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Aberglasney Gardens to offer guided tours of unrestored upper floors of Grade II listed mansion

View of gardens from upper floor of mansion Aberglasney. Credit: Nigel McCall

Aberglasney Gardens will offer special tours of the upper floors of the Grade II* listed mansion during September as part of Cadw’s national ‘Open Doors’ event.

With a rich history dating back to medieval times, the tours will give an unique insight into the history of what was once one of Carmarthenshire’s most important houses.

The fully restored ground floor of the mansion was opened in 2013 by award winning actor Damian Lewis and is open daily. The unrestored upstairs rooms are not usually accessible but twice a week during September the public are invited on a series of special tours.

Aberglasney’s Director of Operations, Jim Stribling, said, “Following on from our successful history tours during August we are now pleased to be able to offer visitors to Aberglasney another, different kind of experience, during September with this opportunity to view the upper floors of the mansion house, which are very rarely open to the public. These tours are a chance to learn all about the colourful history of the house.”

Whilst normal Garden admission prices will apply, the guided tours of the upstairs rooms are free. Tours will start at 2pm every Tuesday and Friday throughout September and each tour is limited to 12 people. Pre-booking is essential, you can either phone the office on 01558 668998 or book online: https://aberglasney.org/charity/ticketshop/open-doors-free-ticket/

Aberglasney’s mansion house has been home to many a colourful character over the last 500 years – poets and artists, a Bishop, a High Sheriff, architects and solicitors, drinkers and those who fiercely abstained. However, prior to recent restoration it had been hard to visualise the grandeur of time gone by after decades of decline when the mansion stood uninhabited, neglected and vandalised.

Today, the centre of the mansion is covered by a glass roof and is home to the ‘Ninfarium’, Aberglasney’s award winning sub-tropical indoor garden, where plants grow amongst the ruinous remains. The rest of the ground floor has been fully restored and is used for art & craft exhibitions and as a meeting venue.

There is no disabled access to Aberglasney’s upper floors and those taking part in the tours will be required to climb several staircases. Remember also that the areas of the mansion to be visited are unrestored and special care will need to be taken when navigating these rooms and visitors will do so at their own risk.

This September more than 200 of Wales’ historic sites, landmarks and hidden gems will offer visitors free entry, events or guided tours. It’s all part of Open Doors — Wales’ annual contribution to the European Heritage Days initiative, which invites heritage organisations, private owners, local authorities and others to open their doors or offer activities to the public free of charge.