Newspaper article Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)

From Scandalous to the Spectacular; TRAVEL Taking a Break in Wales, BOB HAYWOOD Stays at a Castle with a Whiff of Scandal

Newspaper article Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)

From Scandalous to the Spectacular; TRAVEL Taking a Break in Wales, BOB HAYWOOD Stays at a Castle with a Whiff of Scandal

Article excerpt

IF YOU fancy being the king of the castle, here's a top tip: raid your piggy bank and book into Glandyfi Castle. The Grade II-listed Regency Gothic pile - complete with fairytale towers and turrets - has been turned into one of the poshest B&Bs in Britain.

Glandyfi Castle is perched on high ground between the ancient market town of Machynlleth and the university town and seaside resort of Aberystwyth.

To say it's spectacular does it an injustice. The castle stands in 45 acres of gardens and woodland, and has panoramic views down the estuary of the River Dyfi (or Dovey, if you wish).

When it comes to the top 10 views in Britain, this would be close to the top. Glandyfi Castle was once the home of flamboyant industrialist Sir Bernard Docker and his party-loving wife, known as Naughty Norah.

But - after a seven-year labour of love by the present owners - it has now been restored to its former glory.

And what glory. But only in a comfy sort of splendour which mere commoners can enjoy without feeling in any way intimidated.

It's a pocket handkerchief castle you'd snap up if you ever won the National Lottery.

The castle has eight rooms, all named after birds and with their own individual appeal.

My wife and I were in Nightingale, right up in the turret and with views to make you swoon, via two windows. Mountains one way, meandering river another; sea in the near distance, the cute town of Aberdovey just to the right.

But wait.

As with all great houses, there is a whiff of scandal about Glandyfi Castle.

It was purchased Views of the River in the early 1950s by Sir Bernard and Lady Docker. At the time, Sir Bernard was managing director of BSA (short for Birmingham Small Arms), based in the city's Small Heath district and making Triumph and BSA motorcycles, alongside Daimler cars.

His wife - formerly a hostess at the Cafe de Paris - was known by gossip columnists as Naughty Norah because of her extravagance and a gift for generating scandal.

Lady Docker had a gold-plated Daimler which was upholstered in mink, and spent much of her time in the south of France.

Her finest - or most infamous - hour came in 1958 when, after a trivial spat with Prince Rainier of Monaco, she hurled a Monaco flag to the floor. …

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