Hawarden Castle is a Victorian country home, crenellated like a castle (hence the name), whose most famous past resident was William Ewart Gladstone, the very able Liberal Prime Minister. The house itself is not open, but the gardens and the C13th keep of the old castle on its mound are open, though very infrequently (perhaps twice or thrice per annum), and so you really need to keep your eyes skinned to discover their opening days. If, through luck or persistence, you do find them open, then the keep is quite interesting, with its views over the Dee Estuary and its wall-passage; the gardens, though relatively small, are very pleasant, especially when the rhododendrons are in flower, when the explosion and array of colour is breath-taking. Teas were served when we were there, and very good and very good value they were too. The only drawback was the sheer volume of visitors, which rather spoiled the experience. I suppose that there is an inevitability about this, given the rarity value of its opening. However, what could have been such a peaceful outing was a bit like being at a seaside resort.
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