We spent our first day at Bodnant, a Grade One listed garden in Snowdonia’s foothills, with excellent mountain views. There are 80 acres of Italianate formal gardens with shrub-filled glades, historic plant collections and 42 UK Champion trees.
We rounded off the day with a trip on the Great Orme Railway around the promontory overlooking Llandudno Bay.
The second morning was spent at Portmeirion Village, which was created by Welsh architect Clough Williams-Ellis (C.W.E.). The site he found had everything he hoped for: steep cliffs overlooking a white sand estuary, woods, stream and some old buildings. He used artefacts from around the world and sub-tropical plants to create his vision.
In the afternoon we visited Plas Brondanw, which is the property Clough Williams-Ellis inherited in 1902. It’s a fine example of creative landscape design inspired by the gardens of Italy: dramatic, romantic planting with rare plants and old favourites.
On the final day we journeyed south to Powis Castle, a National Trust property close to Welshpool. Powis started life as a mediaeval fortress circa 1200 and has been remodelled and embellished over more than 400 years by generations of the Herbert family.
The gardens at Powis are considered to be one of the Trust’s finest, with over 26 acres to explore and enjoy. It was conceived in the 1680s for the 1st Marquess of Powis and is one of the few baroque gardens to have survived on more or less its original form. We marvelled at the spectacular 30 foot high yew hedge!