Ruthin – a real gem of a place to visit

It’s all been happening for Ruthin during the last few days.  

First of all the BBC magazine has put Ruthin on the map – an alternative map for 2012 visitors!  As this is a big year for tourism in the UK  (with the Olympics and the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee), the magazine asked people born outside the country to identify lovely places to visit which are a bit more unusual – and off the beaten track. Ruthin was highlighted – with tourists from the United States and Australia having amazing experiences during their visits to the town.

This publicity came just after Ruthin Castle Hotel announced a £1.5m upgrade of this historic building. By June this year, the hotel will be turned into a 60 bedroom four-star hotel with a spa and wellness centre.

The original motte and bailey castle was built in 1277 for Edward 1 of England.  Much of the stonework was removed after the siege in the 17th century Civil War. However the splendid ruins of the old castle can still be seen in the grounds – including the legendary whipping and drowning pits, as well as the dungeons. During the 19th century when the imposing red sandstone castle was built, the owners, the Cornwallis West family, hosted many high society figures-including Bertie, Prince of Wales.

Then on Tuesday there was the re-opening of The Castle Hotel. Wetherspoon has spent over £2m on the refurbishment of this historic building to create a 17 bedroom hotel. Known as ‘The Castle Hotel’ for the last 100 years, (which can cause a bit of confusion for visitors as there are two hotels in Ruthin with ‘castle’ in their name!) it was a coaching inn during the 18th century – when it was known as the White Lion.

A walk inside the building reveals many nooks and crannies where you can eat and drink. There are numerous photographs and information boards displaying fascinating facts about the history of the town and other snippets of interest.

                                                         

Wetherspoon is also keen to support local artists and commissioned the local artist Ann Bridges to create two impressive coat of arms using printmaking methods.

The  coat of arms seen in the photograph are those of Owain Glyndwr, the last native Welshman to hold the title of the Prince of Wales.  He attacked and burnt Ruthin on 18th September 1400-the start of the last War of Independence.

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