While we were on a week's holiday on Anglesey a few weeks ago we managed to fit in a visit to another NT property that was brand new to both of us. Penrhyn castle was just a short drive away, in Bangor in North Wales
We made the trip back over the Menai suspension bridge to the mainland and parked up not long after the castle was open for business.
We were a bit dismayed to see hoards of school children milling about but were not deterred and made our way through the babbling throng.
It was a lovely walk along a windy path up to the castle. It wasn't the brightest of days but there were plenty of spring flowers and great views in all directions along the way.
On a clear day the views would be even more spectacular all round, across to the mountains of Snowdonia to the South and the East, and the Menai Straight to the North.
As rain was forecast for later on we decided to make the most of the dry weather and started our visit exploring outside with a wander down to the walled garden.
We were the only visitors in existence and all that could be heard was the faint hum of traffic in the distance, the splashing of the water fountain and the call of the birds. It was lovely, so peaceful.
There wasn't a lot in flower today but the camellias had clearly given a good show and the magnolias were still looking good.
We had a wander right round the garden discovering the bog garden at the bottom filled with the early signs of gunnera against a backdrop of acid yellow calla lilies.From the walled garden we made our way back towards the castle via the chapel garden ...
Once you come out of the trees it's here that the views of the castle would definitely be a sight to behold with a bit of sunshine and blue skies, framed by the mountains in the distance. Even with the dull skies that we experienced the view was still most definitely worth a look.
It was now time for us to head inside and we started our indoor visit with a wander round the railway museum, which fascinated Martin no end, having worked on the railway all of his working life.
Finally it was time to make our way to the front entrance of the Castle, take in yet more amazing views, brave the school trips and explore inside.
The information leaflet that you are given on entry is very useful and has a really handy map, which shows the layout of the Castle and the best route to take to make sure that you don't miss anything.
The scale of the place is impressive, all the rooms are just huge and really well laid out, with lavish furnishings and decoration.
There is plenty to see, including the formal rooms, and a good look at what would have gone on below stairs.
The must see formal rooms are highlighted as being the Library, which is just beautiful, the State Bedroom and the Dining and Breakfast rooms.There are plenty of fascinating architectural features, with stained glass and wooden and stone carvings the like of which neither of us have come across before.
The piece de resistance for us had to be the central staircase, which was reminiscent of both Hogwarts and those never ending staircases you see in optical illusions. It was absolutely stunning and our pictures just can't do it justice.
Below stairs we saw a maze of rooms including the Butler's Pantry and the Cook's Sitting Room and a range of rooms all available for different types of food preparation and cleaning activities.