Nestled at the bottom of a secluded part of the Aeron Valley in Ceredigion, west Wales, you’ll find Llanerchaeron, a charming country estate that’s home to a little known gem – an early Palladian villa by the renowned Regency architect John Nash.

In 1789, Colonal William Lewes inherited Llanerchaeron, then a small country estate made up of a small farmhouse, a formal garden and a lot of land, and a few years later, he asked John Nash to redesign it.

At the time, Nash was largely unknown and working in west Wales, but he later went on to make a name for himself working on iconic landmarks such as Buckingham Palace, Marble Arch and the Royal Pavilion in Brighton.

Today, the Llanerchaeron estate, which is run by the National Trust, boasts not only the Nash-designed Palladian villa, but a walled garden, a lake, bothies, stables and a series of walking trails around the woods and along the Aeron River.

When I arrived at Llanerchaeron, it was, true to Welsh form, chucking it down. So I spent the first 15 minutes sitting in my car waiting for the biblical torrent to ease off until it resembled something closer to a heavy downpour that my umbrella and waterproofs could cope with.

Dining Room, Llanerchaeron House

I started my visit with a tour of the famed villa. The villa doesn’t look like much on the outside, resembling a typical, small country house, but inside it’s a different story.

The tour began downstairs in the dining room (above) and the drawing room (below). So far, so conventional.

Drawing room at Llanerachaeron House

All the furniture in the main part of the house is original and was bequeathed to the National Trust with the estate in 1989, when John Powell Ponsonby Lewes, the last member of the Lewes family, died.

The library and sitting room at Llanerchaeron House

My favourite part of any house is usually the library and Llanerchaeron’s sitting room/library (above) looked like a very cosy place in which to curl up with a book on a rainy afternoon.

Morning room at Llanerchaeron House

The morning room (above), which also looked like a typical, mid-20th century family living room, was smaller than some of the others, as it was part of the original house that dates from the 1630s before Nash got his hands on it.

Staircase at Llanerchaeron House

Having seen all there was to see downstairs, I made my way up the stylish staircase (above) to the upper hall, where I discovered what all the fuss was about.

Upper hall at Llanerchaeron House

The room is dominated by a glass cupola in the ceiling (above), which bathes the room in natural light. It’s a delightfully elegant space and utterly beautiful.

Bedroom, Llanerchaeron House

Upstairs, there were a couple of bedrooms (above), some small sitting rooms and a small dressing room to explore.

The villa was quite crowded, so I didn’t look around the rooms in any particular order, just popping in and out of whichever rooms happened to be fairly empty at the time.

Green ceramic jug and wash set

One of my favourite objects was the charming green jug and wash set (above), which was on a wash stand in one of the bedrooms.

Boudoir, Llanerchaeron House

I also really liked the small oval boudoir (above), which used to belong to the lady of the house.

PM Ward collection at Llanerchaeron House

One of the rooms featured a small staircase that led down to a series of rooms housing the PM Ward Collection.

The PM Ward Collection is a series of 5,000-plus objects left to the National Trust in 1994 by Pamela Muriel Ward, who ran an antiques shop in London’s Knightsbridge for fun.

In her will, Ward stipulated that the artifacts had to be displayed in a Georgian villa and Llanerchaeron was chosen to be their new home.

Artists' materials from the PM Ward collection at Llanerchaeron

The collection features a host of random artifacts that Ward collected over the years, many from her travels, and the objects on display are changed regularly.

Servants' room at Llanerchaeron House

After looking around the PM Ward collection, I continued down the stairs to the servants’ quarters (above).

Scullery at Llanerchaeron House

There I looked around the various rooms, which includes the trunk room, the kitchen and the pantry, before finishing my tour in the scullery (above).

Servants' courtyard at Llanerchaeron

The scullery leads to the servants’ courtyard (above), which has a number of rooms leading off from it, including a brewery, bakehouse, cheese store and servants’ bedrooms.

Dairy at Llanerchaeron

The rooms, which include the dairy (above), offer a fascinating glimpse into the tools and machines these large houses and farms used in years past.

Salting room at Llanerchaeron

I was also intrigued by the way they used to preserve and store food before we had our modern gadgets, making use of rooms such as the cheese store and the salting room (above).

Billiard room at Llanerchaeron

Just beyond the servants’ courtyard lies the small, attractive billiard room (above).

