Costumes from the garden party scene - Edith's, Mary's and Sybil's. Two are original vintage Edwardian dresses, can you tell which ones?Llanelly House was surrounded by 140 acres of parkland when it was built, but is now slap-bang in Llanelli town centre. The Georgian property has undergone extensive refurbishment and restoration and now offers a glimpse into its grand past. Before we go any further, click to hear how Llanelli is pronounced - the 'Focalist's attempt is most accurate, and will probably perplex you.
The first stop on the tour was a talk and amazing digital projection of the history of Llanelli town and the house. I learnt a lot and it was very well done.
The talk on the costumes for Downton Abbey was incredibly interesting, and focused on how the costumiers struck a balance between era-appropriate and character-appropriate. Some garments were made from scratch, whilst others had original vintage embellishments or perhaps were restored. One of the costumes was an original piece previously owned by Freda Dudley Ward, who was Edward's, Prince of Wales, mistress before Wallis Simpson.
The first thing that struck me was how petite the costumes are - the actresses are apparently a UK size 8 (US 4), and go down to a size 6 with corsets. They're short too though, as you can see from me towering over their mannequins.
After our tour we settled down to afternoon tea in the cafe. There was a craft fair on, and a lovely little gift shop too.
Another excellent digital presentation where the lady of the house gives Georgian beauty tips, including using mouse hide to make fake eyebrows!!
Original 1920s beaded dress that belonged to Freda Dudley Ward
It was a simple afternoon tea, with a selection of sandwiches (salmon, cucumber, ham, cheese), served with a scone, meringue, slice of parkin and lemon cake. The meringue was beautiful, all gooey inside. It was all served on vintage mismatched china, and a nice big pot of tea. The tea and tour was £15.99 per person, which I thought was great value, and it was a good indoors option for a day that was pretty blustery and wet.
Tours of Llanelly House run daily at set times, and pre-booking is advisable for special exhibitions such as the Downton Abbey costume exhibition.
The Dowton Abbey costume exhibition has unfortunately now ended, but Llanelly House still does tours and teas, and has a rotating selection of exhibitions throughout the year.