Our editor Victoria Galligan checks into a modernised wedding venue with plenty of history behind it…
Nestled in the Welsh countryside, a stone’s throw from the seaside town of Aberystwyth, lies a Georgian manor house with a history as rich as its owners The Powells were in the 1700s.
Thomas Powell and his descendants were Welsh Conservative politicians and military men, and upon his father’s death in 1730 he rebuilt the mansion to the glorious standard it maintains today – although the family had their ups and downs over the years, not least when Thomas died of an “apoplectic fit” on a London street in 1752. The mansion passed from family ownership in 1962 and has been operating as a luxury hotel since 2004.
The first thing to note about Nanteos Mansion is its situation: it boasts fantastic views over the Ceredigion countryside and now occupies 40 acres – but the estate once totalled about 33,000 acres. There is lush, green scenery as far as the eye can see – don’t believe me? Just search for Nanteos on Google maps and wonder at the seclusion.
Pulling up at the car park, we were met by the resident sheep on the field opposite the car park. They didn’t seem to mind us being there, or the ramblers who were heading from the hotel out onto the fields and around the small lake for an afternoon hike, so we continued into the grand entrance hall.
The history of the estate is well-documented, and on arriving at the mansion I was pointed in the direction of one particular publication which had been written about Nanteos – the ghost guide. After being shown to our opulently decorated King Suite – the bathroom was larger than my kitchen and looked brand new, despite the open fire grate and other original features reminding me that I was in a 400-year-old building – and feeling suitably spooked by the stories, my husband and I headed to the bar for a stiff drink before moving into the cosy dining room for dinner.
Welsh dishes with a twist
The restaurant, yr Eos, produces some wonderfully Welsh dishes and uses locally-sourced ingredients. But this doesn’t mean the menu isn’t adventurous and I opted for the chickpea & spinach curry served with basmati rice, mint yogurt and leaves – this was simply sublime and exactly the right blend of spice provided a kick without leaving me reaching for the water jug.
There are plenty of entertainment rooms to choose from when relaxing at the hotel, and we enjoyed G&Ts in the front lounge where the elegant cornicing and ancient stone fireplace give you the feeling that you’re part of the Georgian glitterati – the perfect atmosphere for a grand wedding.
The Music Room offers a fantastic place to say “I do” and I will leave it to the Nanteos team to describe the room: “With its Italian Aesop’s Fable fireplace and ceiling which depicts the four seasons entwined with musical instruments, large mirrored walls and gold leaf mouldings, the Music Room is the perfect setting for your wedding ceremony.”
The hotel holds regular events throughout the year for potential brides and grooms to check out the mansion – why not book a room and see for yourself? Just stay away from the “spirits” – and I don’t mean the G&T!
See the Nanteos Mansion website for more information on how to book the historic wedding venue.