Please wait, the site is loading...

Travel

Staycation: Bodysgallen Hall, North Wales

by Helena Lang

This grand 17th-century house with its leaded lights windows and heavy grey stone walls is an imposing sight on a windy, Welsh hillside but, as Helena Lang discovers, it’s easy to find a snug corner within.

29182142574_6d44a29757_o

I was born in North Wales and had many childhood holidays along the Caernarfon coastline but it’s been a very long time since I’ve visited these green hills. A stay at Bodysgallen Hall near the faded Victorian seaside resort of Llandudno was a great opportunity to rekindle my love affair and, sitting in the cosy reception hall with a drink on the first evening, listening to a couple discussing the dinner menu in the beautiful Welsh language, was music to my London ears.

We were waiting for a taxi to take us to The Queen’s Head in Glanwydden for a casual pub supper, a hot recommendation from the hotel’s reception team, and we hugely enjoyed our giant neon pink prawn cocktails, slabs of fresh halibut in a tomato and bean stew and bowls of delicious black cherry and amaretto ice cream from the local parlour, Parisella’s.

Llandudnopier

Back at the hotel in time for a nightcap, we got the giggles while trying to navigate our way to our vast suite squirrelled away on an upstairs floor and accessed via a maze of steps and stairs. As part of Historic House Hotels and owned by the National Trust, the building is steeped in history and untouched by trendy design gurus. From the classic antique furniture to the swathes of curtains around our four-poster bed, it’s the antithesis of the glossy, urban style we’re used to but the traditional touches made it feel comforting and homely.

The bedroom is a tea bag-free zone, so first thing the next morning, we ordered a just-out-of-bed cuppa, which is delivered by staff complete with tea strainer and loose-leaf tea brewing in a pot, proper cups and saucers and crumbly shortbread. Afterwards, we went downstairs to breakfast in the dining room’s light-filled bay window, watching the low shafts of sunshine dart through some heavy grey clouds and bounce off the hills beyond. My bowl of tender poached pears with yogurt and honey was a treat, and the toast trimmed into teeny-tiny triangles that came with our full-Welsh breakfasts was just enough to mop up our plates.

The swimming pool in the spa
The swimming pool in the spa

Our morning plans included a long walk around Great Orme, a hunk of rock jutting into the sea known as Llandudno’s mini-mountain, complete with grazing sheep and goats and a characterful cafe halfway around the 7km route. Below us, seals flopped onto small, grey, sandy beaches, or bobbed about in the surprisingly turquoise water. We passed and greeted gaggles of happy hikers before posing for pictures at the town’s pier and going on the hunt for a light lunch along the Victorian promenade.

On return to Bodysgallen Hall, we trip-trapped down the path outside the reception to the hotel’s spa. This is a friendly, low-key place with old-school style changing rooms and showers, a sizeable pool, jacuzzi, steam and sauna,and a smattering of locals and residents enjoying the bubbling water or relaxing on loungers. I relished having my body buffed by one of the beauty therapists, who used gorgeous-smelling Aromatherapy Associates products to leave me chilled and relaxed before dinner. This is a formal affair, with lots of white linen and hovering waiting staff. Canapés included a beetroot macaron with pickled onion gel, and a crisp salt-cod beignet, while a main course of venison with a chocolate and Cabernet Sauvignon sauce with chestnut gnocchi was a triumph. A board of scrummy Welsh cheeses with homemade onion marmalade, celery, grapes and crackers ended a perfect evening.

A very different experience to the rather basic holiday cottage I remember from my childhood, but a welcome reminder of all the loveliness North Wales has to offer.

How to book:

Bed and breakfast starts from £190 per room per night and includes use of the spa (bodysgallen.com).

Don`t miss

We value your privacy

We use cookies to help give you the best experience on our site and to allow us and third parties to customise the marketing content you see across websites and social media. For more information see our cookie policy.

Cookie Preference Centre

Learn more about what each cookie category does and choose your settings (toggle right to opt in or left to opt out). Cookie policy


Strictly Necessary

These technologies are needed to enable our websites and apps to run and to keep it secure.

Sainsbury's Magazine

These technologies tell us how customers use our sites and apps and provide information to help us improve the website, apps and your browsing experience.

Cookie name Duration
PHPSESSID Until the browsing session ends
device_view 1 month
recentlyViewedRecipes 1 year
subscription-{popup-version-date}-PopupClosed 12 days

Vimeo

Enables Vimeo videos on the site

Cookie name Duration
_derived_epik 1 year

Constant Commerce

Enables shopping tools for recipe ingredients

Cookie name Duration
cc_a_h 10 years
cc_a_s Until the browsing session ends

DoubleClick

DoubleClick Digital Marketing (DDM) is an integrated ad-technology platform that enables us to more effectively create, manage and grow high-impact digital marketing campaigns.

Cookie name Duration
DSID 10 days
IDE 1 year
RUL 11 months

Performance/Analytics

These technologies tell us how customers use our sites and apps and provide information to help us improve the website, apps and your browsing experience.

Google

Google Analytics tell us how customers use our sites and apps and provide information to help us improve the website, apps and your browsing experience.

Cookie name Duration
__gads 13 months
_ga 28 months
_gat 1 minute
_gid 1 day
1P_JAR 1 month
ANID 10 days
CONSENT 18 years
NID 6 months
__Secure-3PAPISID 2 years
__Secure-3PSID 2 years
__Secure-3PSIDCC 1 year

Marketing/Targeting

These technologies help us decide which products, services and offers may be relevant for you. We use this data to customise the marketing content you see on websites, apps and social media. They also help us understand the performance of our marketing activities. These cookies are set by us or our carefully-selected third parties.

Pinterest

Pinterest conversion tracking gathers conversion insights and builds audiences to target based on actions our visitors have taken on the site.

Cookie name Duration
_pinterest_ct_rt 1 year
_pinterest_ct_ua 1 year
_pin_unauth 1 year

Outbrain

These technologies tell us how customers use our sites and apps and provide information to help us improve the website, apps and your browsing experience.

Cookie name Duration
outbrain_cid_fetch 5 minutes
adrl 5 weeks
apnxs 6 weeks
criteo 2 months
obuid 6 months

Twitter

Twitter conversion tracking enables us to measure our return on ad spend by tracking the actions people take after viewing or engaging with our ads on Twitter.

Cookie name Duration
personalization_id 2 years
muc 2 years
ads_prefs 5 years
auth_token 5 years
dnt 5 years
guest_id 2 years
twid 5 years