An abandoned mansion known as the ‘Welsh Palace of Versailles’ is back on the market – going to auction with a guide price of £750,000.
Kinmel Hall, near Abergele, Conwy, is one of Wales’ most historic and prestigious country estates.
The property is considered to be Wales’ own version of the Palace of Versailles near Paris, easily obtaining a Grade I listing for its distinctive design and ornate period features.
It has even been given the royal seal of approval as it is said to have been visited by Queen Victoria in 1870.
But the sprawling manor and support buildings of Kinmel Hall are in desperate need of major renovation to save them from dereliction, with parts of the building already crumbling, Wales Online reports.
Kinmel Hall is said to have 365 windows and 12 entrances across its approximate 80,000 square feet of space, which includes 122 rooms and a chapel.
Inside, many of the original features are still in place, from the vast entrance hall with grand central staircase to the multiple rooms with fireplaces and detailed plasterwork on ceilings and cornices.
Wood wall panelling, huge internal wood doors, arched ceilings, marble columns – the beautiful features are in abundance at Kinmel Hall, but it needs help and soon.
The present hall is said to be the third version to have been built on the Kinmel Estate, and was constructed around 1874-76 by owner Hugh Roberts Hughes with profits from a copper mining enterprise on Anglesey.
The main, vast building was designed by architect W.E. Nesfield and the neo-palladian stable block in the grounds was a creation by architect William Burn, completed in 1850.
Even the gardens were afforded time and budget, with Nesfield’s father designing a Venetian-style garden in the heart of the grounds.
During its history, as well as being one of the most impressive private homes in Wales until 1929, this spectacular French chateau-style building has been a health spa, military hospital and a conference centre, but it has been empty since 1999.
In February 2021 campaigning group The Friends of Kinmel Hall, after years of fighting to save the structure for future generations to enjoy, called on Conwy County Borough Council to intervene to help protect the building.
At the time Rosie Burton, Friends’ of Kinmel Hall spokeswoman, told North Wales Live : “We are asking them (the council) to proceed with an Urgent Works Notice, which will at least protect the hall from any further damage and make it secure, and proceed with a compulsory purchase.
“I understand there are a number of potential purchasers so the council would not be at much risk of funding repairs to the damage as they could do a ‘back-to-back’ agreement, which means they compulsorily purchase it and sell it on the same day.”
It is understood that the property is currently owned by British Virgin Islands registered Acer Properties Ltd, who bought the property for £1.45m in 2011.
At the time North Wales Live reported that a council spokesperson stated: “At the moment, the owners are taking positive steps and are in the process of making arrangements to carry out repairs to the property.
“And although the matter is under review we do not consider that enforcement action is necessary at the present time.”
The hall has been on Save Britain’s Heritage ‘buildings at risk’ register for many years, and the charity joined the fresh fight to save it in March, after many years of highlighting the plight of this historic house.
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The property has also appeared on the Victorian Society’s annual ‘UK’s top ten most endangered buildings’ list many times.
Outside, approaching the majestic 500-feet facade, even in its shabbier state, is likely to take your breath away,
Its location is pretty special too, with the beautiful design features of the exterior perfectly complemented by sweeping views of the 17 acres that comes with the house and the wider surrounding countryside vistas from the property’s elevated position.
In the grounds are the charming and Grade II listed stable block and the remains of a stone fountain and tennis court.
Now the property is going to online auction with a guide price of £750,000 on Thursday, May 13.
The property is private and the only viewings for serious buyers are taking place on Tuesday and Thursday each week, strictly by appointment with the auction house.
To find out more, call auctioneers Allsop on 020 7863 8444.