Felin Newydd House

Powys, Wales, United Kingdom Book from £893

Reviewed by Honor Peters
Lavish country house on a friendly scale, full of character and charm, in the green Welsh countryside (sleeps up to 18 but also great for 5-10)
The fact that Felin Newydd has a morning room for slouchy, mug-of-tea relaxing and a drawing room for formal G&T relaxing tells you everything you need to know about this great country pad. Upstairs, 9 bedrooms are sparingly and tastefully decorated with tokens of a bygone age – rocking horses, toy trains, ornate wooden chests, gilded china. A scattering of gleaming leather riding boots, fox heads in the boot room, and lead game birds on the dining room mantelpiece remind you that a century ago this was the hunting lodge of the Evans Bevan family.

Today it’s the ideal location for a weekend party, wedding reception or family celebration. If you can tear yourself away from the billiard room, the library/poker room, the well-stocked cellar and the huge Aga-warmed kitchen, you’ve got 50 acres to horse about in. The Brecon Beacons, Black Mountains and every country pursuit under the sun are on your doorstep. And 15 minutes away, in Hay on Wye, more books than you could read in a lifetime.

Highs

  • Owners Huw and Elizabeth spent 3 years restoring this house, and want you to enjoy it as much as they do: and feedback is very good
  • Comfortable, uncluttered bedrooms, each with their own character and charm
  • A maid comes every day to make beds and re-lay fires
  • The flowers in every room, from bluebells in the bathrooms to stately lilies in the drawing room
  • ‘The Book of Things’ in the morning room answers any questions you might have about the house and surrounding area

Lows

  • A car is essential – the majority of shops, pubs, restaurants and attractions are at least a 15-minute drive away
  • There’s a ‘no shoes upstairs’ rule – completely fair given the pale carpets
  • In the east end of the house you can hear the occasional car passing on the A470 at night

Best time to go

The house is open all year round, but its close proximity to Hay On Wye makes it ideal for the book festival in May, and indeed Hay's other arty and foody festivals. You’ll have to be quick for the May one – people tend to book a year in advance. Plenty of space inside and out means that whatever the weather, you’ll never be at a loose end.

Our top tips

Wine, champagne or whisky-tasting sessions can be organised with the wine merchant who stocks the cellar. Spitting out not compulsory.

Great for...

Eco
Family
Wedding
  • = Recommended
  • = Best in region
  • = World favourite
  • Country House Rental
  • 9
  • All ages welcome
  • Open all year
  • Pool
  • Spa Treatments
  • WiFi
  • Pet Friendly
  • Disabled Access
  • Beach Nearby
  • Off-street Parking
  • Restaurants Nearby
  • Air Conditioning
  • Guest Lounge
  • Terrace
  • Garden
  • Gym
  • Daily Maid Service
  • Towels & Bedlinen
  • Snooker Table
Room:

Rooms

Huw and Elizabeth want guests to feel that this is a proper home, not a hotel, so none of the 9 bedrooms are named or numbered. They form an interconnected ring around the wide, glass-domed staircase, 7 bathrooms dotted between them. Part of the delight of staying here is learning how it all fits together, opening what must be a bedroom door to reveal another corridor, or a majestic white and chrome bathroom. It’s like inhabiting an Escher engraving.

Rooms are decorated in comfortable country-house style with antique furniture discovered during renovations, or bought at local auctions. Thick biscuit-coloured carpets, Persian rugs of all sizes, school trunks, sofas and chaises longues, piles of leather suitcases; prints and paintings have been chosen to fit the character of each room. The best of the bunch has a stone balcony overlooking the herbaceous borders, and a gargantuan four-poster bed.

We had a lovely roomy pink twin (4 of the doubles can be made into twins), with both a shower room and a grand bathroom. Oh, the luxury of a bath with a view. Smaller, cosy rooms at the back of the house are ideal for kids. Crisp white cotton bedlinen, new mattresses and down pillows, coupled with the deep, rural silence, guarantee peaceful sleep.

Features include:

  • Barbeque
  • Central heating
  • Cots Available
  • Dishwasher
  • Dvd player
  • Extra beds
  • Fridge
  • Full kitchen
  • Internet access
  • Internet access
  • Microwave
  • Oven
  • Terrace
  • Tv
  • Washing machine
  • Wifi internet

Eating

All the country house requisites are here. The roomy kitchen has a long wooden table for indulgent breakfasts and an Aga and gas range to cook them on. Views out over the herb garden provide inspiration, and there are huge quantities of good china, cutlery, saucepans and utensils for even the most demanding cook. There is also a large dishwasher for the aftermath. Beyond the herb garden outside, there’s a charcoal barbecue, chairs, tables and a large parasol for summer lunches on the patio, washed down with plenty of Pimms. For more formal occasions, double doors reveal a stately dining room, complete with grandfather clock, white linen table cloth, and huge windows overlooking the front lawn.

