Funded by the vast profits from the slate mine of Caribbean sugar-plantation owner and anti-abolitionist Baron Penrhyn, and extended and embellished by his great-great-nephew, this immense 19th-century neo-Norman folly is both tasteless and spectacular. Flanked by a Victorian walled garden, the creeper-clad stone walls of the Norman ‘fortress’ embower the neo-Gothic hall with its darkly extravagant rooms, complete with intricately carved ceilings, stained-glass windows, opulent furniture and even early flushing toilets.
There is also a railway museum and Llandygai village, a model settlement for Penrhyn’s quarry workers that abuts the estate walls.
Travel time from Benar Cottages: 45 minutes
“Mae’r castell hwn yn warthus” (“This castle is disgraceful“) – those were the words of the National Trust guide as we walked around Penrhyn Castle for the first time. Behind the formidable architecture, Victorian grandeur and fine interiors, present day Penrhyn Castle’s foundations were built on a dark history. One of exploitation, Jamaican sugar fortunes and the transatlantic slave trade.
If you intend to do Zip World, then we highly recommend a trip to Penrhyn Castle. In the pleasant surroundings, you will learn about Penrhyn himself and you will definitely see the quarry you zipped across through new eyes.