Portrait Gallery and Haunted Victorian Manor Hotel
Set on beautiful gentle hillside park land, with views of the North Wales coast a few miles distant, Bodelwyddan Castle is what is sometimes referred to as a Victorian Folly, an building having no purpose but for decoration, but Bodelwyddan Castle is more than that, though taking in a variety of ornamental styles peculiar to Victorian era revival. The original manor house dating from the 1400s was extensively added to and redesigned first in the 1830s and again the 1880s a sign of the wealth of the Williams family from local lead mining, Sir John Hay Williams hired the man who’d designed the ubiquitous Hansom Cab familiar from many a Sherlock Holmes story, Joseph Hansom, and another popular architect Edward Welch to refurbish the castle in an impressive style adding gothic arches, fake archery slits, decorative towers and crenellated faux battlements.
The fortunes of the Williams family owners had so declined by the turn of the century that the house was used as a hospital in WWI and the grounds as a training area for trench warfare. In 1920 the house was taken over by Lowther College, a private school which closed in 1982. Bodelwyddan Castle was put into the hands of a trust with the main manor now housing a branch of the British National Portrait Gallery, displaying portraits in its magnificent Victorian rooms from the National Museum in London with furniture on loan from the Victoria & Albert Museum, and sculpture from the Royal Academy. The Portrait Gallery is open to the public for most of the year. On the extensive grounds are beautiful Victorian Gardens designed by Thomas Hayton Mawson in 1910 entered through a notable arch of Wisteria with a maze and an aviary. Further afield can be found the practice trenches remaining from World War I as part of the nearby Camp Kinmel training grounds.
Bodelwyddan Castle Hotel
Separate from the public portrait rooms of Williams Hall, Bodelwyddan Castle is also hotel, leased in 1994 as part of the Warner Leisure Hotel group of upscale hotels in Grade Listed properties. The hotel features elegant rooms and suites in a castle hotel setting within a half hour of the Victorian seaside resort of Llangollen, the Snowdonia Mountains and the great medieval castles of North Wales. Civil Weddings can be arranged at the castle in a choice of three of the grand Victorian rooms.
Bodelwyddan is of note for its hauntings, featured on the British TV ghost show “Most Haunted”. Many ghostly happenings have been reported over the years, including random shadowy figures in the halls, a World War I soldier in one of the portrait galleries, and a lady hovering around the Sculpture Gallery and perhaps the same woman or another in blue in the Tea Room. Bodelwyddan’s ghosts go mostly unidentified as much of the house’s history records were lost in a fire in the 1920s. Some spooky speculation comes from bones which were discovered within the walls during the reconstruction in the 1830s, with the bones still remaining bricked into the wall. The hotel at Bodelwyddan offers some overnight paranormal investigation experiences and ghost walks, as well a dancing breaks and spooky family sleepovers.
The grounds of the Bodelwyddan Cstle in Denbighshire host a variety of events, notably North Wales' largest Medieval Festival held the second weekend in August and with the castle's ties to warfare, British military recruiting fairs. © Bargain Travel Europe
Find more about Warner Bodelwyddan Castle Hotel
Compare best hotel deals in North Wales on TripAdvisor
Bodelwyddan Castle Museum
These articles are copyrighted and the sole property of Bargain Travel Europe and WLPV, LLC. and may not be copied or reprinted without permission.