Entering through the massive castle gate into the courtyard, we were first greeted by a large peacock with brilliant blue and green feathers. After ringing the bell, Judy, one of the owners, suddenly emerged from a stunning wooden door. After welcoming us into the historic manor home, she led us up some very old stairs and into the King's Room. Just one of two rooms available, accommodation included a delicious Welsh breakfast and tea in the afternoon which we enjoyed next to a crackling fire. Judy and her husband painstakingly restored the castle which dates back to the 15th century. Its storied (and some say haunted) past, can almost be heard with each creak of the floors. The setting is just idyllic, nestled in the rolling Conwy valley on the edge of Snowdonia National Park. One morning we hiked leisurely through Gwydir Forest which is full of trails for all levels. A short drive away is the quaint town of Betws-y-Coed. There we enjoyed lunch and traditional scones in an historic tea room one afternoon and excellent local pub fare for dinner another night. It was a truly unique, off-the-beaten path kind of place to stay—exactly what I look for when traveling. And while the conversion from dollars to pounds is decidedly not in our favor, Gwydir Castle is extremely affordable.