Bodelwyddan Castle, close to the village of Bodelwyddan, near Rhyl, Denbighshire in Wales, was built around 1460 by the Humphreys family of Anglesey as a manor house. The castle was bought from the Humphreys by Sir William Williams, Speaker in the House of Commons from 1680-1681. The castle which stands today was reconstructed between 1830 and 1832 by Sir John Hay Williams, who employed the architects Joseph Hansom (inventor of the Hansom cab) and Edward Welch to refurbish and extend the house. The Williams' family fortunes started to decline in the 1850s, due to the loss of the main source of income for the estate, lead mining. The castle has been described as one of Hansom's most ambitious projects, "being wildly dramatic and owing nothing to its predecessors". At the same time works were carried out to construct an estate wall and formal gardens.
Further refurbishment work was carried out in the 1880s by Sir Herbert, 7th Baronet, who inherited Bodelwyddan Castle from his heirless cousin.By the First World War the house had become a recuperation hospital for wounded soldiers. During this time, the grounds of the estate were used by soldiers based at the nearby Kinmel Camp for trench warfare training. Traces of these trenches can still be seen. By 1920, the cost of maintaining the castle and estate had grown too burdensome, and the Williams-Wynn family leased Bodelwyddan to Lowther College, a girls private school. The school was formed in 1896 at Lytham St. Annes in Lancashire, by Mrs Florence Morris (later Lindley). Lowther College purchased the property five years later, in 1925. The school is thought to be one of the first private schools for girls to have its own swimming pool. It also had a private golf course. The Lowther College Tableaux were well regarded within the community for their musical excellence. Boys were admitted from 1977. The school closed in 1982 due to financial problems.
The castle is set within a large area of parkland, and formal gardens, the most recent of which was originally designed by Thomas Hayton Mawson in 1910. There are two wheelchair access routes into the Castle. A CCTV monitor at the Main Entrance enables attendants to identify unaccompanied individuals who may need guidance to these points. Inside the Venue : All ground floor and first floor galleries are suitable for wheelchair users with lift access to permanent and temporary displays. Regrettably, permanent displays on the mezzanine and second floor are not wheelchair accessible. Handling resources are being developed to allow visitors to experience aspects of these displays. Free wheelchair hire is available for those with mobility difficulties. A free audio guide is offered to all visitors with a Braille transcription available on request. Written interpretation meets minimum RNIB requirements. Attendant staff are on hand to provide free guided tours to tailored meet the needs of individuals. The Education Officer can provide facilitated tours incorporating handling collections to pre-booked groups with access needs. There are ground floor toilet facilities for disabled users at the box office.
Location : Bodelwyddan, Rhyl LL18 5YA
Transport : Rhyl (National Rail) then bus. Bus Routes : X52 stops near by
Opening Times : Daily 10:30 to 16:30
Tickets : Adults £7.50; Concessions £6.50; Children £4.50
Tel : 01745 584060