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Carmarthenshire

Aberglasney opens doors to unseen areas of Grade 2 listed mansion for CADW event

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Aberglasney Gardens will offer special tours of the upper floors of the Grade 2 listed Mansion House during September as part of Cadw’s national ‘Open Doors’ event.

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 each Wednesday during September the public are invited to join our guide on a series of special tours. These tours will give a unique insight into the history of what was once one of Carmarthenshire’s most important houses.

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Aberglasney’s Director of Operations, Jim Stribling, said, “We are delighted to be able to offer visitors to Aberglasney a 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 will be guided tours with Maddy explaining what these floors would have looked like over the years prior to the house being left to deteriorate.”

Whilst normal garden admission prices will apply the guided tours of the upstairs rooms are free. Tours are limited to 10 people so those interested are requested to book their place in advance to avoid disappointment. The tours will start at 2pm every Wednesday during September.

The tour promises a look inside parts of the historic mansion previously off-limits
A glimpse into some of the previously unseen sections of Aberglasney Mansion House

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. 

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There is no disabled access to Aberglasney’s upper floors and those taking part will be required to climb several staircases during the course of the tour. 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 150 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. 

Organised by Cadw, the ever-popular festival of Wales’ built heritage will this year, encourage Welsh residents and visitors alike to explore some of the country’s lesser-known and smaller-scale sites ― several of which are usually closed to the public.

(Lead image: Nigel McColl)

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