Here’s a place I would love to live in. It’s almost like a fairytale cottage, isn’t it?
I first came across photos of it while googling Welsh attractions and fell in love with the little red cottage. (It’s now a tea room/restaurant so no one can live in it, unfortunately.)
Well, it was green when we visited it since it was summertime. I’m assuming that the leaves that have swallowed up the cottage will turn red in autumn, although I don’t know why absolutely nothing but the cottage-eating foliage would turn red. See this photo from a Welsh tourism website:
Not that I know anything about seasons and nature and schizophrenic foliage, having grown up in the equatorial concrete jungle that is Singapore.
This view of the bridge and cottage is probably one of the most photographed and painted views of Wales, and it seems obvious why. I wouldn’t mind having a painting of it hanging over my future (imagined) fireplace.
The bridge is called Pont Fawr, meaning “large bridge” in Welsh, although it’s just a tiny bridge, being about 55 m long and wide enough for just one car to pass through. But maybe it was huge when it was built in 1636. People also call it Inigo Jones Bridge because some sources credit British architect Inigo Jones as the designer.
Beyond the bridge stands the pretty little cottage named Tu Hwnt I’r Bont, meaning, surprisingly, “beyond the bridge”.
I’m not sure who names these things but probably not the builders, since the cottage was built in 1481, way before the bridge existed.
When we first arrived, it was raining a bit. I was disappointed. I’d looked so much forward to seeing it and had come all the way from Bournemouth to take a photo of it.
Then I thought, “There are no rainy photos of it on the Internet so I will have a special, unique photo!”
So I cheered up a bit and ran across the bridge to the vantage point, where I started snapping while Piers held an umbrella over me.
There’s my rainy photo!
And then, stupidly, the rain stopped before I even got properly started, so I was able to take normal photos after all. Just as well, since the rainy photo looks rather dull. Which is probably why there aren’t any rainy photos of it on the Internet, lol.
Not too difficult to get a rainy day in Wales, anyway, the locals will probably tell you.
All that fuss over nothing; let’s move on.
Tu Hwnt I’r Bont is roughly pronounced “ti hoont ear bont” (and you have to roll the “r”). I had a lot of trouble reading Welsh names until this English lady at a B&B taught me how to say some of them.
The cottage was first built as a residential dwelling, then later used as a courthouse. Over the centuries, it had to be restored several times until it became a tea room about 50 years ago.
Now, more photos!
Back view of the cottage (naked!):
Closer look at the front of the cottage (looks a bit curvy; the panoramic feature on my camera does that):
Super close up:
Inigo Jones Bridge stretches over the River Conwy, which is 27 miles (43 km) long:
Side view of the cottage:
View of the bridge and cottage:
View of the town Llanrwst (pronounced something like “hlan-roost”) on the other side of the bridge from the cottage:
No photos of inside the tearoom because photography is not allowed inside, so I’m just going to describe it with words.
The decor is very old-fashioned and the ceiling is low. It looks Tudor-style with white sand-textured walls and dark brown wooden beams and pillars all around. It’s a junk and antique collector’s dream with endless knick-knacks from the past decorating every spare inch of wall, crook and cranny. Most of the items are made of copper or iron.
The tearoom was packed nearly full with customers who looked local because they had a relaxed vibe and appeared very much at home having a leisurely meal or cup of tea, totally unlike the gawky, excited tourist writing these words now.
Unfortunately, we were still quite full from breakfast so didn’t feel like eating anything. But we ordered a Welsh rabbit (or rarebit) to share, just because it’s a Welsh thing. It’s basically a toasted cheese sandwich (no animals harmed!) but a lot more cheesy, with cheese sauce generously melted all over the bread.
I didn’t enjoy it, though. The “toast” was soft and the cheese didn’t taste all that fantastic, so I let Piers have all of it.
Boyfriends are really good for that sort of thing.
But maybe it’s really good and I was just too full to appreciate it.
If you’re planning a visit, be sure to do the anti-rain dance or something beforehand, because it’s lovely to have a walk there along the river bank or have a sit on one of the benches and soak in the tranquility and (hopefully) nice weather.
So, I shall end here with a couple of questions. Would you want to live in a cottage like Tu Hwnt I’r Bont and how often would you have to give it a haircut?