The seat of the Morgan family for more than 500 years, Tredegar House is a stone and red-brick 17th-century building set amid extensive gardens, 2 miles west of Newport city centre. It is one of the finest examples of a Restoration mansion in Britain, the oldest parts dating to the 1670s. The National Trust took over management of the property in late 2011 and has done a great job bringing the fascinating stories of its owners to life.
The Morgans, once one of the richest families in Wales, were an interesting lot. Sir Henry was a 17th-century pirate (Captain Morgan's Rum is named after him); Godfrey, the second Lord Tredegar, survived the Charge of the Light Brigade; and Viscount Evan was an occultist, a Catholic convert and a twice-married homosexual who kept a boxing kangaroo.
On the ground floor, the entrance hall opens into the sumptuous grand dining room. The adjoining 'gilt room' is blanketed in goldleaf and paintings of bare-breasted mythological figures; you're invited to recline on the day bed in order to get a better look. In another parlour there are period costumes to try on and board games to play.
The decor of the upstairs bedrooms jumps forward in time to the 1930s, when Evan Morgan was hosting his fabulous parties at Tredegar. For the full Downton Abbey experience, head 'below stairs' to explore the preserve of the Morgan's numerous servants.