Beautiful Bodnant

080This week, I am away from home (with Husband, of course) staying at a hotel in Chester, very close to the Welsh border. This is an ideal place from which I can visit my family in Lancashire and Wales as well as revisiting some of the wonderful castles along the North Wales coast and the Roman and medieval sites around the city of Chester itself.

Oddly enough, our first visit was to somewhere quite unplanned. Whilst visiting my aunt and uncle at Penrhyn (in the county of Conwy) along the coast of North Wales, we decided to take a trip to Bodnant Gardens, nestling in the foothills of Snowdonia, just five miles inland from their house.

Bodnant has been described as one of the world’s most “magical” gardens. The scenery is quite dramatic and there are historic plant collections and awesome trees. Every season presents wonderful species and the changing colours are spectacular.

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A single post could not do justice to the history and evolution of the Gardens, and even today, expansion and improvement continue. Regarding the history, I will simply summarise things by saying that Bodnant Hall was built in 1792 and was landscaped with native trees:

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A mill was built down in the Dell (valley) to serve the needs of the estate, but it was not until the Hall was bought by industrialist Henry Pochin in 1874, that the gardens began to really take shape. It was he who planted the giant conifers in the Dell, created the famous Laburnum Arch and built the Poem Mausoleum as a resting place for himself and his family.

Since Pochin’s time the Gardens have considerably grown and new species continuously introduced. Plants were brought back by 19th and early 20th century explorers, including towering American redwoods and gorgeous Himalayan primulas, poppies and lilies.

The Gardens were first opened up to the public by Pochin’s daughter Laura, following her father’s death in 1895. On Laura’s death, management of the gardens passed to her son, Henry McLaren and stayed within that family until 1949 when they were handed over to The National Trust.

We’ve visited Bodnant several times before, at different times of the year, and have always been delighted with the displays. This month, the blooms are spectacular and I’ve never seen the Laburnum Arch look better. My aunt particularly loves the many different varieties of roses.  Here are some photos we took:

On this occasion we didn’t manage to get down to the Dell, as my aunt was having problems with a sprained ankle, so we stayed relatively close to the Hall and the different gardens there. The following photos show some of the displays and views we saw. The Laburnam Arch was absolutely stunning. And yes, it’s me and Husband ambling along inside…

My next post will be about the first of the wonderful Welsh castles we visited. We’ll be back home on Sunday, so the others will be done sometime next week. Well, that’s the plan…

About milliethom

I am a reader and writer of historical fiction with a keen interest in the Earth's history and all it involves, both physically and socially. I like nothing better than to be outdoors, especially in faraway places, and baking is something I do when my eyes need respite from my computer screen.
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39 Responses to Beautiful Bodnant

  1. draliman says:

    Lovely! We didn’t “know” each other back then, but I also visited Bodnant during my little Wales adventure a couple of years ago. I don’t like posting unsolicited links in comments, so if you would like to see my pictures, just visit my blog and type “bodnant” into the search box 🙂

    It’s a beautiful place, and when I went the weather was spectacular.

  2. Jessie Cross says:

    Love all the photos…the flowers are really stunning and I like the Laburnam Arch. Thank you for sharing these. Looking forward to seeing the castles.

    • milliethom says:

      Thank you, Jessie. Bodnant was a lovely start to our week. My aunt and uncle visit so often as it’s less than five miles from where they live. I’ve been four times now, but this was the first time I’ve seen the laburnam in full flower. It was either not quite open or just finished on our previous visits!

  3. Shivangi says:

    Wonderful castle… Flowers in bloom… This is heaven. Looking forward to more posts on castles😀

    • milliethom says:

      Thank you, Shivangi! 🙂 Bodnant Hall is what we call a Stately Home, and is many hundreds of years younger than any of the castles. It’s still old, though, being built in 1792. The gardens are really “magical” too. 😀

  4. Oh, I’d love to visit those gardens! It looks so lovely! All those flowers and the green grass. What a nice photo of you and your husband, too 🙂 Love the idea of it being a medieval garden. I’ve heard that some flowers can last for half a century, even (orchids, at least)… And so my imagination immediately wanders to a scene where some of the flowers in that garden might be centuries old; the originals brought back by the explorers themselves (not just descendants). I know plants (probably) don’t last that long, but hey, I can still daydream! Wouldn’t it be amazing to stroll along in a garden with flowers that old? 🙂 In any case, the fact that everything has been kept close to the original design must certainly add some historic atmosphere. Loved this post!

