One of the finest examples of a Victorian workhouse in Britain, beautifully situated in the Cain Valley and owned by a community trust. Only a short drive from Lake Vyrnwy, it’s open every day.
Completed in 1840, this imposing stone building could house up to 250 men, women and children. You can visit the Workhouse History Centre, Wales’s only workhouse museum, and find out how poor families were treated in Victorian times. There are displays; a visitor trail and ‘Ghosts of the Workhouse’: a 30-minute film made with local actors: it can be viewed in Welsh or English and is suitable for most ages. Children can pick oakum; write on a slate; dress up in workhouse costume (Covid rules permitting) or answer questions on a family trail. The Workhouse and the History Centre are open daily, free of charge: a donation is very much appreciated.
Known locally as Y Dolydd, the Workhouse shows how a community can rescue a historic building from destruction. It stood abandoned and derelict until local residents formed a charitable trust to save it. Today the site looks very different, though work remains ongoing. Most of the maintenance is carried out by volunteers.
Refurbished areas of the building are let to local enterprises or used for functions to raise funds. You can view parts of the ground floor as well as the four courtyards; walk around the 6-acre site and the sensory garden; browse in the bookshop or picnic in the grounds. Craft workshops are occasionally open and can be visited by appointment. There’s a 24-bed bunkhouse especially suitable for groups. Events are regularly held on the site and enquiries are welcome for weddings, conferences, rallies or private functions.
Please note that current Welsh Government Covid guidelines for museums apply, including any requirement to wear a face covering. Hand sanitisers are provided and visitors are asked to observe social distancing, especially in the History Centre where space is restricted.
Address: Y Dolydd, The Workhouse, Llanfyllin SY22 5LD