Country House Charm
PUBLISHED: 15:31 08 December 2014 | UPDATED: 15:31 08 December 2014
In need of some peace and quiet, Sybilla Hart heads to Llangoed Hall in Brecon, Wales, to enjoy country house chic the Laura Ashley way
A great number of hotels claim to be in possession of a country house style, but among the best of the bunch has to be Llangoed Hall in Brecon, Wales. The imposing granite stone Jacobean manor house used to belong to the designer, Laura Ashley. The link is unavoidable; there are photos of family weddings, children and fashion shoots all over the house.
Llangoed Hall has the feel of a Scottish lodge where a house party might head during August to shoot, while away hours in the snooker room and picnic by the river. The dramatic views of the brooding Black Mountains encircle the hotel and had I not been eight months pregnant, I might have girded my loins and taken to the hills. Instead, we went for a lazy wander down to the river and inspected the well-kept kitchen garden.
Llangoed Hall boasts an impressive history. Legend has it that it was the White Palace, home of the very first Welsh parliament. The MacNamara family won Llangoed in a card game and it stayed with them for two generations until 1847. In 1912 Clough Williams Ellis re-designed the mansion as a country house. Sir Bernard Ashley bought Llangoed Hall in 1987 and opened it as a hotel in 1990. The present owner plainly wishes to follow the style of the Ashleys — indeed it is as if they never left.
The easy charm of Llangoed Hall is catching. There is not the steady stream of daytime visitors often found at hotels off the M4 corridor; ordering their cream teas and beating you to that nice armchair you had your eye on by the fire. There is an extremely friendly butler who seems to run the show and is intent on affording you a thorough relax. I didn’t have that urge to get home after two nights at Llangoed Hall, in fact, I could have stayed for a week or two.
The unexpected discovery at Llangoed Hall has to be the food. I had no idea that we were going to be in for such a culinary treat. The tasting menu was stratospheric — easily worthy of a Michelin star. The piece de resistance had to be the smoking egg sorbet that arrived as the grand finale. Trust me, it has to be tasted to be believed! The restaurant currently has 2 AA stars and is served by very friendly staff and an excellent chef, Nick Brodie. His culinary vision is to make Llangoed Hall, ‘a destination for great food’.
The bedrooms are very comfortable, furnished with a good dollop of chintz and a cut crystal decanter of sherry awaits you on arrival after a long drive – just make sure you leave enough room for the wine list.
For more details about staying at Brecon’s Llangoed Hall, visit www.llangoedhall.co.uk