    • milliethom says:

      What a fantastic comment! I love where your ideas were taking you – and yes, we can all dream. Some of the trees are centuries old and some of the species are really old varieties that the gardeners have kept going. Thank you for liking the post. I must agree that these gardens are fabulous. 🙂

  5. Aquileana says:

    No wonder why Bodnant Gardens have been described as one of the world’s most “magical” gardens ever! ⭐ … This post is absolutely gorgeous, dear Millie. Thanks for sharing it with us Happy weekend ahead to you! Aquileana 😀

  6. mojoshawn says:

    What a beautiful and interesting place, Millie! Great pictures, too!

  7. scrapydo2.wordpress.com says:

    This was a wonderful visit to the beautiful gardens and Awesome Hall. Thanks for the tour!

  8. too many good picture in one post 🙂

  9. smilecalm says:

    Fresh, beautiful relief from this hot N. California day
    taking a cool dose of your garden’s gift, millie 🙂

    • milliethom says:

      Thank you, Smilecalm. It was pleasantly warm and sunny while we were at Bodnant. The rest of the week was grey and windy, so some of your Californian sunshine would have been very welcome. (Perhaps not quite so hot, though!) 🙂

  10. Norma says:

    Your uncle and aunt are really lucky to have been staying near this garden. The garden looks spectacular from the post that you’ve written and pictures shown. I’m sure you would have had a wonderful time there. The Laburnam Arch looks very romantic and beautiful.

  11. It was a wonderful journey through your eyes with all the exquisite images. The flowers and the museum look spectacular. Thank you for sharing this. Looking forward to a lovely post on the Welsh castle as well 🙂

    • milliethom says:

      Thank you so much, Prateek. Bodnant is a glorious place, and they are improving it all the time. I’ve visited at different times of year and the displays and colours are always wonderful. They plan each season out very carefully. I’ll be putting up the first of my three castle posts tomorrow, so thank you for your interest in that. 🙂

      • Glorious indeed 🙂 I had a somewhat similar sight in Shalimar and Nishat gardens of Kashmir valley. Though they aren’t blessed by the presence of castles, the Himalayas one side and Dal lake on the other makes the colors of the garden, surreal 🙂

      • milliethom says:

        India is one of the countries I’d dearly love to see. When it comes to colour, few countries can compete. It’s so very vibrant and one day I might get there (when I’ve finished my third book – which won’t be this year unless I put a spurt on!) I’m just in the middle of having a look at your lovely blog, so I’ll hop back to it now. 🙂

      • India would be honored to host you 🙂
        Best wishes for the book! Can’t wait to lay my hands on it 😉
        And you are most welcome to this space of a beginner 🙂

      • milliethom says:

        Your blog is doing brilliantly for a beginner! 🙂

  12. sunesiss says:

    O my God! beautiful. I think of peace and serenity as I look through your pictures and wish desperately that teleportation was real and at my disposal. you must have had/having a swell time on your trip. I do hope I get to see these little heaven(s) on earth sprinkled among all the chaos and darkness.
    simply wonderful.

    • milliethom says:

      We probably caught Bodnant at its best this year. We’ve missed the flowering of the Laburnam Arch several times! It is a glorious place, and so well kept. I think most people like to see lovely gardens and flowers. They bring so much colour into our lives, as well as the wonderful scents. Your lovely words at the end there describe just how I feel about the place. Thank you so much for the wonderful comment, sunesiss. ❤

  13. WOW!!! I love the place. Thank you for the pictures Millie.

  14. The Laburnum Arch and the knotty trees are my favourites. Great post Millie, and as usual a fabulous collection of photos! 😊

  15. I of July says:

    you have a most wonderful husband… adventuring together… lush greens 🙂

    • milliethom says:

      Thank you, Heath. We like to see as many places as we can since I’ve retired. (Nick retired when he was 42 after a car accident. He gets about OK now, though very slowly – especially when he forgets his walking stick!). Bodnant is gorgeous, and we’ve been several times before. It is very lush, like most of the western side of the British Isles. All the rain we get! 😀

  16. Pingback: Travel Q and A | The Snow Melts Somewhere

  17. scribbley14 says:

    Still catching up on all the blog posts I missed during my exams! Lovely photos 🙂

    • milliethom says:

      Thanks, Scribbley. I’m doing the same as you now – catching up. I’ve been away for only eight days and I’m so behinds with everything. Hope you had a great hol in Greece! 🙂

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