Castles of North Wales – Penrhyn Castle

May 16, 2016
Tim Coysh

Overlooking the Menai Straits and Anglesey, Penrhyn Castle, near Bangor in North Wales is an enormous, unashamedly ostentatious and decadent castle, crammed with fascinating items including a one-ton slate bed made for Queen Victoria. It has an outstanding collection of paintings, mock Norman furniture, elaborate carvings and plasterwork.

The current Penrhyn Castle was built between 1820 and 1833 for George Hay Dawkins Pennant by the famous architect Thomas Hopper. With his unorthodox style, Hopper rejected current fashion, opting instead for Gothic architecture, choosing a neo-Norman design. In 1840, with the castle finished, George Hay Dawkins Pennant died. His daughter, Juliana, inherited Penrhyn. She, in turn, married Edward Gordon Douglas. He later became the 1st Lord Penrhyn of Llandegai. In 1951 Penrhyn Castle came under the care of The National Trust.

The beautiful and extensive gardens and grounds around Penrhyn Castle were created by Walter Speed, Head Gardener between 1862 – 1921 and seen as one of the best gardeners of his generation.

The fabulous grounds, glorious views and jaw-dropping castle interior can certainly work up an appetite! Not to worry, they’ve got that covered. Situated in the large stable block, the new café was once the stable dispensary. It now serves as the perfect pit stop for a well-earned ‘panad’ or cuppa. You can take the weight off your weary feet in view of the locomotive museum and there’s even a mini train set to play with.

And you can’t visit a National Trust property without trying a scone or full afternoon tea!  Just off the rear courtyard the Castle tea-room serves hot and cold drinks, a selection of fresh sandwiches and hot food including home-made soup, and paninis. If you fancy something sweet choose one of their freshly baked cakes, made by the baker at Penrhyn Castle.

Penrhyn Castle offers lots of free activities during 2016 (castle admission applies). Penrhyn Castle hosts a free, weekly parkrun at 9am sharp, every Saturday morning. Take in some stunning views whilst running the 5K route.

Only 60 of the 300 rooms are usually open to the public but if you take advantage of one of the eight free specialist tours organised throughout June 2016, you’ll see behind the scenes with the conservation team.

During three days in July and August, why not check out the Castle Fun Days, offering free family fun including games on the lawn, crafts, storytelling and fun trails for explorers of all ages.

Inside the castle the age-specific quizzes for the children and the chance to find little teddies with coloured bows hidden throughout the rooms will keep the interest for all ages. For children, outside there’s also a fun adventure playground and gym hidden amongst the shrubs The number and quality of events makes Penrhyn Castle a great choice for a day of family fun so plan ahead with to make the most of what Penrhyn Castle has to offer.

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