Looking for somewhere to explore on our way home from the tiny cabin we noticed some brown tourist signs for Plas Newyyd and decided to stop and what a treat it was.

As we turned into the car park we could see several black and white Tudor style buildings, some formal gardens and a woodland. What could be better.

The gardens and woodlands are free to wander, with a small entrance fee for the house (they do have a veterans discount).

The house belonged to ‘the ladies of Llangollen’ – Eleanor Butler and Sarah Ponsonby. They transformed this tiny cottage by decorating the walls, stairway, ceilings and windows, using carved dark oak and stained glass. The whole effect is stunning.

Even outside the property has carved porches and panels. The ladies salvaged old carved bed frames, church panels, chairs to create their unique home decor. The formal gardens are very pretty, with informal cottage borders at the back of the property leading to the woodland. There are several walks along the river bank, we didn’t do this as there were several scout groups doing orienteering so left them to their exploring. Instead we headed to the stable block for a cup of tea and cake.

A couple of miles down the road we spotted another brown sign. This time it was for Valle Crucis Abbey. So made the most of the dry, clear day.

The abbey was built around 1205, the last Cistercian abbey built in Wales. It was dissolved as a working monastery when Henry 8th converted to Church of England, it was then turned into a farm and home. Most of its outer walls are still standing, so easy to see the features, including a spiral staircase up to the pulpit.

Then it was time to head homeward and back to reality after a wonderful weekend of relaxing.