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Visiting Newton House at Dinefwr

View house Dinefwr Carmarthenshire
Dinefwr | © National Trust Images / James Dobson

Standing proudly at the heart of the Dinefwr estate is Grade II* listed Newton House, a family home for over three hundred years to the descendants of The Lord Rhys, the powerful Prince of the Welsh Kingdom of the Deheubarth. Cared for by the National Trust since 1990, Dinefwr is now a place for you to enjoy, relax and refresh.

Things to see inside Newton House

The story of the Dinefwr estate reflects the history of Carmarthenshire and the nation of Wales. Built in 1660 by Edward Rice, the current house takes its name from the ‘New Town’ built for English settlers in the medieval period. The Jacobean mansion, from which the current house evolved, was built on a site that has been occupied for two thousand years.

Gothic façade

The exterior that you see today dates from the 1850s when a fashionable Gothic façade was added. Many of the original 17th-century features can still be seen within the house, including the magnificent grand staircase and exceptional ornate ceilings.

'Bird's-eye' views

Before the days of easy travel many rich gentlemen commissioned paintings of their country properties to hang in their London homes. Four ‘bird’s-eye’ views, dating from around 1690, now hang inside Newton House.

Art at Dinefwr

In the mid-20th century, to try and raise funds to maintain the house, Richard the 9th Baron Dynevor, established a creative programme of arts in the house supported by the Arts Council of Wales. We’re taking inspiration from the 9th Baron’s approach today at Dinefwr with an ongoing programme of arts and cultural events that celebrate the legacy of that vision.

The exhibitions reflect on the varied aspects of life at Dinefwr over the centuries. They provide a glimpse into the history of the estate and its people by unveiling objects from the collection for the first time. They also provide a platform for contemporary creative practitioners to respond to the long history of the site and the landscape.

Dinefwr’s creative arts legacy

When Richard Rhys, who would become the 9th Baron Dynevor, inherited the Dinefwr Estate in 1962 at the age of 27 he was already immersed in the burgeoning Welsh theatre scene. Thinking imaginatively about how he could diversify and enable the estate to thrive, he had a vision for Dinefwr as a major new arts destination in Wales. As a result of Richard Rhys’ ambition many world class musicians, actors and writers performed at Dinefwr during the 1960’s. To celebrate and share this unparalleled time in Dinefwr’s history we are developing a new exhibition, which will be unveiled in Summer 2024.

A wide landscape photograph of a white room with information on the walls and a brown cabinet with cereamic mushrooms in the middle.
The Discovery Room at Dinefwr | © National Trust Images / James Dobson

The Discovery Room: biodiversity at Dinefwr

Explore the Discovery Room, which unpacks the both the history and the incredible natural - biodiversity of the Dinefwr Estate.

Dinefwr’s deep history is represented in a contemporary timeline, which meanders across the walls revealing the story behind this ancient landscape. Featuring Lady Cecil’s portrait and her impact on the designed parkland of the 18th century, this new display was created by artist Julia Griffiths Jones and designer Heidi Baker.

You’ll also find fine ceramic fungi models on display (loaned by the British Mycological Society) with thanks to the National Botanic Garden of Wales.

Learn more about the fungi which reflect part of the wider ecosystem of this SSSI site showcasing the importance of Dinefwr’s parkland in relation to nature and ecology.

The Landscape Room

Join us to explore the new Landscape Room in Newton House, as part of the ‘Treasured Land’ programme of exhibitions and events at Dinefwr. Discover four significant and rare oil paintings, which speak of the wealth, status and aspirations of the estate and the family who owned it.

Completed by an unknown artist, documentation regarding the paintings is minimal and research is ongoing, however it is thought that they were probably commissioned to celebrate the stewardship of Griffith Rice, who was MP for Carmarthenshire 1701 - 10.

Take a seat to watch a short film, which reveals how experts have studied the paintings to uncover their past. Find out how a tiny detail within the paint analysis, revealed the true age of the artworks.

Visitors looking at paintings as they explore the new Landscape Room at Dinefwr, Wales
Explore the new Landscape Room at Dinefwr, Wales | © National Trust/Dewi Lloyd

Archaeology of Home exhibition at Dinefwr

From a hand-forged nail or a scrap of hand-printed wallpaper, to a piece of decorative plaster work from the original ornate ceilings, the objects in this exhibition reveal much about the 'Archaeology of Home'.

The exhibition features fragments and materials from Dinefwr’s collections that offer a fascinating glimpse into the historical building materials and decorative techniques used at Newton House since it was built in the mid-17th century.

A fascinating short film about heritage plastering techniques is on view as part of this exhibition and offers an insight into the craftmanship, techniques and skill embodied in Newton House’s cornicework and ceilings.

New wallpaper design

Responding to the historic wallpaper collection displayed in the Archaeology of Home exhibition at Newton House, designer and printmaker, Isabel Kate Porch has selected images and themes from Dinefwr to create an especially commissioned hand block printed roll of wallpaper for the collection. Inspired by her Welsh heritage Isabel is drawn to the histories of objects and the stories and emotions they can evoke.

This contemporary wallpaper design is the third commission of contemporary craft and design shown as part of the Archaeology of Home exhibition.

A short film by Siôn Marshall-Waters features the designer working in her studio and discussing the processes and inspirations behind the wallpaper. Open from March 2024

Bespoke, hand-printed wallpaper by Isabel Porch
Bespoke, hand-printed wallpaper by Isabel Porch | © Jules Weston
The front entrance at Newton House, Dinefwr

Discover more at Dinefwr

Find out when Dinefwr is open, how to get here, the things to see and do and more.

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An aerial view over the parkland at Dinefwr, Carmarthenshire

History of Dinefwr 

Reclaimed by the descendants of a powerful Welsh Prince, Dinefwr Park and Newton House were home to the Rhys/Rice family for over 300 years.

Bluebells, Dolaucothi, Carmarthenshire

Explore the parkland at Dinefwr 

Take a stroll through Dinefwr Park near Llandeilo, a stunning 800-acre estate where you can spot a variety of wildlife and some of the oldest trees in Britain.