Visiting Erddig House in North Wales
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Erddig House, A Unique Country House In North Wales!

If you’re looking for a beautiful country house to visit with plenty of history and gardens to explore, Erddig House is the perfect place for you! Located in Wrexham, North Wales, it’s well worth a day trip if you’re in the area. Here’s how to plan your perfect day out at Erddig House!

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Brief History Of Erddig House:

In 1882, Joshua Edisbury was appointed the High Sheriff of Denbighshire; it was the making of Erddig but not so much for Edisbury. To celebrate his new high status, he decided to build himself a new home, and so in 1884, work began with the help of Thomas Webb, a freemason from Cheshire. Webb had estimated that building this grand 85-foot-long house would cost around £677. However, the finished house was thought to have a total bill of over £8,000, a sum Edisbury could not afford. By the late 1690s, he was in dire financial straits and was declared bankrupt in 1709.

In 1714, a successful London lawyer, John Meller, bought Erddig for £17,000. Mellor set about extending the house and finished it with the best furniture and fabrics, some of which can still be seen today. However, Mellor only had a few years to enjoy his new home, which he completed in 1724. Mellor’s health was deteriorating, and in November 1733, he died. Mellor had no family, so he bequeathed Erddig to his nephew Simon Yorke. Over the next 240 years, Erddig was owned by the Yorke family, each successive owner being called either Simon or Philip.

Since the 17th century, mining was an important part of the estate. In the 1690s, Edisbury had several works on the estate, which extracted copper, lead, and iron ore. These pits brought a healthy profit until the early 1920s when profits began to subside. Simon Yorke IV was advised to sell off the pits to help raise capital. However, he was determined to keep the estate intact. Unfortunately, this stubbiness wasn’t helpful, and he lacked the funds to maintain and modernise the many buildings on the estate. By the 1930s, much of the estate had fallen into disrepair, including significant subsidence damage to the house caused by the nearby coal mining. 

Visiting Erddig House in North Wales

Philip Yorke III inherited Erddig in 1966 and set about to save the house and its contents, although many of the estate buildings were beyond repair and had to be demolished. As Philip had no remaining family, he decided the only way the house could be saved for the future would be to entrust Erddig to the National Trust. The trust took over the property in 1973 and began a 4-year restoration program, completed just in time for Philip to see Erddig returned to its former glory before he died in 1978.

One of the more unique things about Erddig is its well-documented story of its servants. Unlike other estates, the Yorke family commissioned portraits of each one of their servants and documented their lives, creating an unmatched record of domestic life in a stately home. Today, you can see who they were and read their fascinating stories. 

How To Get To Erddig House:

Address – Wrexham, LL13 0YT

Bus – You can use several Arriva Bus routes: Route 2 from Oswestry and Cefn Mawr to Wrexham. Route 4 from Penycae and Route 5 from Llangollen. Stop at Felin Puleston, Rhostyllen and walk 1 mile through Erddig Country Park. 

Train – Get off at one of the nearest stations: Wrexham Central (1.7-mile walk) or Wrexham General (1.9-mile walk). Walk via the footpath on Erddig Road. For up-to-date train times, check The Trainline.

Car – Sat Navs and navigation apps don’t always recognise the postcode. Instead, follow the brown signs on the A525 Whitchurch Road or the A483. These will direct you to leave at junction 3 through Rhostyllen and later turn right at Felin Puleston on Hafod Road.

Parking – The new all-weather car park is free and 200 yards from the main entrance.

Things To See & Do At Erddig House:

Erddig House is a great place to visit because it offers something for everyone. Whether you’re interested in the architecture, the gardens, or the parkland, there is something to enjoy at Erddig House. The house is beautiful and well-preserved, and the gardens are some of the most picturesque in Wales. The parkland surrounding the estate is also vast, providing plenty of opportunities for walks, hikes, and bike rides. In short, Erddig House is a perfect destination for a wonderful day out in North Wales!

Before you reach the house, you are first taken through the domestic offices; these buildings include a joiner’s shop, timber yard, blacksmith, dairy, laundry yard, bakehouse, and stable yard. Many buildings are set out as they would have been in the house’s heyday. 

Read about the lives of those who worked at Erddig House:

Phillip York I was the first to commission portraits of his servants in 1793, along with a poem written by Philip himself. This tradition lasted well into the 20th century, leaving a lasting account of many servants’ characters and achievements. The Yorke family were not the richest and were known for paying less than the going rate for their staff. However, there was tremendous loyalty, with generations of the same family serving at Erddig. 

Could it be that the Yorke family’s treatment of its staff, getting to know them and taking an interest in their lives, made up for the lower wages they could have earned elsewhere? Or was it just an attempt of the Yorke family to look like a caring employer? Unfortunately, we will never know, but whatever the reason, the portraits, photographs and printed documents provide a fascinating insight into life as a domestic servant. 

You enter the house through the side door, taking you through the servant’s quarters. Here, you’ll find many of the portraits hanging alongside poems and information about their life. 

Explore inside Erddig House:

Unfortunately, when I visited, you could only see a small proportion of the inner rooms of the house, which mainly consisted of the servant’s quarters. Although, this area of the house is what sets it apart from other stately homes in the area. 

The servant’s quarters give a fantastic insight into domestic life, and reading all the stories from those who worked at Erddig was the day’s highlight.

