THOUSANDS of visitors dusted off their family heirlooms and emptied their lofts as BBC One's Antiques Roadshow filmed at Erddig.

The 18th century country house near Wrexham welcomed an estimated crowd of around 5,000 people to its stunning gardens where bargain hunters queued patiently in rising temperatures to have their items valued by the many experts and collectors present.

Last year saw the programme celebrate four decades on the road and the chance to see presenter Fiona Bruce and the team up close proved a hugely popular draw for the National Trust property.

Jamie Watson, Erddig general manager, said: "It has been wonderful working with the BBC on one of the country's best-loved TV programes.

"It has been a wonderful opportunity to showcase the property and I must say a huge thank you to our team of staff and over a hundred volunteers who've helped make the day a success."

Visitors started to arrive at 8am for a 9.30am start with crowds flooding across Erddig's well-kept lawns clutching everything from paintings, furniture, firearms and clocks and even an antique rowing machine.

Lynn Bovey, of Wrexham, presented one of the day's more unusual items presenting experts with a signed personalised letter from Elvis Presley.

"I wrote to him in 1967 and he replied to me," said Lynn. "I even got to meet him in Los Angeles a year later when I was in the area working as an au pair - it's worth so much to me even if it's not worth much to anyone else."

At the militaria stall, Steve Witherden, of Acrefair, could be seen with two medals which were awarded to his great grandfather with whom he shares a name.

"One is a World War One Service Medal which are quite common but it was the other one I was most interested in as it is from the Third Anglo-Afghan War and is quite rare.

"I was told the pair were worth around £200 and I'm very proud they are still in my family."

Another visitor keen on military history was Gareth Pearce, of Chirk, who stood out from the crowd with an eight foot spear.

"I've been told it's from East Africa, possibly the Sudan and possibly 19th century," explained Gareth. "It was bought for me by my mother around 40 years ago for my birthday and came from a liquidation sale at a Tudor mansion."

Father and son collectors David and Paul Rimmer from Ewole and Hawarden, came armed with a trade musket and ceremonial sword dating from the 19th century.

"The expert said he would like to have the item himself," said David. "But I'm not selling!"

"The sword was made as a retirement gift for an officer," added Paul. "It was valued at between £500-£600 and we were told it was in very good condition.

"It's a brilliant day with perfect weather and a nice turnout."

Ms Bruce, who has presented the show for a decade, mingled with crowd and happily posed for selfies and signed autographs.

She said: "I think it’s amazing that the Antiques Roadshow is essentially the same as it has been for 40 years and it’s still hugely popular.

"What makes it eternally popular is probably what I love about it - that we all hope that we could have something gathering dust on the mantelpiece or in the attic that either turns out to be very valuable, or has an amazing story. It happens week-in, week-out and you’d think that the world would begin to run dry and it hasn’t. We still find amazing things every week.

"I've been to Erddig before and it's such an interesting house with a fascinating story. I love the way the lives of the servants have been detailed here with such an affection and knowledge of who these people were as individuals. It's a remarkable place."

While some of the more valuable item's details and values are kept under wraps until the show is broadcast, Ms Bruce did let slip some information about one which had caught her eye.

"Daniel Craig's leather jacket from one of the James Bond films has been bought in," she added. "I'm gutted to say Daniel Craig is not in it but it is exciting and profoundly disappointing in equal measure.

"I've also spoken to three men who used to work in a local colliery and they've brought along the pit whistle which used to sound to mark their shifts or when there was an accident.

"I just love the whole day and really enjoy it and this is a beautiful part of the country bathed in glorious sunshine with lots of people with fascinating stories to tell - what's not to enjoy about that?"