A little corner of the Loire Valley to be found in Wales; Château Rhianfa is a very unique Grade II listed French style villa in Beaumaris on the Island of Anglesey. Dating back to 1849, it was architecturally inspired by the original owner’s travels through the Loire region of France and is now a place to enjoy one of Britain’s most enchanting rural areas; North Wales, by day, and by evening, the elegance of old, aristocratic, France.
It has 22 stylish rooms and suites to choose from as well as 3 acres of landscaped gardens, a private beach and a host of on-site facilities; top quality restaurants & bars, a sauna and hot tub, banquet rooms, wine cellars, games rooms and tennis courts.
All sorts of activities can be arranged at the property too such as cocktail making classes, wine tasting, RIB speed boat trips and even the ancient sport of falconry.
In the castle itself there are 22 elegant rooms, with traditional furnishings and many period features, but also modern comforts; flat screen cable TV, WiFi, DAB radio and luxury en-suite bathrooms. There are also a couple of lodge suites on the grounds which can offer guests more privacy and more space.
You can enjoy some fabulous views from the rooms and from all around château Rhianfa, with the waters of the Menai Straits just on front and the mountains of Snowdonia in the distance.
The highly regarded on-site restaurant Le Dragon Rouge has a range of French and British dishes on offer, and with outdoor dining possible in fine weather. Their a la carte breakfast is also top quality and can be served in the restaurant or to your room. Guests can enjoy a stroll through the castle and a stop at the lounges & bars, the piano room, the games room and also arrange guided tours of the extensive wine cellars.
The gardens too are wonderful to explore; they are landscaped in traditional Victorian style but with some classic French touches, and the views, as mentioned before, are wonderful.
Enchanting as Château Rhianfa is many guests can happily end up never venturing outside of the castle grounds. But for those that do, between Anglesey Island and Snowdonia National Park you will be spoiled for things to see and do, from historical and cultural sights to amazing scenery and sporting activities.
Beaumaris Castle is just over four miles away and is undoubtedly one of Wales’ historical highlights. It was the last of Edward I’s 13th century castle building program in Wales, which was eventually to become crucial to the Norman-English control of the country. Described as Britain’s “most perfect example of symmetrical concentric planning” it was seen as a quite revolutionary, futuristic approach to defensive castle building and remains to this day a very formidable sight.
It was built with an outer ward guarded by a moat, twelve towers and two gate houses and an inner ward with a further six towers and two gate houses. At its core there were facilities for domestic buildings and accommodation and one of its gates was also designed to be accessed only by ship thus allowing it to be supplied by sea even in the event it was under attack from land.
It a UNESCO World Heritage site, with the organization describing it as one of “the finest examples of late 13th century and early 14th century military architecture in Europe”. Certainly a must see in Anglesey, if not in all of North Wales.
Wales, and North Wales particularly might not be known for its vineyards but, and following on with the French theme, just 16 miles from Château Rhianfa there is Pont du Vineyard, where the Huws family have, against the odds, been producing their own wine in the shadow of Snowdonia since 2010. They offer tours of the vineyards as well as wine tasting of course, and it makes for a uniquely interesting day out.
The spectacular Snowdonia National Park probably doesn’t need any introduction, being as it is one of Britain’s rural highlights. It is just 15 minute’s drive from the château and is a wonderland of stunning scenery.
There are plenty of sports to be enjoyed in the local area too, from tennis and falconry on the castle grounds to kayaking, white water rafting, zip-lining, rock climbing, golf, cycling and hiking, as well as bird watching around the rocky coastline.
There is also much more to see and do, in the immediate area and farther afield, too much to mention here. The staff at the château will always be at hand though with good advice and recommendations and they can also arrange all sorts of tours and trips, including bespoke tours in the surrounding area and beyond.
The Château dates back to 1849 when Sir John Hay Williams, Baronet of Bodelwyddan, set about the construction of a dower house for his wife, Lady Sarah, in the event of his death.
Dower houses are usually not showpiece properties and the original design was reportedly far less ambitious but as construction commenced imagination, artistic endeavor and a keen sense of francophilia led it to quickly become the centre point of the estate and also one of North Wales’ most talked about Victorian era buildings.
Students of architecture will note it is particularly reminiscent of châteaux from the era of Francois I (1515 – 1547), where in France itself some of the best examples can still be found at Chaumont, Chambord, Chenonceau and Amboise.
Address: Plas Rhianfa, Menai Bridge
Isle of Anglesey
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