manorhaus Llangollen

Llangollen, Wales, United Kingdom Book from £115

A B&B haven of culture and comfort in the heart of a bustling Welsh mountain town
As views go, it’d be hard to beat that of the romantic castle ruins topping the conical hill the other side of town. A piece of living art, it neatly echoes the scene at this modern B&B in the heart of bustling Llangollen. Like its sister hotel in Ruthin to the north, manorhaus Llangollen celebrates local artistic talent. Vibrant paintings and sculptures liven the tangerine and ebony bar downstairs, while each of the 6 bedrooms showcases photographs by a different local photographer. Décor in this imposing Victorian mansion is equally creative, following an eye-catching black and white theme in tune with the local architecture.

The challenge is deciding what to do with your days - there’s so much on offer. In July the town resounds to the musical refrains of the International Eisteddfod. There are hills to walk, steam trains to ride, a canal to cruise, historic houses to tour, and buzzy streets to explore. Perfect for design aficionados, business travellers, walkers, mountain bikers and railway buffs alike.

Highs

  • Stylish rooms, most with in-room tubs and romantic views of the ruined Welsh castle. All have bathrobes, toiletries and swanky coffee machines
  • An outdoor hot tub, wonderful any time of year. i-escape guests get a free evening slot with Prosecco (flexible rates only); perfect for stargazing
  • Walks, train rides, canal cruises and stately homes on your doorstep
  • It would be hard to find more helpful and friendly hosts than Christopher and Gavin. Gavin used to be an architect - as you might have guessed from the skillful décor

Lows

  • Rooms are not huge, and bathrooms don't have a window
  • Breakfast is the only meal served, but you're a walk from the town's eateries
  • No children under 12 allowed (a high for some!)
  • UHT milk in the rooms was not in keeping with the hotel’s otherwise high-quality feel, and we found it a challenge using the swanky coffee machine to make a cup of tea

Best time to go

Any time of year. If you’re a music enthusiast, book early so you can stay here while attending the International Eisteddfod in July. The pavilion, where it’s held, also hosts a food festival in October. There are numerous steam train festivals too. The area is wonderful for walking all year round, including winter.

Our top tips

There are lots of National Trust properties around here so bring your membership card. This is Wales though so pack a raincoat, too - just in case!

Great for...

Great Outdoors
Honeymoon
  • = Recommended
  • = Best in region
  • = World favourite
  • Boutique B&B
  • 6
  • Breakfast only (+ walk to restaurants)
  • 12+ year olds 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
  • Bicycles Available
Room:

Rooms

Rooms are not called rooms, but oriels (Welsh for gallery), because each showcases local photography whilst also providing top-notch décor and comfort. With their headboards in contemporary black and white Welsh wool fabrics woven at Melin Tregwynt mill, and bathrooms boxed inside black-painted timber, they follow the monochrome theme that runs throughout the hotel.

Splashes of colour are provided by the daffodil-yellow metro tiles in the bathrooms and some of the artwork, which is all for sale. All rooms have goosedown duvets, Egyptian cotton bedlinen, swanky coffee-making machines, 32” flat-screen TVs, iPod dock clocks, and gorgeous local eco-friendly toiletries made by Bathing Beauty in Ruthin (we loved the coriander and lime shower gel).

As the hotel is literally built into the mountainside, rooms vary in size. There’s a cosy, quiet Standard Double at the back; a Superior at the back with a private decked terrace and in-bedroom bath (and just a hop from the hot tub); and 4 Suites at the front, each with their own lounge, in-room roll-top bath and dreamy views of the town and surrounding hills. We stayed in Oriel 2, with animal and human photographic portraits by Welsh photographer Llinos Lanini. But for us the best picture of all was the ruined castle atop Dinas Bran.

Features include:

  • Bathrobes
  • Central heating
  • Coffee maker
  • Coffee tea making
  • Fan
  • Hairdryer
  • Ipod dock
  • Iron (on request)
  • Phone
  • Radio
  • Toiletries
  • Tv
  • WiFi
  • Wifi internet

Eating

Served in the stunning slate-and-cream dining room, breakfast is a highlight here. manorhaus' Full Welsh offering was one of the best we’ve tasted (and we’re fussy), with its local pork and herb sausages and succulent grilled bacon. Cereals were mass-produced though, and whilst the orange juice was freshly squeezed, the cranberry and apple juices were from cartons.

For evening drinks, there's a contemporary bar serving a range of local ales, ciders and Welsh whisky. Its bright modern artworks and orange fabrics stand out against the black paintwork throughout. Floors are covered in the original local tiles, with stairway walls painted in a blue cleverly picked out from the tiles

No other meals are served on site, but being in Llangollen means you’re still spoiled for choice. For gastropub food in a fabulous setting, it’s hard to beat the Corn Mill right on the river Dee in the centre of town. You can watch herons and rapids as you dine on its riverside decking. For quality, Mediterranean-style fare and excellent wines in a bistro-style setting, head for Gales Wine Bar, where you sit on old church pews and choose from a blackboard menu.

Features include:

  • Bar
  • Coffee maker
  • Coffee tea making
  • Organic produce
  • Restaurants nearby
  • Room service
Eating: Bar
Activity:

Activities

  • Stomp up Dinas Bran (meaning Crow’s Fortress), the 800-foot hill the other side of town, and wander among the ruins of its ancient castle, once an important Welsh fortress
  • Don your boots and head to the hills for an exhilarating day’s walking. Offa’s Dyke footpath is on the doorstep, there are heaps of trails in the Dee valley, and Snowdonia is less than an hour’s drive away. Alternatively, hire a bike in town and explore on 2 wheels
  • Take a horse-drawn narrowboat along the 1806 Llangollen Canal to the spectacular Horseshoe Falls. Or cruise across Thomas Telford’s famous Pontcysyllte Aqueduct, east of Llangollen
  • Head up the hill beside the manorhaus to Plas Newydd, the black-and-white mock-Tudor home of the famous Ladies of Llangollen, 18th-century aristocrats. Take a self-guided tour of its panelled rooms, or wander through its 12 acres of formal grounds
  • Take a ride westwards on the steam engines of the Llangollen Railway. You can do a round trip, or take the train as far as Carrog (11km up the valley)
  • Absorb the atmosphere of the ruins of Valle Crucis Abbey, a Cistercian abbey west of Llangollen. Or visit Erddig, a National Trust-owned stately home near Wrexham
  • The owners can arrange bike or mountain-bike hire, kayaking, canoeing or white-water rafting, and advise on walks and cultural activities such as art exhibitions and concerts
  • Tour Chirk’s drum-towered 13th-century castle, enjoy its famous 18th-century gatescreen, and stroll around its ornamental gardens

Activities on site or nearby include:

  • Birdwatching
  • Boat trips
  • Hiking
  • Historical sites
  • Kayaking
  • Mountain biking
  • Museums / galleries
  • Music
  • Rafting
  • Rock climbing
  • Steam railway

Kids

The hotel welcomes children over 12, though there are no extra beds.

Best for:

Teens (over 12)

Kid Friendly:

Our guests' ratings...

9/
Rooms
9/
Food
9/
Service
10/
Value
9/
Overall

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