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Bodelwyddan Castle

Bodelwyddan, Denbighshire

Location Guide

Bodelwyddan is set in 260 acres of parkland. As well as being a historic house/castle and museum, it is a partner of the National Portrait Gallery, it also has large areas of formal gardens, a woodland, adventure playground, garden maze, Victorian games room, as well as an area of Practice Trenches from the First World War.

The Castle

The history of the house and estate extends back from before 1460, originally built by the Humphrey's family of Anglesey as a manor house. It was extended and built over a 200 year period by the Williams family when it was purchased in 1680 by Sir William Williams, who was then speaker in the House of Commons.  Although the house seen today was reconstructed between 1830-1852 by Sir John Hay Williams. The Williams family made their fortune from lead mining until the 1850's when this income source dried up.

By the First World War the estate had reduced in size and the house became a recuperation hospital for wounded soldiers, and during this time the estate was used by soldiers from the nearby Kinmel Camp (see below).

In 1920 it became a private school for girls being leased by the Lowther College, and it was purchased by them in 1925. It is thought to have been one of the first private school for girls to have it's own swimming pool, it also had a private golf course. Boys were admitted from 1977 and the college remained here until 1982 when it had to close for financial reasons. It was then purchased by the local county council, then Clwyd County Council who developed it as a museum, gallery and visitor attraction.

Partnerships were formed with the National Portrait Gallery, Victoria & Albert Museum and the Royal Academy of Arts to enable the display of many important national treasures at the Castle. To house these collections, the interior was sympathetically restored to its Victorian splendour. Its collections include portraits from the 19th Century, furniture from the V&A Museum and sculptures from the Royal Academy of Arts. As well as the displays on loan from it's partnerships it also houses artefacts from the history of the house and estate including photographers of it's time as Lowther College.

With parts of the house dating from the 15th century then there are bound to be stories of ghostly goings on and a number have been reported over the past few years including, a lady in the sculpture gallery, shadowy figures drifting down corridors, a blue lady in the team room and unexplained noises and lights. It was used as a location for an episode of 'Most Haunted' which was screen on Living TV.

Today part of it is leased to the Rank Organisation for it's first Warners Holiday hotels, while the Williams Hall remains the museum of the national collections and this is under the control of a charitable trust.

The Parkland and Gardens

The castle is set within 260 acres of parkland and this is made up of woodland walks, historical sites, nature trails, and the formal gardens, all of which is open for the public to visit. The formal gardens, originally designed by Thomas Mawson in 1910 includes a small lake, colonnades, mulberry trees, an aviary and the Williams Obelisk and off this is the Garden Maze, with quizzes and interactive displays for the children. From the gardens you can access:-

  • Extensive woodland which contains woodland walks, orchards and a bird hide for you to inspect the local wildlife.

  • The butterfly glade from where you can get views of the Clwydian Hills.

  • Picnic area and Adventure Playground

The Practice Trenches

Within the parkland are some practice trenches used during the First World War. The local training camp for the area was Kinmel Park Camp, which is located not too far from the Castle, it operated for many years but is remembered by many as the camp where the infamous riots took place after the First World War. Training was an important activity during this time and it helped to prepare newly recruited soldiers, many of whom had never considered the intricacies of 'modern' warfare.

Note: It is possible to take photos of the castle building from the car park area. From some points within the grounds you are also supposed to be able to see nearby Rhuddlan Castle and St Asaphs Cathedral.

Further information Grid



Bodelwyddan Castle, Denbighshire

Ceremonial County: Denbighshire

Grid Reference:


Map Link:


Aerial photo: Google Aerial



Best Times to Visit:






Other useful websites:

Wiki   rhyl.com     National Portrait Gallery

Nearby Locations:  
Other Relevant pages:

Castles of Wales

How to photograph a castle



Planning Grid


Bodelwyddan Castle, Denbighshire

Grid Reference:


Getting there:

45 minutes from the M56 and M53, just off the A55 Expressway (Junction 25), close to the seaside resorts of Rhyl, Prestatyn and Llandudno.


To car park down the drive off the road. Access to Bailey Courtyard retail free to all. Access to grounds and castle on foot via pathways and after payment of entrance fee.


Free parking on site


adventure playground, games room gift shop and tea room

Things To Do, See and Photograph:

House/Castle, gardens, Practice Trenches

What to take:


Nature highlights:



Bodelwyddan Castle


LL18 5YA


01745 584060

Opening times:

Jan-17 Apr Sat-Sun 10.30am-4pm;
18 Apr-2 May and 30 May-5 Jun Daily10am-5pm;
3 May-29 May and 6 Jun-24 Jul Wed-Sun 10am-5pm;
25 July-4 Sep and 24 Oct-30 Oct Daily 10am-5pm;

5 Sep-23 Oct Wed-Sun 10am-5pm;
Nov-18 Dec Sat & Sun 11am-4pm;

19 Dec-6 Jan Closed


Bailey Courtyard Retail: Free access for all
For Castle, Grounds & Exhibition Gallery
Adult 6; Disabled 5 (free admission for carer);
Child (5-16) 2.50 under 5's FREE;
Family (2+2) 15 and (1+3) 12

Park Grounds Only
Adult 3.50; Child (5-16) 1.50; Under 5's free

Photo Restrictions:


Other Restrictions:  
Special Needs Access: Two wheelchair access routes into Castle where the ground floor is accessible and a lift available to the first floor. Mezzanine and second floor not accessible to wheelchair users.
Special Needs Facilities: Disabled toilets at the car park. Disabled parking and drop off point. Wheelchair hire.
Children Facilities: Adventure playground, baby changing facilities in the toilets in the Caffi Castell and at the Box Office.
Dogs Allowed: Guide dogs only. No Dogs allowed within castle or grounds.

Please let us know any other information that we can add to the Further information and Planning Grids or page and any errors that you discover. Before making a long trip to any location it is always wise to double check the current information, websites like magazines may be correct at the time the information is written, but things change and it is of course impossible to double check all entries on a regular basis. If you have any good photographs that you feel would improve the illustration of this page then please let us have copies. In referring to this page it is helpful if you quote both the Page Ref and Classification from the Grids above. To print the planning grid select it then right click and print the selected area.

Please submit information on locations you discover so that this system continues to grow.


By: Tracey Park Section: Castles Key:
Page Ref: bodelwyddan Topic: Castles Last Updated: 03/2011


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