Lifelong Learning - Tours
|Bodelwyddan Castle Tour
Bodelwyddan Castle offers a unique museum experience. The interior of the former Williams family home was restored in the 1980s to create a magnificent backdrop to the fine collection of 19th century portraits on loan from the National Portrait Gallery. The setting includes richly vibrant reproduction furnishings and décor made according to original Victorian designs that are complemented by statement pieces of furniture from the V&A, and a collection of sculptures from the Royal Academy by one of the greatest sculptors of the age, John Gibson. This tour begins with the portraits of the first baronet of Bodelwyddan, Sir John Williams, and his family, whose story is closely tied up with the Castle until the early 20th century. Evidence of the changes made by successive generations can be seen throughout the tour. The nine historic rooms each represent a particular theme cleverly reflected in the décor. Portraits of eminent Victorian women, musicians and writers adorn the walls of the feminine Ladies’ ‘Drawing Room; 19th century sporting heroes and satirical cartoons reflect masculine taste and humour in the Gentlemen’s Billiard Room. All rooms are on open display, which means you can wander among the exhibits and get up close to the artworks.
|Historic Garden Tour
The history of Bodelwyddan Castle dates back to the 15th Century, although much of what you can see and enjoy today is the work of the Williams family, who made Bodelwyddan their home from the 18th Century. Sir John Hay Williams, 2nd Baronet of Bodelwyddan (1794 – 1859), was a keen horticulturalist whose passion for collecting and cultivating plants was expressed within his fine walled garden and into the surrounding parkland. Much of what he created characterises Bodelwyddan Castle today. We now offer a new Historic Garden Tour, which looks into these fascinating changes and considers the unique relationship people have with their gardens. It covers the Victorian interest in collecting and growing exotic plants, the changes in early 20th Century taste for garden design that complemented the architectural style of the house and surrounding landscape (as exemplified by the Four Seasons garden designed by Thomas Mawson (1861 – 1933) in 1910), to the changes in how our gardens were used during wartime.
Lowther College – The School in the Castle
Bodelwyddan Castle was home to Lowther College from 1920 to 1982. The school originally leased the site from the Williams family, who had owned and lived at Bodelwyddan Castle since the 18th century. However, the school wanted to make a large number of alterations to the buildings and grounds and eventually bought it to be free to create the girls’ school they aspired to. Bodelwyddan Castle has been through many changes during the 20th century – private family home, First World War training camp, girls’ school, museum and hotel – and each occupant has made its mark. As Lowther College, Bodelwyddan Castle saw Britain recovering from one World War and enter another, it saw the Depression and economic growth, and great changes in social attitudes in the 1960s and 70s. These are reflected in the story of the school’s growth and eventual decline.