If you haven’t come here to cook, a chef or caterers can be brought in to do it all for you. They’ll make the most of the good quality local produce while you lounge the drawing room or play croquet on the lawn. There's also a fully stocked wine cellar from which to choose your tipple.

Local eateries include the Felin Fach Griffin Inn a couple of miles away, nationally lauded for its food and wine. The River Café in nearby Glasbury overlooks the Wye and specialises in authentic Italian food.

The useful "Book of Things" in the morning room has a comprehensive list of local suppliers and restaurants.

Features include:

  • Chef on request
  • Children meals
  • Dinner by arrangement
  • Fridge
  • Full kitchen
  • Lunch by arrangement
  • Microwave
  • Oven
  • Shopping service
Eating:
Activity:

Activities

  • Walking – as well as 50 acres of grounds to explore, you are on the edge of the wild and beautiful Brecon Beacons and Black Mountains, teeming with wildlife, and with breathtaking views in every direction

  • Outdoor pursuits – Huw can lay on riding, croquet lessons, clay-pigeon shooting, kayaking, river fishing for trout and salmon, lake fishing, canoeing on the Wye... you name it

  • Books – the market town of Hay on Wye is a 15-minute drive away. With 30 second-hand and specialist bookshops, it’s a bookworm’s happy place. During the 10-day Hay Festival of Literature at the end of May it’s flooded with authors, broadcasters, celebrities and bibliophiles

  • Shopping – Llandeilo, 40 minutes away, is a medieval town packed with antique shops to browse. For a more overwhelming antique experience, Builth Wells, 21km north of Felin, holds huge antique fairs in May and September at the Royal Welsh Showground. Abergavenny, 30 minutes away, has an indoor market, perfect for the wet Welsh weather: depending on the day you visit you'll find a traditional general market, craft fair, antique fair or flea market

  • Racing – Chepstow Racecourse, 56km away, has jump and flat race meetings every month throughout the year, and Britain’s newest racecourse, Ffoslas Racecourse in Carmarthen, is 96 km away

Activities on site or nearby include:

  • Birdwatching
  • Fishing
  • Hiking
  • Historical sites
  • Horse-riding
  • Kayaking
  • Plantlife / flora
  • Shopping / markets
  • Wildlife
  • Wine tasting

Kids

Kids are really welcome here, but there are a few caveats -it's not somewhere to just let them run riot, even if you are booking the house for exclusive use (see 'Families should know' below).

That said, children love it here, whether they're exploring the hollow trees in the grounds, watching heron fish on the pond or playing croquet in the gardens. There are a lot of quirks to fascinate kids in the house. The owners have even hosted a party celebrating a 2-year-old's birthday here, and you can book a photographer for the day if you are hosting a similarly special event.

Note that it's also a dog-friendly spot so bring your favourite canine - they have a kennel, 2 dog beds and plenty of fields for them to run in - making it a great spot for all the family.

Best for:

All ages

Family friendly accommodation:

4 of the 9 bedrooms have double beds that can be arranged as twin beds; cots fit in every room and you can also borrow 1 of the 2 camp beds if needed. We thought the small cozy rooms at the back of the house would be great for kids.

Babysitting:

Babysitting available by arrangement.

Baby listening:

Bring your own baby monitor. Depending on the model, monitors work through most of the house.

Baby equipment:

  • 2 cots
  • 2 high chairs

Remember  baby and child equipment may be limited or need pre-booking

Children's meals:

It's self-catering with a fully-equipped country kitchen so you can cook up a storm for the family. Mums and dads wanting a holiday from cooking can book the chef, catering service and washing up service (genius!).

Kids Activities on site:

  • Croquet on the lawn
  • Horses, ponies, chickens and ducks to befriend
  • There are 2 wendy houses and lots of hollow trees to explore in the grounds
  • Board games & DVD player

Kids Activities nearby:

  • The great outdoors: the Brecon Beacons and the Black Mountains in particular. Talk to the owners about outdoor activity centres
  • If it's raining, Brecon Cinema and Theatre and Wyeside Arts Centre in Buith Wells will be your saviour

Families Should Know:

It's a country house and not a modern place made with health and safety in mind - the staircase is too big for a stairgate and there's an unfenced pond in the gardens. Keep your little ones under a close eye.

Distances:

  • Airport 2 hours
  • Hospital: 30 minutes
Kid Friendly:

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