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Penrhyn Castle

1,428 Reviews

Penrhyn Castle

1,428 Reviews
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1,428Reviews17Q&A
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marg k wrote a review Oct 2020
Liverpool, United Kingdom458 contributions190 helpful votes
Visited this week. I understand the house has only recently reopened but the majority of the ground floor is given over to a project “ what a world “ which is a school project focusing on their interpretation of slavery. Whilst this is an important topic I feel there is too much emphasis on this and more could be made of the amazing house which was built primarily as a family residence and not for defence. Lovely gardens. Sadly the Victorian kitchen remains closed.
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Date of experience: October 2020
2 Helpful votes
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Jo P wrote a review Oct 2020
Brough, United Kingdom277 contributions45 helpful votes
+1
We pre booked online as there are currently limited entries due to Covid, it was clear online before we booked which parts where open so were not disappointed as per some reviews. Very friendly staff however we felt there was a lack of info on display (understand there would probably have been more previously and there was some confusing exhibition which wasn't to our taste) that could have been signs. Overall well kept gardens and house that is worth a visit if you're in the area, we will hopefully return when the house fully opens again.
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Date of experience: October 2020
1 Helpful vote
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Mike T wrote a review Oct 2020
Tonbridge, United Kingdom11 contributions1 helpful vote
Visited Penrhyn Castle recently. A great Castle with stunning interiors and artifacts along with a walled garden and grounds being ruined by the National Trusts presentation who are supposed to protect it. The lighting has been dulled down and the rooms have a “What a world” exhibition based on children’s thoughts starting at the beginning of your tour and impinging into many areas. While I applaud getting children involved in history and happy to look at their project, I really do not visit great houses and castles to get a 10-year old’s view on life, especially seen through the modern prism of directed and reinterpreted history influenced by the latest fashion. The Coverage of slavery and other judgements under the auspices of the colonial countryside project completely overwhelms the other history in places (the slate quarry and the longest strike in Britain anyone?, the house, the family, the artefacts etc.). No other labelling anywhere. Poor. Suffice to say I followed a couple out who when they finished had just got no idea about any of the rest of it. This idea of contextualisation has been taken way too far. I think the Covid crisis has allowed the Trust to develop this in an echo box without any realistic feedback. Talking of boxes, the curator puts an old box out in the Dining Room which may or may not have contained papers relating to running the estate or the plantations or in fact just about anything to make a point. Followed by a garish neon sign with some lamentable prose about boxes on the fireplace, ruining the whole setting originally dressed for the room. Challenging? “thinking outside the box”? No, pretentious nonsense, get over yourself. I pray the other properties have not gone as over the top as Penrhyn. Here's an example by Fatima from the exhibition in front of an Egyptian artefact. “He had money and I had history. His money bought my history.” Well Fatima people with money have always collected and displayed their wealth through objects. That’s why people go to National Trust properties to look at them in the buildings setting otherwise they would be in a Museum looking at them. So we have a wealthy UK family who had a connection to slavery and a history of exploiting the workers and natural resources in Wales and Jamaica buying an artefact of an ancient Egyptian culture who Er are known for their slavery, subjugation and exploitation of natural resources. Do we identify the Egyptian object with some background as to what is, came from, culture etc. Now that would be of interest. No we don’t, we just get to see Fatima’s opinion. Educate the poor girl and give us what we visited for and paid for - History. As to the rest there was no need to keep the gardens closed at all or delay the opening of the houses this late. The NT as an organisation are now asking people for more support. “As a charity we appreciate your support now more than ever in these difficult times. Over the past few months it’s become clear just how much we all need fresh air, open space and beauty. Your donation today will help look after all our special places for everyone, for ever." - Lydia Lee, National Trust Fundraising Director It was clear from the beginning of the crisis people needed fresh air and open spaces yet the Trust closed its spaces and properties for months and way beyond any government guidelines, cutting off those open spaces they hold in trust for the country and denying people access. If this is what it has been doing with its time, what an embarrassing shambles. The Trust had the advantage that the majority of the properties in its care already have a one-way system. English Heritage, private homes and castles have opened