High on Pydew Mountain, Bodysgallen Hall and Spa’s rooms give spectacular views. Located on the Llandudno peninsula, some bedroom windows face north towards the coastline. Others look out over formal gardens and across the valleys to the remarkably well-preserved battlements of Conwy Castle. Beyond is the brooding backdrop of Snowdonia.
In fact, Conwy Castle is the very reason for Bodysgallen’s existence. Back in the 13th century, a watch-tower high on Pydew Mountain was built to provide early-warning of hostile forces heading towards low-lying Conwy Castle.
Over the centuries, pink sandstone extensions around the tower were added to create a very comfortable home of gables, mullioned windows and impregnable dark wood door.
Once it was thought that Bodysgallen meant “the house amongst the thistles” but now scholars believe that the name translates from the phrase, “The House of Cadwallon”. As Cadwallon had been King of Gwynedd from 625 to 635 the name provides an appropriately regal ring. A wood lined entrance hall featuring barometer, chiming grandfather clock and tiled fire place build on that sense of history.
Since 1980 the property has been a Historic House Hotel with ownership gifted to the National Trust in 2008. Though, the house and gardens are only open to the general public if they are staying at the hotel, dining or visiting the spa. Alternatively, taking afternoon tea in one of Bodysgallen’s evocative reception rooms is another way of accessing the house’s splendour. Portraits of the great, the wigged, the good and even the beheaded line the walls. When a serene-looking Charles 1 sat for his painter, he could not have foreseen his fate.
There is a sense of aristocratic yesteryear living, a Welsh take on Downton Abbey. As mobile phones are prohibited in public areas, guests rustle through good old-fashioned newspapers with their breakfast. Tea strainers are provided for the loose leaf tea. Kippers are on the menu. Tiny spoons sit ready for duty by silver salt cellars. Full Welsh breakfast is served with fried bread rather than the recent American invasion of hash browns.
In the bedrooms, featuring floral designs, the beds are dressed with traditional blankets, sheets and bedspreads. Sensibly sized televisions are discreetly tucked away in a corner. Nor is there any new-fangled nonsense in the bathrooms. Plugs are on a sturdy chain whilst Quercus toiletries are by Penhaligon who were established in 1870.
Perhaps Bodysgallen Hall and Spa’s greatest attraction is the 200 acres of gardens flowing from formal, through lawns and onto woodland. Over the centuries, walls were built to shelter plants and trees from the cool winds blustering in from Colwyn Bay.
In Victorian times, the gardeners’ aims were to produce early and late produce, providing as much variety as possible for the dining room. Nowadays, a florist regularly visits the gardens to cut flowers for spectacular displays in the house.
Bodysgallen’s gardens feature a unique parterre, best viewed from the terraces above. Precisely clipped box hedges are unusually filled with fragrant herbs, such as bronze fennel and sage, to provide a striking geometric design.
Organic fruit and vegetables from those gardens feature on the menu in Bodysgallen’s AA three rosette restaurant. From Wednesday through to Sunday, Head Chef Abdalla El Shershaby offers a fine dining menu presenting locally sourced ingredients with imaginative flair. Currently, on Monday and Tuesday a bill of fare menu is served.
Bodysgallen, just off the North Wales Expressway, is perfectly positioned for an exploration of North Wales. A half-hour drive takes guests into Anglesey. Calling in on Plas Newydd, a fascinating National Trust property on the bank of the Menai Straits, gives good views of the Menai Bridge.
North Wales endured turbulent centuries and many castles were built. Bodysgallen provides a leaflet suggesting three day driving tours taking in the region’s major sites as well as a visit to the Victorian seaside resort of Llandudno.
After a day of touring or walking, the Bodysgallen Spa provides plenty of opportunities to unwind. Set below the main house, the spa houses a large indoor swimming pool with spa bath, sauna, steam room, gymnasium, six spa treatment rooms, Club Room and a relaxation room.
Bodysgallen Hall and Spa provides a luxurious relaxed base for a leisurely exploration of North Wales. Although it is just a 35-minute drive away you are unlikely to be able to tell your friends, with correct pronunciation, that you called into the Welsh village with the longest place name – Llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwyrndrobwllllantysiliogogogoch.
Bodysgallen Hall and Spa fact file
Rooms in the Hall are just one of the accommodation options available to visitors to Bodysgallen. For more information about Spa Cottages, Hall Cottages and even self catering options, visit Bodysgallen Hall and Spa.
For more information about things to do and see in the area see Visit Wales.
If you enjoyed Bodysgallen Hall and Spa – luxury with brooding views of Snowdonia you’ll find more ideas for off-season UK breaks on our Travel channel.Tags: Bodysgallen Hall and Spa, Llandudno, Michael Edwards, Wales Last modified: October 21, 2022