Sitting high above world-renowned terraced gardens lies the impressive and expansive Powis Castle. The unsusal red gritstone facade has mellowed into a wonderful hue, inside lies a rare and large collection of paintings, artifacts and antiques that spans generations of families. The medieval castle was built by a Welsh prince, who had pledge fealty to Edward I of England before England’s successful invasion of Wales—most castles at the time were built to protect England’s newly conquered territory from any uprisings by the Welsh. If you travel to a number of medieval castles in Wales, and there are quite a few, you’ll be struck by the similarities and differences between Powis Castle, a noblemen’s family home, and the fortified castles that never turned into family retreats, such as Conwy Castle to the north and Chepstow Castle in the south.
Part of the National Trust, and very popular among tourists and locals, Powis has a robust volunteer group who make wonderful, knowledgable and fun tour guides. You’ll find a guide in almost every room. They enjoy telling the history and answer a myriad of questions. You’ll enjoy your visit all the more for asking.
One of the most important collections is the Clive Collection, which includes exceptional examples of artifacts from India. Brought over by two generations of the Clive family in the 1700s (they were both employed by the East India Trading Company).
Give yourself enough time to explore the grounds as well. There are some amazing yews and gardens that are beautiful all year round and in all types of weather. Views of the countryside beyond are especially stunning from the dramatical vantage point of the castle. Peacocks roam the courtyard and are a delight to see. You may want to consider wandering around the medieval deer park as well. Even if you drive to the castle, you can take advantage of the paved walkway through the park to the town of Welshpool, which is worth of visit in itself.
Location: The castle is linked by a pathway and gatehouse to the center of Welshpool, Wales, though you can drive up and park at the castle. If you’re traveling by train, then it’s just a meander through town and park to the castle. In total, it’s a 1.2 mile walk, which should take about 20 to 25 minutes. Half of the journey is through High Street, the main street of the quaint town of Welshpool, and then onto Park Lane—through a gate and onto the second leg of the journey, up the parkway path. Everything is sidewalk or paved, and a straight shot from the station (until you turn left on the park path). Just before Park Lane, which is not well marked, the Welshpool Town Hall sits on the right side of the road. If you reach the Methodist Church, then you’ve just missed it. For a full explanation see Great Walks: Powis Castle.