is served in the evening.
This morning, after breakfast, we cross the Menai Strait into Anglesey for our visit to Plas Newydd. Set amidst breathtakingly beautiful scenery, this elegant house was redesigned by James Wyatt in the 18th century. The 1930s restyled interior is famous for its Rex Whistler association, containing his largest painting, a magnificent trompe l’oeil mural. A military museum contains relics of the 1st Marquess of Anglesey, who commanded the cavalry (and lost a leg) at the Battle of Waterloo. A woodland walk gives access to a marine walk beside the Menai Strait.
In the afternoon we cross back over Strait and visit Penrhyn Castle, built by Thomas Hopper between 1820 and 1845 for the wealthy Pennant family, who made their fortune from Jamaican sugar and Welsh slate. The castle is crammed with fascinating items including an outstanding collection of paintings and a one-ton slate bed made for Queen Victoria. The kitchen and other servants' rooms, including scullery, larders and chef's sitting room, have all been restored to reveal the preparations for the banquet for the Prince of Wales' visit in 1894. The stable block houses an industrial railway museum, a model railway museum and a superb dolls' museum displaying a large collection of 19th & 20th-century dolls. After touring the house we have time the explore the grounds, which include parkland, an extensive exotic tree and shrub collection and a Victorian walled garden.
We return to the hotel in time for dinner.
After breakfast we depart for Bodrhyddan Hall, a Grade I listed building which has been the home of Lord Langford and his family for over 500 years. Set in several acres of stunning formal gardens and reclaimed woodland, the house is one of the few remaining family-owned stately homes in Wales. Bodrhyddan is largely of 17th century design, though famed architect William E. Nesfield oversaw major renovations in the 1870s which results in the façade that we see today. The house contains an extensive historical collection and notable examples include arms & armour, a variety of fine art and portraits and a 3,000 year old Egyptian mummy & Sarcophagus. A guided tour is included here, after which we have time to explore the gardens, including the formal parterre, flowing lawns and the extensive pleasance.
This afternoon we make our way to the walled market town of Conwy to visit Aberconwy House, one of the oldest datable medieval merchant houses in Wales. We will see furnished rooms and enjoy an audio-visual presentation which shows the daily life from different periods in its history.
After our visit there will be some free time in Conwy, an opportunity perhaps to walk the famous Conwy Suspension Bridge and visit the Toll House and garden, where you will discover how a husband and wife team kept the Thomas Telford’s bridge open every day of the year and during their time as keepers created a vegetable garden and sold any surplus food to people crossing the bridge (entrance to the Toll House is included with Aberconwy).
We return to our hotel where dinner will be served in the evening.
Sadly our time in Wales has come to an end and following breakfast this morning, we will check-out of our hotel and depart for our final visit, Plas Teg, one of the most important Jacobean houses in Wales. Sir John Trevor built Plas Teg in about 1610 in the Jacobean style, utilising the Renaissance concept of symmetry, of proportion and elegance. The house is built upon a cross-hall plan, with the great chamber above and a cross axial gallery to the second floor, which was inspired by Serlio. Due to this, the house was divided into public and service halves on either side of the main hall. The public section included the principal staircase, withdrawing room, parlour, great chamber and study, while the service section included the servant quarters, kitchens, offices, a secondary staircase and a buttery in the north tower. This original design was altered during the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries. Cornelia Bayley purchased Plas Teg in 1986 and has lovingly restored the house back to its former glory. A private guided tour is included here, during which we will also learn about some of the paranormal activity that has been observed here…
We then return to our original departure points, where arrival is expected early in the evening.
- Brightwater Tour Manager
- Local Travel - Private a/c coach
- Meals - All meals included with water (wine with dinners)
- Entries & Tips - Entry to all sites in program; tips included
- Hotels - Accommodation in hand-picked hotels.