Driving between the pudding shaped hills that led to Ruthin Castle, which sits right on the doorstep of an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, the scenery grew ever more captivating. Approaching the castle, narrow roads were strewn with higgledy piggledy houses reminiscent of pictures you would see in old story books.
With the promise of exploring the nooks and crannies of such a magnificent building and unearthing the century’s worth of history, I knew this would be a unique experience. And I have to admit, the thought that I may be visited by the ghostly Grey Lady had begun to excite me.
I was greeted by an impressive wood panelled reception, where stags’ heads gazed down from the walls, and the high ceiling and leaded windows held my stare for what must have seemed like an unusually long moment to the lady sitting behind the desk.
En route to my room, I immediately fell in love with the grandeur and imperfections that come as standard with such a historic building. I was given the pleasure of staying in Lillie, a striking suite named after the actress Lillie Langtree, who was the lover of Edward Prince of Wales and a frequent visitor at Ruthin Castle.
As well as having a rather cool, walk-in-wardrobe tucked away behind the four poster bed, a beautiful, decorative screen hid an oversized bath, with a separate double shower next door. Boutique touches such as the imposing red chandelier rubbed shoulders with antique furniture and large bay window, with views of the castle walls, giving it an eccentric charm.
One of my favourite rooms at Ruthin was the lounge, with its huge stone fireplace and roaring log fire that burned continually throughout my stay; this is the perfect cosy space for relaxing on the sofa with a glass of your favourite tipple.
The Moat Spa is a heavenly retreat, which I accessed from the old scissor gate elevator, where residents and non-residents can enjoy luxurious ESPA treatments, work out in the gym or sink into one of the hot tubs in the Thermal Suite.
As I wandered around the grounds and explored the gardens, accompanied by several of the resident peacocks, I was immersed in real moments of calm as I brooded on the castle’s battle scars and the royalty whose footsteps I was walking in; it was a humbling experience I won’t forget in a hurry.
One of the many highlights at Ruthin is the incredible Banqueting Hall, where they hold fabulous medieval feasts. The moment I entered the room I sensed the great history. Taking inspiration from the legendary feasts that were held by the Earl of Warwick in the 16th century, guests are entertained by Ladies of the Court and are invited to indulge in a magical evening of food, drink and revelry.
Although I didn’t get the opportunity to experience one of the renowned feasts, I did, however, have the pleasure of sampling some of the delights from the a la carte menu in Berties Restaurant. To say the food was mouth watering would be an understatement, and I couldn’t resist taking several obligatory foodie pictures to savour the memory for longer. The salmon and scallop with lemon gel and dustings of langoustine powder was cooked to perfection. I’m not usually a huge fan of gnocchi, but I was enticed by the addition of the blue cheese, and I must confess I didn’t regret my choice – the flavours and textures were exquisite.
I loved every minute of my stay at Ruthin Castle, and I was certainly touched by its enchanting ambience.