The doors are being thrown open for the first time at the historic Old Mill in Bodnant Garden – with the help of a little Christmas magic from Santa and the elves!
The Old Mill must be one of the most photographed parts of our beautiful garden but it is normally closed to the public. Until now…because in the run-up to Christmas part of the 180-year-old listed building is being transformed by our volunteers into an Elves’ Workshop where families can enjoy weekends of traditional festive crafts.
The mill, a Grade 2 listed building, is on the east bank of the River Hiraethlyn in garden’s famous Dell. It was built around 1837 and was first used to provide power for a blast furnace. It was later used to turn the wheels of the estate flourmill and then the estate sawmill.
It has been out of action for many years but some of the original old workings including wheels, mill stones and flour chutes are still in place. Visitors often ask about the building and we’ve had many suggestions about possible uses – as a working museum, conference space and even a tearoom. We opened the main door this year to allow visitors a peek of the great wheel but for safety sake a gate bars entry. Extensive renovation will be needed before the building can be fully opened to the public, but we hope to do it one day.
However in the meantime one side room, previously used by gardeners to store tools, is being given a festive spruce-up to turn it into an Elves’ Workshop on Saturdays and Sundays, December 7/8, 14/15 and 21/ 22. Families can enjoy Christmas crafts and there will also be hot drinks and snacks in front of a brazier in the Dell.
Santa himself will be around – at a Winter Wonderland at Bodnant Garden Centre on Saturdays and Sundays through December. There will be a present for every child who visits and donations raised will go to Ty Gobaith Children’s Hospice.
We’re getting into the spirit of things in the Pavilion tearoom too, where special Christmas menu will be available from December 1 to 22.
From this year the garden is open every day except Christmas Eve, Christmas Day and Boxing Day so make it part of your festive calendar. Come and see how things are coming on in the new Winter Garden, which opened just last year, and enjoy a walk around the rest of the garden which is full of sparkling, frosty, seasonal colour.
There is no extra charge for the Elves Workshop and all craft materials are supplied but book to ensure a place and time slot by calling the garden office. For more details about Bodnant Garden call 01492 650460, check out our website www.nationaltrust.org.uk/bodnant-garden or Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/BodnantGardenNT