On our mini holiday to Wales, we stumbled upon The Ugly House - Ty Hyll - in Capel Curig, near Betws-Y-Coed. We were on our way back from the National Slate Museum and saw it on the drive up - the name caught our eye, and we couldn't see why it was so-called - it looked so cute.
The history of the house is fascinating, mainly because no one is entirely sure how The Ugly House came to be. It is thought it was partly built overnight, with the fire burning in the morning, meaning it belonged to the builder. But the house is made with such massive boulders that it must have been the most basic shell, as the whole building must have taken an age to build.
The name might have come from it being made from the 'ugly' leftover stones that weren't good enough to build the nearby walls, or perhaps due to the name of the nearby river, the Llugwy. Or, as it was thought to have been used by robbers and thieves - 'ugly' people. But the house itself is full of charm, small but perfectly formed, now with a five-acre garden and wood at the back.
The house is owned and managed by the Snowdonia Society, which is doing a great job of taking care of such an interesting piece of history that no one can really explain.
The cafe in The Ugly House was run by a friendly and knowledgeable lady, happy to chat to a couple of travellers. Steve had Lapsong tea, and I had Earl Grey, both to wash down massive slices of coffee cake. The slices were huge! "You have to go away knowing you had some" said the lady. It served us well after a day of walking and exploring.
To find out more, visit The Ugly House website, or the Snowdonia Society website.