Pen-y-Dyffryn Country Hotel
This hotel straddles the Wales/England border in a landscape that speaks volumes of the way in which the two countries historically went their separate ways. Drive west from Oswestry on an arrow-straight road that lances through Shropshire countryside and within a few minutes you round a corner to be plunged unexpectedly into a roller-coaster of steep hills and deep valleys. And there, presiding over the ancient border of Offa’s Dyke, is the haven of good food and hospitality that is Pen-y-Dyffryn. Miles and Audrey Hunter, the hotel’s agreeable owners, have stopped counting the newspaper and guidebook cuttings that praise their ‘cosy and welcoming small treasure’.
On entering this handsome Georgian ex-rectory it’s immediately apparent why it attracts such accolades. In Audrey’s words, ‘People arrive here on a Friday night completely stressed out, but by Sunday morning they never want to leave.’ Pen-y-Dyffryn is homely and comfortable, with not the tiniest hint of preciousness. It avoids that precise, immaculately polished fussiness – with the accompanying hushed tones and formality – that characterises some country house hotels. The bedrooms are well appointed with smart bathrooms, some with spa baths. The rooms in the adjoining Coach House (with their own patio areas), are especially appealing in summer and for guests with pets. Pen-y-Dyffryn’s cuisine also attracts great plaudits. Its delicious, imaginative country cooking is another pleasure to anticipate after exploring the hotel’s idyllic surroundings, Pistyll Rhaeadr waterfall and the National Trust ‘s Erddig, Powis and Chirk properties.