Gwydir CastleConwy Valley, Snowdonia
Gwydir Castle and Gardens, Conwy Valley, Snowdonia
Ready to stare terrifying beauty in the face at one of the most haunted houses in Wales? Gwydir Castle, which dates back to the 1500’s, is open to the public for guided tours. Whether it be by yourself, led by the passionate owners reminiscing about tales of the restoration, or by the resident peacocks helping you navigate the grounds, you are bound to enjoy a family day out here. The eerie atmosphere, stunning gardens and fascinating history - this really is a top attraction to visit while in Conwy!
Gwydir Castle is found in the outstanding Conwy Valley, roughly a mile to the west of the ancient market town of Llanrwst. The Grade I listed gardens comprise of 10 acres, surrounded by Gwydir forest and at the edge of River Conwy. A day can be easily spent soaking up the spectacular views and wandering the impressive house, providing the ghosts don’t scare you away, that is! The information cards and visitor guidebook really do help bring the history of the castle alive. You dare not miss it!
Gwydir Castle is part of the Gwydir estate, originally owned by The Coetmores who built the hall range, the earliest surviving part of the house. Further additions and rebuilds were carried out in later years such as the Elizabethan Porch and garden during the 1590’s. Katherine of Berain (cousin of Queen Elizabeth I, no less!), Inigo Jones, Lord Leicester and the translator of the first Welsh Bible were just a few of the historical figures that have links to the estate. Walking through the halls of 16th-century fortress will make you feel like royalty as you retrace the steps of many influential people and view the magnificent house through their eyes. It is not hard to see why entertaining royalty became a long-standing tradition at Gwydir Castle.
The current owners, Peter Welford and Judy Corbett, bought the castle in 1994 and have since restored the house and gardens. The interior is now furnished with their own collection of period furniture, which is a delight to see. The newly reinstated 1640’s dining room includes fine panelling and carving which was recovered from the Metropolitan Museum in New York in 1996. The tale of the restoration is told in the autobiography ‘Castles in the Air’ written by Judy Corbett. It was the owner's quest to return the castle to its former glory, and all that was involved to make this a reality is detailed in the book. Reading this before a visit enables you truly appreciate the building and makes the whole experience that much more enjoyable! That said, you can still enjoy a day exploring the house and gardens without a detailed knowledge of the history of the building.
The glorious gardens alone make a visit to Gwydir well worth it! Steeped in history themselves, the gardens are one of the finest and only surviving examples of a formal garden from the Tudor and Stuart periods. There have been some later additions to these gardens, but overall the grounds have been awarded Grade I status for their authenticity to the period, which makes a visit here very special indeed. There are garden arches dating back to the 16th century, yew trees that are thought to be pre-1700 and a Cedar of Lebanon tree planted in 1625 to honour the marriage of King Charles I! This is all just a taster because there is so much to see and discover here. These gorgeous gardens are ideal for romantic strolls, and a wonderful paradise for older families to wander through and relax!
After a walk through the house and the gardens, you can end the day at Gwydir Uchaf Chapel which is set above Gwydir Castle in the woods. A peek at the breathtaking painted ceiling is a great ending to a great day! Better yet, you can always visit when there is an event on. If you send an email with your details to the owners directly they will let you know when the theatre (in the garden) or chamber music events (in the castle) are happening so you don’t miss out!
1st April - 31st October
10am - 4pm, five days a week (closed Mondays and Saturdays)
Also open August Bank Holiday: 10am - 4pm
Limited openings at other times - so we would suggest calling beforehand to avoid possible disappointment.Guided tours can be enjoyed with prior arrangement - minimum of 20 people
Phone number: 01492 641687
No designated picnic area, but guests are welcome to bring their own picnics to have in the garden.
Small parking area - free of charge.
Guide dogs only allowed - please call the owners in advance to inform them of your time of arrival so they can put their own dogs away!
Other useful info
Gwydir Uchaf Chapel is just a two minute car journey or a short walk back down the main road (B5106 - Heading south-east) taking a right hand turn slightly uphill on a small slip road (the chapel is signposted). You follow the bend and continue on that road where you will find the chapel.
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