manorhaus Ruthin

Denbighshire, Wales, United Kingdom Book from

Reviewed by Fiona Reece
Stylish rooms with restaurant and art gallery in Ruthin, gateway to North Wales and a centre for contemporary arts
As soon as you step through the front door of these converted Grade II listed Georgian townhouses, the ‘stylometer’ starts to soar. This is no run of the mill hotel. manorhaus Ruthin (with a very deliberate small m) is a restaurant with stylish rooms and art gallery all rolled into one, created by Christopher Frost and Gavin Harris who bought it in 2002. They certainly know a thing or two about design. Be ready to discover your very own art gallery in your bedroom, each one showcasing local talent, as do the lounge, bar and restaurant. Bold colour schemes and modern furniture work well alongside the original features of this beautiful building. Settle down to dinner and the design theme continues: the food is beautifully presented, delicious and local.

Venture outside and there is a definite air of sophistication to Ruthin. The timber framed houses bulge with delicatessen, gift emporia and jewelry galleries. This town is fast developing a name in the arts world; a £4 million new centre opened in mid 2008.


  • The beautifully designed rooms have fabulous power showers and fast-fill baths
  • There's art everywhere and you'll always find something new to discover
  • Ruthin is a magical town with much to explore
  • There are lots of facilities that you wouldn't expect in a small hotel, including a bijou cinema, a library, a sauna, a fitness room, a bar and a great restaurant
  • Sister property to the lovely manorhaus Llangollen


  • The house is set right on one of the town’s busy roads
  • The artwork in some rooms is bold and bright and may not be to everyone’s taste
  • Some rooms are compact; some may find them a little too small

Best time to go

This is a good place to visit year round. Autumn and winter are best for bracing walks and maybe a spot of Christmas shopping in the many arts and crafts shops. In spring and summer you can enjoy warmer rambles or visits to all manner of festivals, from sheep shearing to classic cars, and international music to barrel rolling. See for more details.

Our top tips

If art alone is not enough, book a room on the third floor for spectacular views of the mountains beyond Ruthin.

Great for...

Great Outdoors
  • = Recommended
  • = Best in region
  • = World favourite
  • Boutique Hotel
  • 8
  • Restaurant and bar (open daily)
  • Over 12s welcome
  • Open all year
  • Pool
  • Sauna
  • WiFi
  • Pet Friendly
  • Disabled Access
  • Beach Nearby
  • Off-street Parking
  • Restaurants Nearby
  • Air Conditioning
  • Guest Lounge
  • Terrace
  • Garden
  • Gym
  • Board games
  • Wii
Room: Oriel 5


The 8 rooms, known as Oriels (Welsh for gallery), are designed to showcase a different local artist. Chris and Gavin are hot on detail and the guest service manual is encyclopedic, even explaining how to wind up the alarm clock! There are comfy kingsize beds, goose down bedding and Egyptian cotton linen, plus flat screen TVs with CD/DVD players and free WiFi. Look out for some design classics, such as a Mies van der Rohe's Barcelona chair in the Junior Suite.

Bathrooms are full of mod cons, from power showers and fast fill baths to slow-close loo seats and demisting pads on the mirrors. We loved the generous supplies of gorgeous 'We live like this' Macadamia and Ginseng toiletries.

We enjoyed Oriel 4, a pink and green colourfest with an oversized purple chair, which provides the perfect backdrop to artist Ann Bridges' colourful work, such as the ‘Princess and the Pea’. The biggest room is Oriel 5, a Junior Suite displaying the moody work of landscape artist Ian Williams. It has an ensuite wet room and a roll-top bath in the bedroom.

Features include:

  • Cd player
  • Central heating
  • Coffee tea making
  • Dvd player
  • Extra beds
  • Fan
  • Internet access
  • Phone
  • Radio
  • Toiletries
  • Tv
  • WiFi
  • Wifi internet


Classical piano music greets you at ‘The Breakfast Table’, which offers fresh fruits, bio yoghurt drinks, juices, Dorset cereals and homemade jams. Or tuck into a choice of full Welsh breakfast, eggs benedict, bagels, organic porridge oats or the lighter natural yoghurt/berries/honey combo. Caffeine hits can come in the guise of lattes, cappuccinos or espressos, or for a gentler awakening there is an impressive selection of teas.

The restaurant has a great reputation and chef Gavin Porter makes modern dishes with as many local ingredients as possible. Start with grilled Bury black pudding or venison terrine and move on to salt marsh lamb from St Asaph, Welsh black beef, or sherry and wine braised rabbit. If you have room, puddings are hearty - for instance, roast apple cobbler, hot fruit compote or dark Belgian chocolate torte. The cheese platter is well worth a try, offering tasty nibbles such as Red Devil (Red Leicester with chili) or Black Bomber (a mature Welsh Cheddar), all supplied by the Snowdonia Cheese Company.

You can prebook half-board or decide on arrival, but either way dinner is very reasonable (see Rates); and the wine list is varied, with a wide choice by the glass and a cheaper house selection.

During our stay the cinnamon dining room walls were adorned with a ‘Symphony of Sunflowers’, a series of bright and beautiful floral paintings.

Features include:

  • Bar
  • Breakfast
  • Coffee tea making
  • Restaurant
  • Restaurants nearby
  • Vegetarian menu


  • Snowdonia National Park is on your doorstep, with some bracing walks to enjoy

  • Explore Ruthin Gaol, which dates back to 1775 (the last execution took place in 1903). It has now been developed as a visitor attraction and houses the County Archives, which will be of interest to any keen genealogist retracing family trees

  • Ruthin Craft Centre reopened in 2008 following a £3 million transformation funded by the Arts Council of Wales. It houses artist studios, galleries, education and residency workshops and shops selling all manner of crafts and design items

  • Walk back in time by visiting Wales’ oldest timber framed town house, Nantclwyd y Dre

  • Get off-road - the nearby mountain biking centre is located at Coed Llandegla Forest. Alternatively, the Offa's Dyke walking trail is a short drive from the town

  • Check in for annual events such as Ruthin Festival (an annual week-long arts festival in July) or Ruthin Flower Festival every August

  • Enjoy shopping and generally mooching lazily about the town

Activities on site or nearby include:

  • Birdwatching
  • Cycling
  • Fishing
  • Hiking
  • Historical sites
  • Horse-riding
  • Hot air ballooning
  • Museums / galleries
  • Traditional cultures


Only children over the age of 12 are accepted. Oriels 7 and 8 can be set up with an extra bed for a small charge and teenagers may stay alone in Oriel 7 (a twin) as long as their parents are occupying the adjacent Oriel 8. The library is stocked with DVDs and a Wii to keep them amused.

Best for:

Teens (over 12)

Family friendly accommodation:

Extra Beds Available

Kid Friendly: Oriel 7 (as twin)

Our guests' ratings...


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Rates for manorhaus Ruthin