We sat down recently with one of our favorite House Tour subjects, Randal of Randal's Regal Rooms. It turns out that there is an ancestral family castle that still belongs to distant members of his family, and its spectacular library has been gifted to the UK and cataloged for you to see.
Interestingly enough, despite legally owning the property through inheritance, the annual taxes on the castle are so expensive that the government has devised a method called "Acceptance in Lieu" to let lineages retain ownership of these homes while still receiving a benefit for the state. Instead of paying taxes each year, an estate can donate a substantial gift that will remain in its original location but will officially become public property.
The book collection at Penrhyn Castle in Gwynedd, Wales was treated in just such a way. The space itself is a spectacular example of neo-Norman 19th century decor by architect Thomas Hopper, with detailed carvings, plasterwork, furniture, and paintings. Randal promises to tell us all the castle's secrets after his trip there in the near future.
You can learn more about how to visit Penrhyn Castle yourself from the National Trust.