Well, given that I’m a writer in my thirties and still renting, it seems fair to say that I’ll never own a stately home.
(Unless I’ve got a Harry Potter or Twilight in me yet. Supernatural preteen love story, anyone?)
But, at the very least, in the U.K. there is an abundance of stately homes that mere mortals are encouraged to visit. The reason for this is that modern aristocrats, while loaded beyond my wildest dreams, seldom have quite enough funds to keep these places going as private homes. Just think of the cost of lemon Pledge alone! To offset costs, they’ll open the house – sometimes continuing to live in just a section, as is the case here – as a museum, hotel or event venue.
So really, they’re not that far ahead of me in terms of social status. Right….? Oh, how we tattered commoners love to dream.
I have a few stately homes to show you over the next couple of weeks. The first is Plas Newydd in Wales, home of the Marquess of Anglesey.
Now, I don’t know about you but before I visited Plas Newydd, I would have assumed someone with the title of Marquess would be wearing a dress, sporting a lavish hairstyle and fawning over those bluebells on the lawn whilst nibbling a macaroon.
Nuh-uh. The Marquess is a dude. Whodathunkit?
Personally, if I were him I think I’d just go by “Marc,” but good on him and his forebears for not viewing that “ess” as an emasculating trio of letters.
Plas Newydd’s grounds would put any football field to shame – they consist of 169 acres of woodland, parkland and wonderfully tended gardens. Also, there is this not-so-rustic treehouse (hey, it’s a stately home – do you really think a couple of rough-hewn planks would have cut it? Upper crust rug rats mustn’t be subjected to splinters).
Also, there is a frisbee golf course at Plas Newydd. This isn’t it, this is a nude statue.
The interior of the house is as overwhelming as you’d hope, the highlight being a massive mural by the artist Rex Whistler which we were not allowed to photograph. But you really must visit the mural, if only to hear the tragic love story that goes along with it.
The tragic supernatural preteen…goblin love story. Hey…anyone know a good publisher? Stately home, here I come!
Travel arrangements courtesy of Visit Wales.