Thankfully saved from being exported, stone by stone, to Japan, by a couple with a sincere love of the place (you can read their story in Judy Corbett's book 'Castles In The Air'), Gwydir castle was brought back from near-dereliction, and is now open to all. Still not very well known to the casual tourist, basically you can find it by heading into Betwys-y-Coed, crossing the narrow bridge in the centre of the town, and taking the right hand turn. Built ca. 1500, Gwydir is lovely - retaining every bit of its architectural charm and tremendous atmospheric presence. Best of all, for the nominal entrance charge (£4 adults; children £2) you get to wander around without being followed, or presumed upon, as is often the case with some of the more officious personnel at similar National Trust properties. Look out for the celebrated Priest-Hole, and the haunted rooms (my wife said she definitely saw something, so there, you've been warned!).The 10 acre grounds are really beautiful, with peacocks striding around the lawns, and there are plenty of spots for responsible picnics. If you fancy stopping over, there's also a B&B option. And if you leave feeling (understandably) wracked by envy at the couple who own the place, do read their book and see how physically, mentally and financially hard it was to keep the place from falling down.
Visit this amazing place. Lovingly restored by the owners back to its amazing best. Tranquil, peaceful, full of history. the buildings date from the 1500s but over the years neglect and fire led to its near demise. When these guys bought the house it was a shell. Now it is beautiful again. Mind the peacocks!
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