Have you ever wandered around a National Trust country house and wished that you could stay the night? Well a majestic estate in the Northern tip of Wales offers this exclusive experience; introducing Bodysygallen Hall. Purchased by Richard Broyd in the 1980s, the architectural enthusiast and philanthropist sought to restore the glory and importance of this building, and in doing so transform it into a hotel. What’s more, by donating his company, Historic House Hotels, to the National Trust in 2008, Bodysgallen Hall will be looked after and maintained for many generations to come. This winter I ventured beyond the velvet rope and experienced a remarkable historic building, close-up.
Bodysgallen Hall is located within an almighty 220 acres of garden and parkland. The meandering driveway takes you up a slow and gradual hill, picturesquely guided by moss covered drystone walls and fields of sheep.
The gardens are often referred to as the finest of any hotel in Wales, and you can see why on immediate glance. They’re manicured in areas and left to nature’s devices in others; and include a rare 17th century parterre of box hedges filled with sweet-scented herbs, a rockery with a cascade, a walled rose garden, miniature hedge mazes and several follies hidden around. You’ll feel transported to somewhere that feels almost Italian and majestic, and it’s easy to spend hours doing laps around the grounds, finding something new each time.
For the bold outdoor types who aren’t done with their wellies just yet, several woodland walks enhance the outdoor experience at Bodysgallen Hall. Search for the Gothic Tower and the Obelisk located on top of Ffrith Hill – a nature trail like no other.
Gorgeous as the garden grounds are, let’s not forget the grand accommodation itself – after all, it’s winter, and a warm refuge is needed. The reception room of the Hall is spellbinding on arrival; through a large gothic door, experience dimmed and cosy lighting, antiques filling the walls, crackling open fires, little nooks with plump sofas and historic books to get lost in.
Nearby on the ground floor you have a communal library lounge, perfect for a glass of champagne and canapes as you admire the fine paintings. A traditional bar room sits opposite, serving classic and signature cocktails. The general ambience of the hotel is truly intoxicating; feeling like a murder mystery setting in the most complimentary of ways.
The staff are utterly exceptional, subtly getting to know your daily preferences without ever imposing or you knowing. The hotel offers 31 spacious bedrooms, a combination of rooms in the main house and cottages within the grounds. My particular dwelling was the Bailiffs’ Cottage; the most charming home-from-home. With its pastel blue door, you enter a living room complete with countryside couches, a desk to scribble down your postcard stories, and a mini separate kitchen incase you opt for a quiet night in. Upstairs is a grand room complete with king sized bed and tapestry print throws adorned over it, and a modern bathroom next door.
The views from your room stretch out to the rolling hills and landscaped gardens; utter bliss, completely private, and feeling like for one-night-only you’re the proud custodian of this sacred land and estate. Wake up fresh and early to revitalise yourself further with a trip to the on-site spa. Whether it’s a few tranquil laps of the mosaic-lined pool, a gym session, or a restoring facial or body treatment, you’ll be spoilt for choice.
The hotel’s award winning restaurant is an experience in its own right. Awarded 3 AA Rosettes, you can expect the best, and with any expectations exceeded. Serving traditional Welsh cuisine with modern flair, it’s fine dining but with a somewhat homely flavour.
The hotel offers a front row experience to vibrant Llandudno, the Victorian seaside town with a history that goes back to the Bronze Age. Offering something for everyone, its humble charm makes it a great all-year-round destination for holidaymakers. There’s an authentic Victorian pier, historic castles, farm parks for children and amazing delis to enjoy local specialities. Those looking for a stronger tipple look no further than the Penderyn Whisky Distillery. Book a guided tour and get a flavour (quite literally) of this traditional and prided drink, from locals who are truly passionate about their craft.
The hotel also offers wonderful views of World Heritage Conwy with its rich maritime past and famous Conwy Castle; one of Wales’ UNESCO World Heritage Sites. Visitors simply must climb to the top of one of its eight towers to be rewarded by a stunning view over Conwy and the surrounding area. You can also investigate and explore the inner and outer wards of the castle, which completely enclose Conwy town. Stroll to the harbour and you’ll also stumble upon the UK’s officially smallest home – which only adds to the folklore charm and wonder of this area. Pose for a photo outside and you’ll look larger than life.
While staying at Bodysgallen Hall, guests also have the opportunity to visit other National Trust properties nearby (complimentary to their stay), which couldn’t be recommend enough. This includes Bodnant Garden, a historic Grade 1 listed horticultural gem. Oh yes, garden fans are being spoilt in this northern quarter of Wales.
Nestled at the tip of North Wales, Bodysgallen Hall & Spa offers visitors an authentic and unique experience; one mixed with Welsh culture, traditional grandeur, and modern indulgent touches. Whether you want to lay back and enjoy the fine dining and spa facilities, or be a Snowdonia explorer, Bodysgallen Hall caters for it all.
Llandudno, North Wales, LL30 1RS, United Kingdom
- How much?
B&B priced from £280 per night based on two sharing