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Eighteen miles northeast of Aberystwyth, MACHYNLLETH (pronounced "ma-hun-thleth") is a bustling little place with a great vibe, as well being the undisputed centre of all things "New Age". The wide main street, Heol Maengwyn, is busiest on Wednesdays, when a lively market springs up; Heol Penrallt intersects this at the fussy clocktower. Owain Glyndŵr's partly fifteenth-century Parliament House (Easter– Sept Mon– Sat 10am–5pm; other times by arrangement on Tel:01654/702827; free) sits halfway along Heol Maengwyn, a modest-looking black-and-white-fronted building, concealing a large interior. Displays chart the course of Glyndŵr's life, his military campaign, his downfall, and the 1404 parliament, when he controlled almost all of what we now know as Wales.
Opposite the Parliament House, a path leads into the landscaped grounds of Plas Machynlleth, the elegant seventeenth-century mansion of the Marquess of Londonderry. Its solitude is entirely intentional: in the 1840s the Marquess bought up all the surrounding buildings and had them demolished, and rerouted the main road away from his grounds. On the other side of the central clocktower, housed in the beautifully serene old chapel Y Tabernacl on Heol Pen'rallt, is the Museum of Modern Art Wales (MOMA Cymru: Sat– Mon, Wed & Thurs 10.30am–5.30pm, Fri 10.30am–8pm; free; Tel:01654/703355, Web: www.momawales.org.uk ), which hosts an ongoing programme of temporary exhibitions. It is also the place to go for films, theatre, comedy, concerts and the August Gŵyl Machynlleth festival, which combines classical and some folk music with theatre and debate.