OutUK’s little rover Adrian Gillan stays at a unique
gay-run guest house, perched between the mountains and the sea - once the Snowdonian
home to poet Shelley and now perfect for a solo detox or remote romantic retreat.
You’ll feel like spouting verse the moment you set eyes on “Tanny” – or more fully Plas Tan-yr-Allt
in native Welsh – half way up a hill, on the very edge of the Snowdonia National Park: sea to the
fore, mountains out back. Mere hours from many a big city: Tanny seems a million miles away.
Built in 1800 by entrepreneur-cum-philanthropist William Madocks - who also created
nearby village Tremadog - small wonder the youthful Shelley spent the years 1812-1813 here,
penning many major works, including his epic Queen Mab.
Nowadays it's been completely renovated and restored, and its now run by Howard and Mark – who have an uncanny eye
for colours, and for combining style with function, old with new.
With lightsome clouds and shining seas between
And fertile valleys, resonant with bliss…
Shelley : Queen Mab, composed at “Tanny”
between 1812 and 1813.
Stay in the main bedroom he doubtless
tossed and turned, dreaming up rhymes in; read in the library-cum-theatre he recited poems for guests in; relax in the drawing room he was once shot at in – incidentally prompting his swift exit, either pursued by debtors chasing bills or government agents hoping to eliminate his pro-Irish sympathies.
The Plas offers three luxuriously appointed bedrooms, complete with
antiquities and period features, all named after some of its previous residents: The William Madocks Bedroom, Shelley's Theatre
and Miss Hilda's Bedroom. It's the perfect place to relax in comfort amidst beautiful scenery, and a classy
springboard from which to explore this most spectacular part of Wales.
In the Snowdonia National Park.
ROOMS & FOOD
All have newly-fitted bathrooms, mostly with heated slate flooring and soft water
on tap from Tanny’s own backyard mountain springs.
Favourites include the light-and-spacious Madocks – named after Tanny’s aforementioned
larger-than-life builder - with its romping King Size Double and sundry south-facing
windows, framing the marsh, mountains and sea.
Then there's the feminine, yellowy Miss Hilda - named
after Hilda Greaves who lovingly restored the house early in the 20th Century – with
its queeny bed-head and chandelier; and Shelley’s Theatre with its ancient oak beams and splendid
King Size four-poster. Other rooms include the Benson - named after E. F. Benson,
author of the Mapp and Lucia novels; the Peacock, named after Thomas Love Peacock,
the novelist and poet who was a friend of Shelley; and the Billington, dedicated to opera
singer Elizabeth Billington who frequently visited and was, by repute, the highest paid singer of her age.
The Madocks Room.
Meals are traditional “Welsh Country House” style, featuring
only the best locally-sourced ingredients. Before or after dinner, and at any hour,
an Honesty Bar operates in the Drawing Room, for that pick-me-up port or restorative brandy.
Food is very important to Tanny - in many ways its heart
and soul, and certainly its social hub.|
When feasting, at breakfast or dinner, you
join any and all other guests - the wackier the better - to eat communally “en famille”
around the large table in the lovely Dining Room, exchanging all your best gossip and
tales, however shocking.
OUT & ABOUT
Set in 47 aces of wooded cliffside, there is so much of interest in Tanny - and its
gay-beckoning hosts’ welcome so warm - some scarce venture further than perhaps taking
tea on the south-facing sun-drenched veranda; or pottering around the pond at the
bottom of the massive sloped lawn. Venture a little further - say up the footpath,
through woods and over streams to the wild cliff tops themselves - and you’re
rewarded with a warm glow and stunning views out across the entire Glaslyn Estuary.
Beyond that, stroll a few minutes to Tremadog, Madocks’ experimental village at the
foot of the hill, popping into the gay-managed Golden Fleece pub in the Market Square;
or take a fifteen minute jaunt through the lovely forest to the slightly larger
Porthmadog, with its picturesque harbour. Morfa Dyffryn is a fantastic nudist beach,
located on the Welsh coast nearby, between Harlech and Barmouth - gay-dominated in
the dunes to the north and rear. If in a car, hunt out Gelert’s Grave in small
village Beddgelert to learn the tragic tale of a trusty
dog and his rash master. Whilst out-and-about, you may even spy the odd gay celeb:
anyone from star-gazer Russell Grant to celebrated trans travel writer Jan Morris.
Jump on the Rheilffordd Ffestiniog Railway,
whose lovely, prompt,
little steam trains will happily chug you into the slate hills via extremely scenic views,
including Mount Snowdon. You might check out the minors' tramways and deep mine tours at
Llechwedd Slate Caverns
whilst you’re up there. Or get off at the stop for Portmeirion
the exotic, picturesque Clough Williams-Ellis-designed model village featured in cult tv series
The Prisoner, now celebrating its 90th anniversary (1926-2016).
Prices at Tanny (full name Plas Tan-Yr-Allt) range from £125 - £155 per room including
full Welsh breakfast. Single occupancy rates are available on request. Additionally,
a 3-course set menu is available each night, served ‘en famille’ with any
other guests in the Dining Room. Dinner is
preceded by canapés and followed by coffee and petit fours, in the
Drawing Room. The house can be hired in its entirety for a group of twelve, given
enough prior notice. More info at plastanyrallt.co.uk
Revised June 2021.