Gardens in North and Mid Wales
The beautiful nature and gardens that are around North Wales
To garden in North Wales brings huge challenges and rewards ensuring that adjectives such as dull and mediocre need never apply. The scenery, in which the gardens are set, is often dramatic, stark, wind swept, hilly, mountainous and fed by steams, rivers and a more than adequate rainfall. The vistas created within these conditions are breathtakingly beautiful throughout the seasons, ever-changing, inspiring and well worth visiting.
Bala is perfectly situated for exploring the gardens listed below, the majority of which can be reached, by car, within the hour. All that is required is a stout pair of walking shoes, a map, an umbrella and a camera; refreshments may be purchased at most establishments and some money might be useful.
Caerau Uchaf Gardens (01678 5304930) Sarnau, near Bala.
A privately owned garden run by local entrepreneurs and garden experts - Toby and Stephanie Hickish - who also run Gorwelion, Café Tegid and more.
This is the highest private garden open to the public, at over 1000ft. Wonderful panoramic views, children friendly with an adventure playground tucked into the woods, and sweeping paths that lead through bold colourful planting and elegant design. There is an excellent café serving a simple menu made from garden-grown produce and delicious home-baked cakes and biscuits. A small nursery enhances a lovely garden that has been developing since 1994. Well worth a visit.
Bodnant Garden (01492 650460) Tal-y-Cafn, Colwyn Bay, Conwy LL28 5RE
Dramatic views west to Snowdonia, an enormous collection and variety of plants, set in 80 acres. This National Trust garden is one of the great gardens in North Wales, sublime in spring with rhododendrons, azaleas, camellias and magnolias all trying to outdo each other with their showy blooms. The laburnum tunnel is legendary, see picture, and the deep terracing the focus of summer colour. Bodnant has recently benefited from a substantial replanting and maintenance programme.
Chirk Castle (01691 777701) Chirk, Wrexham LL14 5AF
Completed in 1310, Chirk is the last Welsh castle from the reign of Edward 1 still lived in today. There are award-winning gardens consisting of the shrub garden, lime tree avenue, yew topiary and a circular walk through a medieval hunting park.
The terrace offers stunning views over Cheshire.
Erddig (01978 355314) Wrexham, Clwyd LL13 OYT
Described as, “a breath of fresh air” by Stephen Anderton in his book, “Discovering Welsh Gardens”. Erddig is a mix of early eighteenth century formality and late eighteenth century design intermingled with a smattering of Edwardian planting. Minimalist and uncluttered it is a soothing delight to visit. A day can easily be spent at Erddig as the house is also open to the public and was winner of UKTV History, “Britain’s Best” Historic House.
Plas Brondanw (07880 766741) Llanfrothen, Penrhyndeudraeth, Gwynedd LL48 6SW
The home of Clough Williams-Ellis, the iconic architect of Portmeirion Village. This garden is not far from the Village and well worth a look. A sloping site has resulted in terracing and balustrades, the yew hedges and topiary provide definition and the occasional sculptures punctuation. Cross the road and pass through the blue and gold gates to reach the landscape garden with the faux castle at the top of the hill.
Great to visit and rarely busy.
Powis Castle and Garden (01938 551929) Welshpool, Powys SY21 8RF
The garden at Powis has the most fantastically planted and maintained terraces in Britain. What began in 1680s continues to this day and is the reason that Powis is a, “must” in every keen gardeners list of, “things to see”. The view from the balustrade stretches out across a formal garden, a wooded area created by the landscaper William Eames in 1771, to the hills beyond. Walk down to the great lawn and gaze back up to appreciate the enormous clipped yews, which have developed over the centuries.
The Dingle Garden and Nursery (01938 555145) Welshpool, Powys SY21 9JD
On the way back to Bala, having visited Powis, the Dingle Garden is a rare find and a great opportunity for purchasing plants of excellent quality. Ray and Barbie Joseph started the garden in the 1970s. There is a circular walk around the pond and beyond into the woodland garden. The garden has matured and consequently the planting is dense with trees and shrubs jostling for space. There is much to admire and inspire and then a well-stocked nursery from which to choose your favourite plant.
Information compiled by Bryniau Golau.