Walk this Wye this Winter at Llangoed Hall – Wales
17 Nov 2015
• Award-winning Llangoed Hall offers a unique country house experience in the heart of Wales in the Wye Valley, a stone’s throw from the Brecon Beacons
• Recognised for its fine Welsh cuisine and now included The Good Food Guide 2016
• View Sir Bernard Ashley’s art collection and Laura Ashley’s personal photographs and designs and interiors including her original wallpaper and first garment
Llangoed Hall is a classically restored Jacobean country house hotel set in 17 acres of landscaped grounds in the Wye Valley in mid-Wales, with breathtaking views across the surrounding woodlands and fields to the Black Mountains.
The mansion house is built on the site of Llangoed Castle. In 1912, Clough Williams-Ellis (who designed the Italianate village of Portmeirion, immortalised by the cult TV series, The Prisoner) re-designed it as a country house, retaining the original Jacobean porch.
After Laura Ashley’s premature death, 30 years ago, her husband Sir Bernard Ashley bought Llangoed in her memory. The 23 bedrooms of the Grade II-listed hotel are individually decorated with antiques, floral fabrics and heavily patterned wallpapers – some with original Laura Ashley wallpaper.
Sir Bernard’s own art collection, including paintings, drawings and sculpture by Whistler, Augustus John and Dame Laura Knight are displayed throughout the house, and in the hotel’s Picture Gallery.
The emphasis is on comfort and relaxation. There’s no reception desk, and guests can help themselves to drinks from the honesty bar in the spacious drawing room. Dotted around the hotel are alcoves with sofas for guests to recline with a novel.
There’s a billiard room, croquet lawn, and country pursuits such as archery, fishing, falconry and mountain biking close by. Llangoed is also the perfect location for hearty winter walks, whether visitors prefer to ramble across the grounds down to the River Wye, or explore the surrounding area. Officially designated an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, the Wye Valley has peaceful riverside pathways and quiet wooded glades, picture-postcard villages and historic market towns.
Llangoed is a short drive away from the Brecon Beacons National Park (the Beacons were named after the ancient practice of lighting fires on mountains to warn of invaders). Here you’ll find some of the most dramatic landscape in the UK. Six main peaks dominate the skyline – the highest, Pen y Fan at 886m, is the tallest mountain in Snowdonia.
The area is also a great place for stargazing (granted International Dark Sky Reserve status). Back at the hotel, you can view the stars with Llangoed’s house telescope.
Only nine miles away, the market town of Hay-on-Wye is bookshop heaven (Jane Fonda, Sting, Salman Rushdie and Lauren Bacall have all stayed at Llangoed Hall during the annual Hay Literary Festival in May).
After a day exploring, guests can return to the hotel for traditional afternoon tea, and at Llangoed this is given a personal twist. The Laura Ashley Afternoon Tea includes a glass of Elderflower Champagne, a selection of floral teas, finger sandwiches, scones and various cakes all served on bespoke Caverswall crockery inspired by Laura’s design style.
In the evening, Llangoed offers an intimate fine dining experience, with exquisite dishes based on hearty local produce such as tender Welsh lamb and Wye salmon served in the candle-lit, panelled three AA Rosette-awarded restaurant.
Head Chef Nick Brodie takes inspiration from the hotel’s organic kitchen garden exemplified by a tartare of Welsh Black Beef using wild mushrooms and pine tree powder foraged from the grounds. His dishes combine fresh local ingredients with fruit and vegetables grown on-site. Chickens, ducks and quails provide eggs and the smokehouse on site adds a new dimension to dishes.
Guests can stroll in the vast kitchen gardens – with their 24 varieties of apple from trees rooted in the rich soil of the Wye Valley – and explore what may appear on the evening’s menu.
Unusually for a country house hotel, Llangoed Hall even offers non-meat eaters a special five-course vegetarian tasting menu including mushroom fricassee with soft polenta and salt-baked pear and scorched leek with Llangoed egg mimosa, brown butter, artichoke and parsley.
Each bedroom is decorated with rich fabrics, antique mirrors, Roberts radios and cast-iron baths. Many have four-poster beds. There’s even a decanter of sherry in your room. It’s like stepping back in time, except for the TV and free wi-fi.
Treasured framed photographs of the Ashley family through the years are dotted around the hotel along with iconic design moments such as black and white campaign photographs for Laura Ashley from the 1970s.
Managing Director Calum Milne, who worked with Sir Bernard Ashley, and then returned to refurbish and re-launch the hotel, has passionately maintained and developed a wonderful story for guests to discover this autumn and winter.
Christmas at Llangoed Hall
Why not spend the festive break in magical surroundings? Christmas Eve commences with a rousing performance of carols by a Welsh male Voice Choir, then a champagne reception, followed by a four-course dinner and trip to the beautiful local church for midnight mass with warm mince pies and mulled wine. On Christmas Day, after Bucks Fizz and canapés, enjoy a magnificent six-course luncheon. Tea and mince pies are served in the afternoon and later on and for those guests who can manage it a light buffet dinner will bring Christmas night to a close. Boxing Day sees the annual clay pigeon shooting competition and a Winter Pimms with warm mince pies is served to keep the cold at bay! For those guests who are feeling energetic, there is a beautiful river walk. Tea and Christmas cake are served in the afternoon; with music for the evening. After dinner, there will be a few casino tables for guests who wish to try their luck! From £750 per person per package, for a 3-day break. Based on two people sharing.
Llangoed Hall, Llyswen, Brecon, Powys LD3 0YP 01874 754525 Twitter@ TheLlangoedHall
A night at Llangoed Hall is priced from £150.00 B&B based on two sharing