The National Trust own four world heritage sites, are responsible for 775 miles of the UK coast line, gravity was discovered at one of their properties as was the first ever received radio transmission. They have the second largest membership base in the UK, have 60,000 volunteers working for them, own and run 61 pubs across the UK and serve over 4.5 million cups of tea each year.
It is also said that more people visit a National Trust property at the weekend in the UK than attend a football match – that’s quite a feat to be more popular than our national sport. So if you are one of those who isn’t currently gripped by the World Cup, you might be more interested in what the National Trust has on offer here in North Wales, after all, we are a land steeped in myth and legends. Here are our favorite National Trust Properties in North Wales…
Set on the North Coast in between the Snowdonia Mountains and the Menai Straits, this romantic 19c Castle is a real national treasure. It is famed for its art collection but there are other quirks of the place that really make it worth a visit.
The grand staircase which is carved stone to look like marble is truly breathtaking as are the state rooms, especially with the hand painted chinese wallpaper. The slate bed that was commissioned and installed for Queen Victoria’s visit is fascinating – more for the story of how they bought it in and secured the floors and ceilings due to the sheer weight of it.
There are also beautiful and diverse gardens at Penrhyn Castle along with a railway museum dedicated to the locomotives that were used is the Penrhyn Slate Quarry which is where the original fortune to build the castle was made.
This house of the former Marquess Of Anglesey has its original roots in the military. The family title was received for bravery at the Battle of Waterloo. As well as one of the best military uniform museums the country has to offer, you will see actual flags that were flown on the battle ground. However, it is the painting by Rex Whistler which is the real show stopper of this house. The largest painting in the UK, it is a canvas which takes up the entire wall of the dining room. It is particularly famous for how when looked at from different angles, you will see different things. It is certainly worth visiting just to experience the painting.
Whilst the house itself is not as ‘grand’ as some of the others, its history and stories of scandal and intrigue more than make up for it – fascinating stories of smuggling contraband through secret tunnels from the Menai Straits, the obligatory family member who squandered the family fortune and those that followed to build it up again. It is a relatively recent addition to the National Trust and that is apparent – you walk through rooms that feel lived in and you could imagine yourself sitting on the sofa!
This 17c Manor House dates back to the Tudor times with its family being descendants of the King of Powys. After years of family sagas and disputes, it was left to ruin until 1939 when the Keating sisters from Nottingham and London bought it and restored the house and its gardens to their former glory.
Three unmarried, well travelled sisters came with their widowed mother to Rhiw and whilst restoring the house also campaigned for the conservation of the local area. The house is as they left it and it is a real travel back into time – pieces from around the world, including Japan and beautiful clothes from their younger days on the London social circuit. The garden is the only organic garden owned by the National Trust and overlooks Hells Mouth and the Snowdonia Mountains beyond. There is a tearoom at the house. Rhiw is also home to a waterfall that falls onto the beach – beautiful and for more information, follow this link: Hidden Coves On The Llyn Peninsula.
Bodant Gardens are the first gardens to be taken on by the National Trust. 150 years old, these gardens are filled with exotic and rare species from all around the world. The Victorian Industrialist, Henry Porchin bought Bodnant Hall in 1874 as a place for he and his wife to retire. With strong associations with the plant explorers at the time, the gardens were landscaped to display specimen plants that were being returned from these visits to the Americas, China and Japan.
The gardens are split into two predominant sections. The upper garden is where you will find the terraces, informal lawns and pools – the world famous 55m long Laburnum arch is here (f you want to see this in all its glory, June is the time to visit). The Dell is where you will see many of the Asian plants including the Rhododendrons, Japanese Azaleas and the 100 year old conifers.
There is a great craft village and food shop on the site as well as a cafe that offers teas, coffees and lunches.
This is an old fishing village based in Nefyn on the Llyn Peninsula. It’s probably most famous for its local pub; The Ty Coch Inn. The Ty Coch has made it into the top 10 beach bars in the world and has had famous faces like Demi Moore and David Cameron grace its oustide walls!
Porthdinllaen itself is a sheltered bay and so great for enjoying sports like SUP, kayaking etc. There is an information centre so you can learn more about the rich history it has as a key shipping port from Ireland in its hey day. There is also a world class golf course you have to go through in order to get the beach and so if you want to combine the two, this makes for a perfect day out. For more information on the golf course, please click here: Where To Play Golf In North Wales