earlier, more and better. They even cope with places like towers and dungeons with timed and grouped releases. How is this so difficult? The trust could have led, not stumbled along lamely in the wake of everyone else. Even Tesco rapidly worked out how to route people! Meanwhile the massive procrastination and focus on this stuff has led to job and financial losses. A total own goal, absolutely shameful betrayal of your purpose, your employees, your volunteers and your members and truly incompetent leadership. Many people are giving up their annual membership in disgust at this and other initiatives like the report on colonialism and slavery dragging figures like Winston Churchill into it. I hope people don’t leave, but fight back, these properties and history belong to all the nation not just the overpaid executive and the virtue signalling liberal elite of our society. Please visit this great and other sites but also give some honest feedback, it is your heritage too.
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Date of experience: October 2020
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Response from Voyage11681409215, Manager at Penrhyn Castle
Responded Oct 16, 2020
Thank you for sharing your review of your visit to Penrhyn Castle. As you have said, Penrhyn Castle has a rich history, with many facets. Over the years, we have shone a light on many of these stories and will continue to do so, in varied ways and through the eyes of different communities. What a World is the latest in a series of programmes, and the exhibition was developed through 2019 and early 2020. It follows on from previous installations which have focussed on the story of the Slate Quarry and strike, for example Slate or State by artists Walker & Bromwich in 2017. It is the responsibility of the National Trust, as custodians of places like Penrhyn on behalf of the nation, to ensure that we understand all parts of their history. At different times we will focus on different periods, characters and histories, but always within the wider context of our places, hence the decision to set What a World within the state rooms, and not side-lined to a room outside of the Castle. We agree with you that children are a vitally important audience, and their perspective on history is both valid and unencumbered by preconceptions, and this was a wonderful opportunity to gather their responses to a particular part of Penrhyn’s history and give them the opportunity to share them. With regard to individual objects in the collection, there are always room guides and NT staff available to answer any particular questions that visitors might have about them. If we are unable to answer your questions there and then, many of them are described in detail in our guidebook and on our National Trust Collections website. To your points on reopening National Trust properties following the Covid-19 lockdown, we’ve closely followed all government recommendations to reopen gradually and safely, with the health and wellbeing of our guests, staff and volunteers as our top priority. Measures have been put in place to enable people to explore and enjoy the properties safely with one-way systems and other methods to ensure social distancing. The Trust has over 200 houses, many with extensive collections of historic furniture and art, but each one is different and needs its own plan for reopening under the current guidelines. They were often designed as grand homes for their time not visitor attractions and each has very different challenges. We want everywhere to be safe for our visitors, volunteers and staff when it does reopen as well as looking after the houses and their collections properly. This is not work which can be rushed, and we’ll continue to respond to the latest government advice and guidelines. Lastly, we’d like to thank you for your ongoing support of the National Trust through your membership and recent visits.
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CD123 wrote a review Sep 2020
Kingston-upon-Hull, United Kingdom22 contributions17 helpful votes
Spent a couple of hours here as a couple. Had a nice walk around the grounds and then the ground floor of the castle. It was a shame the full castle wasn’t reopened as it was very large, would have loved to explore it all but were grateful to see some of it! There is a cafe which is open but they don’t have much choice in their food offerings so just be aware of this if you intend eating here
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Date of experience: September 2020
2 Helpful votes
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TheRelfster wrote a review Sep 2020
Manchester, United Kingdom1,268 contributions219 helpful votes
We were lucky we went the weekend the inside opened (ground floor only). We were early so it was lovely and empty. The interiors are so richly decorated and I was very disappointed that there was an exhibition of modern children’s stuff (I didn’t bother looking so not sure what it was about) placed in prominent parts of the rooms so they obscure key details. I came to see the castle not to read what kids think, exhibitions should have their own space so you can look at them if you want to. We had our lunch in the pleasant courtyard before visiting the lovely gardens. Highly recommended as long as there are no distracting exhibitions.
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Date of experience: September 2020
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