Plas Penglais 2655

Aberystwyth, Wales

Brief Description

Plas Penglais is a late-18th-century country house. It has a 19th-century woodland garden, unusual trees and shrubs and a 20th-century botany garden containing many choice and half-hardy plants.Part of the dingle is accessible by public footpath and the garden has occasional open days.


Plas Penglais was built around 1770, replacing an earlier building. The first garden west of the house is gone. The woodland garden along the dingle garden was laid out in 1844. The mansion was acquired by the University of Wales in 1946, and the botany garden was established in 1950. The house became the official residence of the principal of the University of Wales, and was extended to designs by Sir Percy Thomas.


  • Ornamental Bridge
  • Description: Two of the original four bridges survive in good condition, a third is inaccessible near the greenhouses, and the fourth is gone. Two bear a slate plaque inscribed "This bridge and railings were Planed by Avarina W. A. Richards in 1844". Another bears the same legend, with the name "Charles Richards 1844". In 1844 Charles was 14 and Avarina 9 years of age.
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  • Terrace
  • Description: There is a walled terrace. This appears to date from the Georgian garden and resembles that in the late-18th-century watercolour. It terminates in an alcove and a doorway through to the garden beyond.
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  • Pond
  • Description: A slate-edged formal lily pond was built on the narrow lawn of the terrace to the west of the mansion.
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  • Tropical House
  • Description: A tropical and adjoining temperate glasshouse were used for growing teaching specimens for the Botany department. Replaced in 1981 it is still maintained for a supply of teaching specimens.
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  • Villa (featured building)
  • Description: The three bay villa was remodelled in 1841-2, and rebuilt in 1951 with a new side elevation by Sir Percy Thomas. An elevation attributed to Thomas F. Pritchard shows the facade flanked by tiny pavilions. Instead, a terrace and fruit wall seems to have been built.
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Access & Directions


Plas Penglais is north of the A487 where it climbs the hill eastward out of Aberystwyth. The gateway is marked by a lodge, and is opposite the entrance to Aberystwyth University campus.

Civil Parish

  • Aberystwyth


  • 18th Century
  • Late 18th Century
Associated People


01443 336000

Official Website


  • Aberystwyth University

    Old College, King Street, Aberystwyth, SY23 2AX



  • Caroline Palmer