Llanerchaeron
Llanerchaeron
One of the most recent properties to come into the care of the National Trust, Llanerchaeron is a lovely Georgian mansion in a secluded setting beside the River Aeron, a few miles inland from the mouth of the river at Aberaeron.
The Llanerchaeron estate was the property of the Lewis family for over 300 years, until it finally passed to the Trust in 1989, after the death of John Lewes. The house was built by architect John Nash between 1789 and 1795 for Colonel William Lewis, before Nash went on to become famous for his work on behalf of the Prince Regent, most notably on Buckingham Palace and the Brighton Pavilion.

Nash's house is built in the shape of a simple two storey block, around a central cobbled yard. There are a total of 8 'above stairs' rooms on show, showcasing some of Nash's best touches; these are not ornate or showy chambers as you might find in many stately homes, but rather, restrained, elegant rooms with a quiet classical theme showing Nash's sense of style at its best. Among the best of these rooms is the Drawing Room, which Nash carefully oriented to give views across the park to St Non's church, which he also had a hand in remodelling.

There are also a very extensive set of 'below stairs' rooms, used by the servants who helped make Llanerchaeron a self sufficient estate for so many years. Among the working areas of the house are a servant's bedroom, beer cellars, butler's pantry, a glorious kitchen, scullery, game larder, dairy, scullery, cheese press room (complete with original cheese presses), bakehouse, smokehouse, brew house, and dry laundry - to name just a few! Whew!

A first floor bedchamber
A first floor bedchamber
One of the highlights of the interior is the PM Ward collection of artefacts. Ms Ward was a successful antique dealer based in Knightsbridge, and over the course of her life amassed a large collection of eclectic curios. These she donated to the National Trust, on the condition that they be displayed in a Georgian house environment. Among the curios are a collection of gentlemen's walking sticks.

Also part of the Llanerchaeron experience are a very complete set of 19th century farm buildings, including a Threshing Barn, Heavy Horse Stables, potting shed, carriage yard, and stable courtyard, while a short stroll from the house is a quiet walled garden and a lovely lake.

Our Verdict: I was very pleasantly surprised by Llanerchaeron. Its a lovely little Welsh manor, not at all imposing or overpowering, but elegant and homely, in a very appealling sort of way. The secluded setting is wonderful, and the sense of country calm only adds to the atmosphere. Its the sort of place you could find yourself coming back to again and again. And it is fascinating from an historical perspective to see the early work of John Nash, a man who would have so much to say about Regency style and architecture.