We’ve got some lovely gardens in Snowdonia, such as Bodnant and Portmeirion, but for me the walled garden at Maes y Neuadd is the best – it’s good enough to eat!
The 149 items of fruit and veg only just fit onto a sheet of A4.
Each morning, the head gardener reports to the kitchen, with the complete list of produce indicating what’s at its best. Armed with this knowledge, the chef finalises the day’s menu and the harvest begins - eight tonnes a year.
The vegetable garden is not just a culinary feast, but an aesthetic inspiration. What better than an afternoon stroll spotting the gaps from where tonight’s supper was plucked? Maybe some helpful hints and tips from one of the gardeners?
You never know who you might bump into – Sean Connery, Richard Gere, Senator Edward Kennedy and Jackie Onassis have all stayed here.
This is a country house hotel offering first-class accommodation and food. I have already recommended a small but stylish guesthouse - Y Goeden Eirin near Caernarfon. Maes-y-Neuadd is on a different scale.
It's a fully-fledged hotel with great tradition, spectacular views, luxury accommodation and fine cuisine. You come here to be pampered, and the atmosphere is formal (but not rigid!), with bespoke service. Maes-y-Neuadd seems to be for elevated people with deep pockets. It's a place to go for a birthday or wedding anniversary celebration.
Eating at the restaurant is a ritual. They have their own kitchen gardens, and raw materials are top-notch. Food is cooked by a team of award-winning chefs. At Y Goeden Eirin, the food cooked on the Aga is not haut cuisine, but it is natural and nourishing.
If you can afford it, spend a weekend in Maes-y-Neuadd, and enjoy the sea and hills of Ardudwy, the joys of the natural world, and some spectacular sites such as Harlech Castle. Go to Y Goeden Eirin for a few relaxing days in a warm, smart family home of great character. Have a look at www.neuadd.com and www.ygoedeneirin.com, the contrast is striking!
Hotel Maes-y-Neuadd, Talsarnau, Harlech LL47 6YA Tel: (01766) 780200 Website: www.neuadd.com To find this fine hotel go along the Maentwrog/Harlech road, and it is clearly signposted on the left near Talsarnau. Drive up the narrow winding road to find it on an elevated position with breathtaking views.
The train journey to Harlech from Dyfi Junction is beautiful as is the car journey, either along the coast past Barmouth or inland and then over to the coast.
The castle is beautiful to look at from the beach or sea level but is not that spectacular from the inside. On a nice day the area between Barmouth and Porthmadog is lovely to experience.
Has it all, from the railway journey along the Cambrian coast, to its breathtaking scenery and castle, Snowdonia to the east and the sea to the west, steeped in lore and real history, Harlech and its castle are a must see.
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