Admire The Architecture:

The design of Erdigg House was pioneered in the 1660s by Sir Roger Pratt. This design was extremely popular for British country houses. It was composed of a two-story building with a basement and four tall chimney stacks. 

Erddig House isn’t particularly grand in design. However, it does look stunning, set against its formal gardens. When I visited, you only had access to the servant’s quarters on the ground floor, so you could only see how grand the house was once you exited the building via the basement doorway.

At first, I thought the back of the house was the front, with its ornate bridge leading into a massive doorway. However, it was only as I was leaving that I came across the actual entrance to the house. It was a lovely surprise! The ivy covering virtually all of it made it look even more stunning. The colours changing from green to red made this side of the house look spectacular!

Admire the landscaped gardens:

By the 1970s, little was left of the original formal gardens at Erdigg. Phillip Yorke III had inherited a crumbling building, and the garden was practically derelict. After the National Trust took over in 1973, the gardens and the house were the focus of a huge restoration plan. 

Today, the formal gardens look like they had always been there, which is testimony to Mike Snowden, Erddig’s Head Gardener. He and his team researched and shaped the gardens from the original plans from when John Mellor bought the estate in 1714. To help plot out the formal gardens, Mike even climbed onto Erddig’s roof and shouted instructions to his team below. 

The formal gardens at Erddig are beautiful and offer a great place to sit and relax, especially on a sunny day. Wander around the perfectly manicured hedges, rose gardens, and fruit orchards, or sit beside the lake with a picnic. 

Explore the wider estate: 

If you have time, I recommend walking along one of the three trails around the parkland. Each one is well-signposted and is an excellent way to see some of the more interesting parts of the wider estate. 

William Emes was a well-respected landscape gardener who worked at Erddig from 1768-1780. One of the tasks he was given was to increase the agricultural value of the land by reducing the severe flooding of the Afon Clwedog. He manipulated water flow across the park through cascades and weirs to do this. His most unique alteration was the cup and saucer waterfall. This feature still works today by collecting water and sending it down a circular waterfall. This water then flows through a tunnel and emerges further downstream.

Another unique feature within the grounds is the remaining earthworks of Motte and Bailey Castle, built in the 11th century and Wat’s Dyke, a 40-mile-long defensive earthwork built in the 8th century.

Erddig House Entrance Costs:

The site is free for those with a National Trust membership, which I definitely recommend buying. Membership gives members free access to over 500 sites throughout the UK and only costs individuals £6 and couples £10 a month. You can even buy a family pass with either 1 or 2 adults for an extra 50p, with each adult free to include five children.

If you don’t have a National Trust membership, the entrance to Erddig House & Gardens will cost adults £12, children £6, and families £30.

Facilities At Erddig House:

Cafe – The cafe is open daily from 10 am to 4 pm and serves drinks, cakes, light bites and sandwiches to sit in or take away.

Shop – A National Trust shop is located in the Midden Yard near the ticket office. Here, you will find a selection of garden and homeware, local produce and a variety of souvenirs. 

Toilets – Available in the Midden Yard. Includes an accessible toilet with separate baby changing facilities.

Dogs – Dogs on leads are welcome across the 1200-acre parkland and in the property through the Midden Yard, where they can stop to rest their paws. However, please note that dogs are not allowed into the Grade I listed garden except assistance dogs.

Accessibility – For up-to-date information, please read the Erddig Access Statement. 

Other Places To Visit Nearby:

Chirk Castle – Chirk Castle is a beautifully preserved 14th-century castle in the Welsh borderlands. The castle has been expertly restored and is now open to the public for tours. Visitors can explore the well-preserved rooms and grounds and learn about the castle’s fascinating history. Chirk Castle is surrounded by stunning gardens and parks, making it a perfect place to enjoy a picnic or walk. In addition, the castle offers an excellent opportunity to experience medieval life firsthand. With its rich history and beautiful setting, Chirk Castle is ideal for anyone interested in castles or British history.

Llangollen Llangollen is a beautiful town in Wales that is well worth a visit. The town is located on the banks of the River Dee and is surrounded by stunning scenery. There are plenty of things to see and do in Llangollen, including visiting the Llangollen Canal, taking a ride on the Gwynedd Steamer, and exploring the ruins of Valle Crucis Abbey. There are also plenty of opportunities for walks and hikes in the area, making it the perfect place to get away from it all and enjoy some fresh air. Whether you’re looking for relaxation or adventure, you’ll find it in Llangollen.

Pontcysyllte Aqueduct – Pontcysyllte Aqueduct is one of the most impressive feats of engineering in the UK. Spanning nearly 1,000 feet, the aqueduct carries boats and pedestrians across the Dee Valley in Wales. The Pontcysyllte Aqueduct is a beautiful sight to behold, and it’s well worth a visit if you’re ever in the area. Built in the early 19th century, the aqueduct is a testament to human ingenuity and perseverance. It’s a fantastic feat of engineering and one of the most scenic spots in Wales. If you’re looking for a breathtaking experience, Pontcysyllte Aqueduct is worth a visit.

Final Thoughts

If you are ever in the area, visit Erddig House. It is a beautiful place to explore, with plenty of history and stories to discover. The house and its contents are well-preserved and provide a fascinating glimpse into life in 18th-century Wales.

Read more:

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Happy travels!

Erddig House in North Wales, a visitor guide
Erddig House in North Wales, a visitor guide

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