Our country houses - Dolserau Hall

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Arresting countryside views dominate at this Victorian manor house at the southern end of Snowdonia (Eryri) the most famous national park in Wales covering a total of 823 square miles. The surrounds are idyllic; think ancient woods, craggy uplands in all directions (parts of the park served as the inspiration for Middle Earth in JRR Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings), enchanting forests, glorious coasts, green valleys, and much more. Here’s what makes staying here so special.

The early years

It was at Dolserau Hall (meaning ‘meadow of the stars’) where Robert Owen lived with this wife Jane before boarding the Vine – the ship carrying Welsh Quakers from Merionethshire to Pennsylvania in 1684. While the house remained in the family thereafter, it was destroyed by a fire and subsequently rebuilt. No remains of the old house are visible, but the foundations were uncovered during an excavation at a nearby mill site a few years ago.  

The present Dolserau Hall was built in 1863 for Charles Edwards, a Justice of the Peace who was MP for Windsor and later High Sherriff of Meirionnydd. His design brief was one of Victorian glamour, resulting in the porticoed entrance, large galleried hall, impressive staircase, and stained glass windows with coats of arms. The house was used as a private residence for various occupants over the years, including Sir Eric Ommanney Skaife, brigadier and patron of Welsh culture, who lived here during the 1940s. It has been part of our HF Holidays line-up since 2011.

Superb facilities

Open from March to November and during the festive season, there’s 23 well-appointed guest rooms in two categories (Classic and Premium) spread across the main house and the converted coach house. You’ll also find a comfortable main lounge, a licensed bar, a dining room for a wide range of dishes made with fresh and seasonal ingredients, and a smaller room that’s perfect for light lunches, snacks, and evening activities.  

Elsewhere, there’s a handy boot and drying room, books and games to borrow during your stay, and a Discovery Point offering a wide range of local area maps, route guides, and easy-to-follow information for self-guided walks. Also worthy of your attention are the five acres of gardens and grounds offering views across the valley to the summit of Cadair Idris.

Linger for longer

Whether you’re enjoying one of our guided or self-guided walking holidays, there’s plenty to see and do within easy travelling distance of Dolserau Hall. Here’s some of our favourites:

Dolgellau: This small market town was once known for its once flourishing woollen industry. Ruins of the Pandy fulling mills used to remove fats and grease from the wool cloth can still be seen along the Afon Aran River.  

Ffestiniog & Welsh Highland Railway: Established in 1832, this heritage line offers nearly 40 miles of Snowdonia (Eryri) scenery. The Ffestiniog Railway runs from Porthmadog to Tan y Bwlch while the Welsh Highland Railway travels from Caernarvon to Beddgelert. Porthmadog station is a 40-minute drive away. 

Great Little Trains of Wales: A collection of little steam railways, this makes for an enchanting way to discover the visually-striking Welsh countryside. The Snowdon (Yr Wyddfa) Mountain Railway has been taking passengers to the mountain’s summit since 1896 (early bookings are highly recommended). 

National Slate Museum: A 90-minute drive away, this Llanberis-based museum is housed in the industrial Victorian workshops once used for serving and maintaining the Dinorwic slate quarry. Highlights include watching slate being cut by hand and visiting the terrace of quarrymen's houses. 

Caernarfon Castle: Just over an hour’s drive away, this fortress-palace on the banks of the River Seiont was built by Edward I. The Royal Welsh Fusiliers Museum is located inside the castle and offers a wealth of exhibits that tell the story of the oldest infantry regiment in Wales. 

Harlech Castle: A 45-minute drive away, Edward I’s stone fortress dominates the landscape and affords incredible views across Snowdonia (Eryri). The castle is largely a ruin, although the huge inner walls and towers still stand almost to their full heights. 

Criccieth: A 50-minute drive away, this seaside town is famed for its 13th century castle ruins overlooking Cardigan Bay. Highlights include relaxing on the beach and stopping for an ice cream at Cadwaladers - the esteemed Welsh ice cream parlour founded here in 1927. 

Llechwedd Slate Caverns: A 40-minute drive away, this visitor attraction is best known for its deep mine tour that descends 500 feet underground. Highlights include learning about the subterranean chambers and enjoying a fabulous light and sound display at the underground lake. 

Bodnant Gardens: Just over an hour's drive away, these breathtaking gardens spread across 80 acres offer wonderful views of Snowdonia (Eryri). Founded in 1874 and given to the National Trust in 1949, highlights include the Italianate terraces, wildflower meadows, and woodland. 

Plas Newydd House: A 90-minute drive away, the historic home of Lady Eleanor Butler and Sarah Ponsonby (the so-called Ladies of Llangollen) was a stone cottage converted into a gothic fantasy. The mansion also comes with 40 acres of garden and 129 acres of woodland and parkland. 

Portmeirion: Designed by celebrated Welsh architect Sir Clough Williams-Ellis in the mid-1920s, this Italianate-style coastal village is an hour’s drive away. For walkers, not-to-be missed sights include the Dwyryd Estuary and the subtropical forest known as The Gwyllt. 


Best of the Meirionnydd Coast Path

Departures: 14 Jun, 19 Jul, 30 Aug 2024, 7 nights

Book now or call 020 3974 8865

3 Night Southern Snowdonia Walking with Sightseeing Holiday

Departures: 24 May, 2 Aug 2024, 3 nights

Book now or call 020 3974 8865

7 Night Southern Snowdonia Guided Walking

Departures: Mar-Nov 2024, 7 nights

Book now or call 020 3974 8865

4 Night Snowdonia Discovery Tour

Departures: 8 Jul, 19 Aug 2024, 4 nights

Book now or call 020 3974 8865

Published 15th December 2023