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Dinefwr Castle

Visited April 2017

Location Llandeilo, Carmarthenshire, Wales
Entrance Fee Yes
Railway Station Nearby Llandeilo, approx 1 mile
Parking Yes
Facilities Toilets, Gift Shop, Cafe
Map

 

 


 

 

Dinefwr Estate in Carmarthenshire is made up of 800 acres of parkland, with the 19th century Newton House at its core. Built by the Rhys family in a gothic style, the house & land remained in the family until death duties forced its sale in 1972. However, the Rhys family's connection with Dinefwr goes much further back. They were descended from the ancient Princes of Deheaubarth who ruled from Dinefwr Castle, the ruins of which lie approx 1/2 a mile from Newton House, on a wooded spur of the hilltop within the Dinefwr Estate. It was here that generations of the Rhys family lived until more peaceful times meant that they did not need a fortified castle and they built their new house down in the valley. 

 


 

 


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The original castle at Dinefwr was Welsh-built, the area was unpredictable as the Normans were advancing into Wales and the native princes were being pushed further back and forced to fight to defend their lands. Dinefwr did at several points in its history come under control of the English crown, but was returned to the Rhys family after they gave their support to Henry Tudor at the Battle of Bosworth and it has remained in their ownership ever since. 

 

Once the new house was built, the family used the castle ruins as a summer house. They added large windows to the top of the great keep, to enable them to enjoy the view. The tower on the southern wall which in medieval times was used as a latrine, was given a new roof and had glass put in the windows to make it habitable. Inside the tower there is decorative plaster work from the summerhouse era, but this is not accessible to the public, except for pre-booked tours. Despite this, there is a fair amount to see up at the castle, and the views are far reaching, it is easy to understand why the windows were put into the castle tower.

 


 

 


 

Visiting the castle today involves a steep walk up from the parkland, there is a route along the woodland path, or a slightly longer walk along a properly laid path, this is the one to use if you have children in prams or pushchairs. It is still a steep climb though so be prepared for that. We did see several prams at the castle though, so it must be manageable. 

 

Once you have explored the castle, there is lots of woodland surrounding offering plenty of opportunities for children to let off some steam. Once back down the hill there is a board walk which takes you right up to the lake and back again, or you could carry on further into the estate if a longer walk is required.

 


 

 


 

Once you have walked back to the house, there is a pleasant walled garden to visit, and then it is into the house itself. Newton House is very child friendly, it has been designed to be hands-on, and the staff make a point of telling the children when they arrive that they are allowed to touch the displays. This was especially interesting in the old kitchens, with all the utensils from the past on display! There is a piano in the hall which the guests are encouraged to play, and dressing up clothes to try on, including a large top hat that made dad look very dapper!

 

There are tea rooms in the house, it was quite busy on the day we went as a lot of people came in at once as it had started to drizzle, this may have accounted for the less than impressive bacon sandwiches we were served. There is a large gift shop and plant sales for those with an interest in gardening.

 


 

 


 

More info:  National Trust Dinefwr Castle

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