What else is there to do on a cold and wet day in June? Hmm..let’s think. I know let’s find somewhere interesting to eat! And we’ve not done a Welsh 100 for sometime, especially one involving food. So off we went to Llanrwst to see what was on offer at Ty Hwnt I’r Bont (House behind the bridge).
This is not your usual looking tea shop, but one that is full of character and “tweeness”, if there is such a word. Ty Hwnt I’r Bont is old. However, I have found various dates with the oldest suggesting it was originally built as early as 1465 1. As such it may be older than Pont Fawr (big Bridge) behind which it hides. We do know that Pont Fawr was built in 1634 to replace a previous bridge that was deemed unsafe. The costs for the bridge was covered by subscription from the people of Sir Caernarfon on the West Bank, and Denbighshire on the east bank. The bridge didn’t last long because the stone masons had Laid the key stones to the central arch upside down. This went unnoticed until the central arch collapsed. Opps!
The central arch rises 18m above the river and is quite steep and narrow. It’s only possible for cars to drive over in single file, and it is not possible to see if anyone is coming in the opposite direction. A fact we can attest to as we drove back after tea. The local name for the bridge is Pont y Rhegi – “bridge of swearing”.
But enough of the bridge what about the house. Well, unsurprisingly for such an old building it is now a Grade II scheduled building. According to British Listed Buildings 2 the house was built in the mid-late C17 as a single-storey cottage, and then partially rebuilt during the 18C, when it was divided into two dwellings, which must have been pretty snug (read snug as small). It has also ben used as the local Courthouse. The house is now owned by the National Trust and it has ben leased out to over 50 years.
During the autumn the tearoom is transformed into a riot of colour as the leaves of the Boston Ivy that covers the building turn every shade of red. But even on a wet day like today, it was 50 shades of green and it remains photogenic.
But what about the food? Remember this is a tearoom so don’t expect a long menu, but simple fare. Aunties Squash and Sweet Potato hit the right spot, with a huge bowl and very tasty locally baked bread. My Welsh Rarebit and Ham was very tasty. Perhaps the best I have eaten in a long time. This was helped down by their own tea blend. Another tick of goodness. We had to take the cream scones back with us, and they were a delight. Would I revisit? A resounding yes!
- Ty Hwnt I’r Bont Tearoom website. https://www.tuhwntirbont.co.uk Accessed 26 June 2022. ↩
- British Listed Buildings. https://britishlistedbuildings.co.uk/300003162-tu-hwnt-yr-bont-trefriw Accessed 26 June 2022. ↩