On a trip to North Wales, following a slate mine expedition, to say we were all hungry was an understatement! I was ready for a nice cup of tea and maybe a slice of cake. Driving back through Capel Curig we came across The Ugly House tearoom, or Pot Mel Ty Hyll. It is a charming but definitely misshapen house surrounded by lovely well-tended wild flower gardens and woodland. Wild birds are attracted to special feeding stations and there are great forest walks. But on this particular day we were there for some refreshment. And we weren’t disappointed.
The café also had a genuine Ty Bach, i.e., the ‘little house’ right up in the garden and positively the most picturesque, self-composting, toilet I have ever used 🙂
The Ty Hyll is famous for a number of fabulous treats. They have a ‘secret recipe’ Welsh Rarebit, a range of homemade quiches and fantastic homemade Scotch Eggs. The café always has a homemade Soup of the Day on the menu which reflects the seasonal availability of fresh ingredients. All of the cafe’s sandwiches are freshly made using locally baked bread from the Tandderwen Bakery, Betws y Coed. Their freshly baked cakes include classic Victoria Sponge, Coffee and Walnut cake, a Gluten Free Chocolate Orange cake, sticky Apricot and Sultana Flapjacks, Welshcakes, Barabrith and the best scones.
We had two Pot Mel (Honeypot) teas with traditional Barabrith, scone with jam and cream, bread and local honey and a pot of tea. We also ordered a sausage sandwich, and a Ploughman’s Platter – with three local sourced cheeses, pickles, salad, homemade chutneys and pickles and crusty bread. The portions were enormous.
Each tea came with an enormous pot of tea – enough for four cups and a cake stand laden with scones, honey, jam and slice after slice of Barabrith and fresh bread. It was a tour de force!
The sausage sandwich was huge (at least four sausages); the biggest Toby had ever seen.
The Ploughmans was mine and was brilliant, with the fresh Welsh cheeses and lovely piquant pickles. There was sooo much food. It was great though, and we needed nothing more to eat until lunchtime the next day.
The Ugly House
Tŷ Hyll (The Ugly House) is shrouded in mystery and legend. The fireplace shows that it was built in 1475, but it isn’t on records until several centuries later. It may have been a highwayman’s hideout, as it would have been deep in the forest away from the road (which was at that time on the opposite side of the river).
It has been said that Tŷ Hyll is a ‘Tŷ Un Nos’ building from an old Welsh law. The law states that if a house can be erected and have smoke coming from a chimney within a 24-hour period, the builder has a right to live there. He can also work the land within an axe throw of the house. It is truly an ugly house made from a lot of misshapen stone and so this could hold true. However, it is also true that in those days stone was both expensive and scarce.
Where is The Ugly House?
We literally stumbled across the café. It’s not difficult to find at all. We had a few days in Bangor over the summer and we past The Ugly House a few times. It is on a bend, on the main A5 road between Capel Curig and Betws y Coed. There is limited parking – probably no more than 8-10 cars.
The house is owned and run by the Snowdonia Society, who bought it back in 1988 in a state of disrepair. The small charity is run by volunteers – so not only will you have the most amazing Afternoon Teas, but you’ll be supporting a very worthy cause. To plan a visit please visit their website here.