This week we would like to tell you about one of our best attractions to visit during the Autumn months. Plas Newydd in Llangollen has captured the imagination since the 18th century as the home to the Ladies of Llangollen, Lady Eleanor Butler and Miss Sarah Ponsonby, from 1780 – 1829. They set up home there after eloping from Ireland to set up house together. They became celebrated throughout the country as the story of their close friendship spread through Regency Society. They received a stream of visitors to the unpretentious little cottage which, over the years, they transformed into a Gothic fantasy with stained glass and elaborately carved oak. You too can take tea, as Wordsworth, Sir Walter Scott and the Duke of Wellington have all done before you.
Originally a five-roomed stone cottage, over the years the house was enlarged to include many gothic features. The house retains the Gothic features they introduced.
Plas Newydd is set in peaceful gardens surrounded by trees and include the font from the nearby Valle Crucis Abbey. The circle of stones in the grounds of Plas Newydd were used for the 1908 Llangollen National Eisteddfod.
We went to chat to Paul and Gail who manage Plas Newydd to hear about their latest developments. There is plenty going on to pique the interest in Plas Newydd. From a topiary workshop and live outdoor theatre production during the summer months to weekly outdoor yoga classes as part of a Nature for Health project. They have hosted weddings, with tepees in the garden, by couples wanting to make the most of the fabulous views of the house with Dinas Bran Castle in the background as well as the well maintained gardens which are looked after with the help of an army of volunteers. Improvements have been made recently to gardens with new benches made from a tree which sustained damages in a storm, the community helped to rebuild a path and they have levelling up funding to rebuild a Victorian ram pump which was built in 1876 to move water from the Dell to the house.
They are currently (until the end of October ) exhibiting the costumes from the Gentleman Jack series. Set in the 1830s in Yorkshire, it stars Suranne Jones as landowner and industrialist Anne Lister. The series is based on the collected diaries of Lister (1791-1840), which contain over four million words and are written largely in secret code, documenting her life. Anne Lister visited the ladies and was in awe of their lifestyles. It is interesting to note that the costume designers for the show took inspiration from the ladies real life style- in particular their top hats. Plas Newydd has understandably gained a popular following by the LGBT community.
More recently staff and volunteers at Plas Newydd to help create a stronger natural habitat for local pollinators to enjoy.
Plug planting was carried out in the orchard and woodland area of Plas Newydd’s grounds as part of the site’s new Bee Friendly status which aims to support the recovery of bees and other pollinators.
The wildflowers will help create a more colourful, diverse and stronger biodiversity around the grounds for local nature and visitors to enjoy.
They will also provide bees and other pollinators with food through the year which supports our own food chain. Taking away this habitat reduces support for nature’s pollinators, impacting on our own food chain as they support the growth of most of our fruit and vegetables.
You can follow Plas Newydd on Instagram their feed is as vibrant as the leaves in the garden right now. You can sign up to their newsletter here for news and information of future events. To find out about a circular bus that takes in all the attractions in the area including Plas Newydd click here.
Open every day from
1st April to 31st October
10am to 4pm
Tickets for entry into the House can be purchased from the Tearooms.
The gardens are free to enter.
The gates are closed each evening at sunset.
Dogs on leads are welcome.
If you enjoyed this blog you can read more about a foraging trip we did last year there.