I came across Gwydir Castle while browsing Conwy’s tourist page and immediately decided that it was somewhere I wanted to see. As already mentioned in the post about Llanrwst, the town is easy to get to by train and the castle is a pleasant roughly 20 minute walk from the station. It isn’t open every day so you really must check dates and times before you travel. Admission is currently £10 for adults.
Gwydir is considered to be one of the finest Tudor houses in Wales (not to mention the most haunted!) and was the former home of the Wynn family (you may remember them from my visit to Plas Mawr). The oldest part of the building dates from the 14th century but around 1500 it was acquired and rebuilt by Meredith ap Ieuan ap Robert founder of the Wynn family. As always, modifications were made throughout the centuries.
In the 1570s it was home to Katherine of Berain, known as the Mother of Wales and a cousin of Elizabeth I and it flourished as an important cultural and political base for centuries. But times change, fortunes decline and in 1921 the contents of the castle were auctioned off. This included the panelling of two rooms which were purchased by William Randolph Hearst, the famous US newspaper tycoon. One of these would eventually be found in 1996 in a warehouse belonging to the Metropolitan Museum in New York and after what sounds like increasingly complicated negotiations were eventually reunited with Gwydir by Peter Welford and Judy Corbett who had bought the castle in 1994 and continue to run it today.
Photography isn’t allowed inside so I can only show exterior shots but the castle is well worth a visit to see for yourself the hard work the new owners have put in to restoring the building. There are also some lovely gardens to explore, one of very few Grade I listed gardens in Wales. I was blessed with very good weather so it was nice to be able to sit outside for a bit and admire the scenery – Tudor, Stuart and nineteenth century elements are all present.
I enjoyed spotting some of the statues and water features around the gardens. The second picture shows the fountain jet that is gravity fed – channelled along from Grey Mare’s Tail, a waterfall half a mile away.
And of course no visit to Gwydir Castle is complete without a mention of the resident peacocks. I counted around 20 on my visit at least, though I’m sure there’s actually more than that. They were very friendly and inquisitive (perhaps a bit too much in fact – this one was particularly interested in the contents of my bag!)
I really enjoyed my visit here and was impressed by all the restoration works. You can find more photos here.
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