Penrhyn Castle and Garden

Fairy Tale Castle on the Edge of Snowdonia National Park

Penrhyn Castle and Garden

Wales is full of incredible medieval castles; there are around 600 or so if you count the ruins with just a few crumbling walls. How about a castle built in the 1830s, a vast fantasy fortress 600ft long, constructed by the Pennant family, using the wealth from Slate and sugar plantations.

Most of the fantastic castles of Wales date from the 13th Century or earlier, they are a legacy of the Anglo-Welsh Wars. Because of their age, the buildings tend not to have roofs; expected for a 700-year-old building. Penrhyn Castle is different; it is a luxurious Victorian home (built 1840) styled to look like a Norman Castle (11th Century). It pays homage to the heritage of Wales.

The outside is austere and brooding. The interior is an astonishing marvel built in stone, every inch carved with chevrons, faces and motifs. Wales is a wet part of Britain; Penrhyn is an ideal place to visit on that rainy morning or afternoon. We would encourage you to include Penrhyn on your driver-guided Tour of Wales; the interiors will blow you away.

The wealth of sugar
The sugar plantations of the Caribbean needed vast numbers of slaves to make them profitable. Profit from the industry was large, but only with the help of slave labour. The builders of Penrhyn Castle owned estates in Jamaica, the earnings from these estates established the family slate quarry business here in Wales.  
Richard Pennant (1737-1808) used his money to invest in roads, schools, hotels, railways, farms and workers homes. He seemed a charitable industrialist, although he was still against the abolition of slavery. The estate passed to George Hay Dawkins-Pennant, his cousin. He presided over the build of the new castle. 

The architect
Thomas Hopper created a designer home in a sense. He was involved in every aspect of the build, not only the structure but interior details. Thomas oversaw the designs of carpets, doors, chairs and décor, a true designer-castle. The impact is tangible upon entering. 

The art
Like many stately homes, Penrhyn has an outstanding collection of paintings. Familiar names include Canaletto (1697-1768 Venetian), Rembrandt (1606-1669 Dutch) and Ruisdael (1629-1682 Dutch) and more. 

Industrial action
Welsh slate roofed the World. Slate from Wales has been a roofing material since Roman times, with global industrialisation the demand for a good quality roofing material exploded. By the 20th Century tension between the quarrymen and Lord Penrhyn escalated resulting in one of the most prolonged disputes ever known. 

The National Trust 
The National Trust takes care of over 500 historic houses, including Penrhyn. It is one of the World’s largest membership organisations. Octavia Hill, one of the original three founders of the Trust campaigned and pioneered better housing and the need for everyday folk having access to the countryside for their well-being. It sounds very modern doesn’t. She said, “we all want quiet; we all want beauty; we all need space.”

The National Trust conserves, restores and maintains Britain’s beautiful historic buildings and manages and owns 960 sq mi of land, nearly 800 miles of coast, allowing the British public and visitors unfettered access in the name of Wellbeing.

Touring and accommodation 
North Wales is all about the scenery, ruined majestic castles, Welsh cheese and traditions. Penrhyn Castle is one of those places that is perfect for touring on a cool or wet afternoon. Any tailor-made Private Tour of Wales that includes North Wales should have Penrhyn Castle as an option. 

North Wales has many traditional inns and Manor House Hotels. Bodysgallen Hall is a delightful historic hotel with spa. The Erskine Arms in Conwy is a lovely gastro-pub with well-appointed accommodation. Further south on the edge of Snowdonia National Park is beautiful Pale Hall, a five-star hotel with highly acclaimed AA three-star restaurant.

The Norman Style Castle with Intricately Carved Interiors

Penrhyn the beautifully preserved fantasy castle

  • Nature Walks
  • Old Masters Art Collection
  • National Trust Property
  • VIP Tours Available
  • Stunning Carved Stone Interior