On Wales’ Llŷn Peninsula, this Georgian manor could just well be the country escape of your wildest dreams, with its beautiful grounds, heartfelt welcome and outstanding local food.
Why we love it…
How we wish our garden looked like this! Owner Chris Chown has a passion for all things botanical and it shows at Plas Bodegroes. When we stay at this restaurant with rooms in late spring, wisteria cloaks the façade of the lemon-coloured, Grade II listed manor house, and the first flowers are appearing on the magnolias – including a grandiflora that Chris is particularly proud of. Bluebells are creating a blue haze along the beech wood avenue. It’s a vision of rambling romance.
Plas Bodegroes is proof that sometimes it pays not to stay right on the coast. The gorgeous beaches of the Llŷn Peninsula are just a couple of miles away, but here you have utter peace and the kind of seclusion that rarely comes with a sea view (especially in high season). And you have owners that genuinely care. Chris and his Faroese wife, Gunna, go the extra mile to make us feel at home, with insider recommendations of walks, beaches and nearby sights. It’s like staying with old friends that just happen to have exceptionally good taste.
Sweep up the tree-lined drive and you find the ultimate coast-meets-country escape: a Georgian manor designed by notable English architect Joseph Bromfield (who later became Mayor of Shrewsbury). It’s the little details that make all the difference, and at Plas Bodegroes these are everywhere: a grandfather ticks away in the vaulted entrance hall. Brooding seascapes by the late Welsh artist Kyffin Williams grace the walls. Fresh flowers fill high-ceilinged rooms with scent and colour. The look is understated chic with a pinch of 18th-century grandeur – and it’s a winner.
Chris and Gunna are the heart and soul of the operation. And their lack of pretension has rubbed off. This is a sophisticated place to stay and eat, yes, but we like the fact that walkers in muddy boots (not to mention well-behaved pets) are welcome. It gives the place a homely, lived-in atmosphere that makes all the difference. As do personal touches like the canapés and drinks Gunna serves us in the cosy lounge before dinner. Nothing here feels superfluous, everything is a reflection of the owners’ impeccable taste, right down to the nature-themed crockery by local ceramicist Ruth Gibson.
There are just 10 rooms in the house, keeping things intimate. All overlook the glorious gardens, and have nice original features, from beams to ornamental fireplaces and the odd antique. We throw open sash windows to let in the spring air, birdsong and sound of bleating sheep, and let out a little whoop of joy when we discover homemade biscuits to go with the tea and coffee. The maps and sightseeing recommendations thoughtfully provided in a folder in the room see us right for an afternoon exploring the Llŷn Peninsula (take Chris’ recommendation and climb up to Mynydd Rhiw). Décor-wise, it’s country manor meets contemporary, with a palette of neutral colours enlivened by plaids and florals. The rooms are not particularly flash, but they are quiet, comfortable and full of character.
Plas Bodegroes bills itself as a restaurant with rooms and rightly so. One of the main reasons to stay the night is to indulge in the most glorious food you’ll find for many miles, with the head chef elevating regional ingredients to giddy new gourmet heights. See our full review of the Plas Bodegros restaurant.
Breakfast deserves a special mention as it is a cut above the norm, prizing local ingredients and cooking them to a T. It’s served à la carte – a classy touch that removes the rushed get-there-early-or-go-hungry aspect of the buffet breakfast, instead inviting a more leisurely approach. Homemade muesli and Greek yoghurt with apricots pique the appetite for more substantial cooked options – a full Welsh, say, or oak-smoked haddock with poached eggs. Orange juice is freshly pressed, coffee is strong and aromatic – no corners are cut and that, frankly, is rare.
What’s here & nearby
Once you’ve explored the gardens, it’s time for a ramble along the Llŷn Peninsula, one of Britain’s first Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty, with the dark, rugged mountains of Snowdonia popping up on one side and mile after glorious mile of beaches unfurling on the other. The nearest place on the peninsula is the town of Pwlheli, but natural wonders beckon close by with National Trust stunners including the vast sweeping crescent of Porth Neigwl (Hell’s Mouth), and cliff-backed, wave-battered Porth Ceiriad.
At a glance
Snooze factor: 10 Silent nights in the perfect country hideaway and comfortable beds draped in Egyptian cotton.
Food factor: 10 We loved every bite.
Eco-friendly factor: 8 Beautiful gardens and woodland surrounds.
Location factor: 10 Close to the coast but as secluded as can be.
Price: Doubles from £110 (breakfast included). Keep an eye out for deals and packages on the website.