Inside, it’s home to a small exhibition about the estate with information panels about the house, its restoration, caring for the local wildlife and living on the land.

There’s also a short film playing on a big screen in the centre of the room.

Llanerchaeron's walled garden

From the billiard room, I set off to explore the rest of the 760-acre estate, starting with the large walled garden (above).

Abandoned greenhouse at Llanerchaeron

The walled garden has a few different sections and boasts a pond, several fruit and vegetable patches, an abandoned greenhouse (above) and a fully functioning greenhouse (below).

Greenhouse at Llanerchaeron

The gardens at Llanerchaeron have been used to grow fruits and vegetables for some 200 years and they now grow 60 different varieties of apple.

Vegetable patch at Llanerchaeron

The excess produce grown in the kitchen garden is sold in the shop in the visitor centre.

Thistles at Llanerchaeron

The estate is also home to a variety of other plants, flowers and trees (including the thistles above), so there’s quite a bit to see.

Lake at Llanerchaeron

From the walled gardens, I continued my walk around the estate by ambling around the large lake (above), before looping around and making my way to a series of buildings, such as the cowshed, granary and sawpit, behind the walled garden.

There was a fair bit to see here, including a gardener’s bothy (below) and the carriage house.

Bothy at Llanerchaeron

By now I’d seen almost all there was to see in the main part of the estate, so I headed back towards the entrance and then crossed the River Aeron (below).

There are four clearly marked walking trails the other side of the river that allow visitors to explore the wooded hillside.

River Aeron at Llanerchaeron

I started by following the ‘nuthatch trail’ (blue markers), an easy and fairly flat walk in a figure of eight that partly follows the course of the river.

But I soon veered off up the hillside to follow the more challenging ‘goldcrest trail’ (yellow markers).

As it had been raining heavily in the days leading up to my visit, the path was muddy and uneven, and in some parts, non-existent, so I didn’t feel entirely safe going up the hillside as it was so precarious underfoot at times.

Woodland trail at Llanerchaeron

But I scrambled up the hillside and from there found myself on much surer ground, as the trail looped up and back down to my starting point, where I rejoined the ‘nuthatch trail’ and continued along it to my starting point.

I decided to veer off from the ‘nuthatch trail’ for a second time, this time to follow the ‘red kite trail’ (orange markers).

But as I reached the part of the trail where it splits in two, I found my path blocked by a fallen tree.

After having had to scramble up the rather muddy and precarious hillside earlier, I was a bit wary of following yet another trail that perhaps wasn’t the safest to be traversing alone, so I decided to turn back.

As I approached the bottom of the hill, I heard an almighty noise coming from some trees a little way into the woods and turned to see what looked like a fight between a couple of birds of prey near a nest at the top of the trees.

The birds were a little too far away to see clearly what was happening, but the birds were making one hell of a racket as they fought. Eventually one of the birds conceded defeat and flew off, and all was calm again in the woods.

Drama over, I headed back to the river, where I rejoined the ‘nutchatch trail’, following the path along the river until it split.

Meadow at Llanerchaeron

I then joined the ‘kingfisher walk’ (red markers), which ran alongside the river, across a meadow (above) and back into woodland on the other side.

Bridge over the River Aeron

After a short while, I came upon another bridge over the river (above), which I crossed, and from there, it was a short walk to a country lane that took me back to the car park.

I enjoyed my visit to Llanerchaeron, there’s lots to see and do. The villa’s lovely, as are the walled gardens, but I particularly enjoyed my walk through the woods.

It’s a peaceful and serene spot (warring birds of prey aside), and a great place to while away an afternoon.


Llanerchaeron, Ciliau Aeron, near Aberaeron, Ceredigion SA48 8DG

8 thoughts on “Llanerchaeron

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  1. What a charming estate. It’s pretty impressive to hear that all the furniture in the main part of the house is original. I’m such a fan of libraries too. The walled garden looks beautiful. Thanks for taking us along on the tour. Linda

    Liked by 1 person

  2. What a beautiful place. It hasn’t lost its sense of being a home either, looking at the pictures you can imagine people living there. You don’t always get that in these old places! Love the fireplaces too, I do like a good fireplace. The green tiled one in the dining room is just lovely!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I really liked that it felt like a home rather than a museum as so many of these older houses do and I think having the original furniture helped with this. You could imagine what it might have been like to live there. I agree, the fireplaces are beautiful.


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