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Where in Wales does the best kitchen garden dining?

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Jesse Dodd

27 February 2017

Sleep at Llangoed Hall and you’re sleeping not only in a seriously comfy bed but also surrounded by a huge amount of history. Llangoed Hall’s the rumoured site of the first Welsh parliament, the White Palace and there’s been a hall here for 1,500 years. Fast forward to the 1980s and the Ashleys (of Laura Ashley) took the place on.

As a Relais & Chateaux hotel it's an intimate country house weekend. Think thick carpets, a wooden panelled snooker room and nightcaps by the fire but also thanks to the forward thinking team, the hotel’s a stunning example of what can be done in even ancient buildings to be energy efficient and semi-self sufficient when it comes food. A weekend here is luxurious but green, slow but sustainable.

Llangoed Hall Pebble Magazine 1

Laura Ashley designed the bedrooms which probably now count as modern vintage

The rooms

The 23 rooms at Llangoed Hall are more like suites, with four posters, armchairs and complimentary decanters of sherry helping you to settle in immediately. It’s like stepping back in time to a life of country house parties and dressing for dinner. Although Llangoed Hall isn’t stuffy in the slightest, the stunning house makes you want to make an effort when you finally stagger down the beautiful wide staircase to be fed.

The views

With 17 acres on your doorstep and views over the Black Mountains, Llangoed Hall has the luxury of fields and forests in every direction. The private drive drops down through a small wood before emerging into the presence of the Edwardian country seat where you can watch the weather cycle through its changes in a matter of minutes.

Llangoed Hall Nick Brodie Food 3

Nick Brodie's food makes kitchen garden dining supremely stylish

The service

As you’d expect in a country house known for its welcomes - you feel like lord of the manor about two minutes after arriving. Bryan, the friendly operations manager, seems to be everywhere and nowhere all at once, like your very own butler.

The menu

What makes Nick Brodie’s inspired cuisine even more superb is the food here is farm fresh. Llangoed Hall’s chickens lay over 10,000 eggs a year and the girls can be seen clucking around a farmyard behind the dining room. With the exception of the fish, everything is sourced from within five miles or grown on site and the dishes are worked up from the ground up.

A four course menu in the evening keeps things compact with a choice of four seasonal dishes per course. The starter of hen's egg with roast chicken sauce was light and homely at the same time, while the duck confit with Jerusalem artichoke ketchup was rich, comforting (perfect on a wet February weekend), yet as delicately presented as a fine dining dessert. Don't skip the homemade petit fours.

The hotel's afternoon tea draws people in from all over Wales and the breakfasts are the stuff of childhood dreams. When you imagined your adult weekends as a child, we’re pretty sure this was it.

The bar

As in every good country house, the bar comes to you. Cosy up by a fireplace big enough to camp in and service appears in an instant. There is a whiskey focused sideboard-cum-honesty bar for a tipple after dinner.

The sustainable bit

  • Llangoed Hall is one of the most sustainable stays in Wales. Everything is recycled as much as possible - even the cooking oil gets turned into fat balls for birds in the winter and bio-diesel in the summer.

  • Huge energy and water saving programmes have seen the hall cut energy usage per guest by 31% and they also save 20,000 litres of water a year.

  • The staff get inventive, re-milling soap for staff use, using cardboard for insulation in outhouses and there’s constant composting, cutting and sowing going on in the grounds. A wild meadow is waiting to flower for the bees.
Llangoed Hall Pebble Magazine 4

The hotel has plenty of grounds to mooch around in

3 reasons to book

  • The country house hotel backs onto a gorgeous river and there’s a well marked five mile loop walk that takes in some of the prettiest immediate landscape.

  • It’s all about chilling out - grab a Sunday paper or a board game and let the weekend wash over you.

  • You’re just down the road from ‘town of books’ Hay-on-Wye and at the edge of the Wye Valley so use Llangoed Hall as a base to explore this gorgeous part of Wales.

Where is Llangoed Hall?

Llangoed Hall is around ten miles from Hay-on-Wye in Powys, mid Wales. It's easiest to drive - we tried out the electric (with a fuel range extender) BMW i3 to get here - and the hotel even charged it for us.

Free Wifi? Yes
Dog friendly? Yes
Child friendly? Yes

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