Powis Castle is a medieval castle, fortress and grand country house near Welshpool. The seat of the Herbert family, Earls of Powis, the castle is known for its formal gardens and for its interiors, the former having been described as one of the most important in Wales. The castle and garden are under the care of the National Trust. Powis Castle is a Grade I listed building.

The present castle was built in the 13th century. Unusually for a castle on the Marches, it was constructed by a Welsh prince, Gruffydd ap Gwenwynwyn, rather than by English invaders. Gruffydd was Prince of the ancient Kingdom of Powys and, generally siding with the English rather than his native Welsh during the struggles of the later 13th century, was able to secure the position of his son, Owain, although the kingdom itself was abolished by the Parliament of Shrewsbury in 1283. After his father's death, Owain was raised to the peerage as Owen de la Pole, 1st Lord of Powis. Following his own death c. 1293, and the death of his only son, he was succeeded by his daughter, Hawys Gadarn, 'The Lady of Powis'. Hawys married Sir John Charlton in 1309.

In the late 16th century the castle was purchased by Edward Herbert, a younger son of the Earl of Pembroke, beginning a connection between the family and the castle that continues today. The Herberts remained Catholic until the 18th century and, although rising in the peerage to Earls, Marquesses and Jacobite Dukes of Powis, suffered periods of imprisonment and exile. Despite these vicissitudes, they were able in the late 17th and early 18th centuries to transform Powis from a border fortress into an aristocratic country house, and surround it with one of the very few extant examples of an English Baroque garden.

In 1784 Henrietta Herbert married Edward Clive, eldest son of Clive of India, a match which replenished the much-depleted Herbert family fortune. In the early 20th century, George Herbert, 4th Earl of Powis redeveloped the castle with the assistance of the architect George Bodley. His countess, Violet, undertook work of equal importance in the garden. On the 4th Earl's death in 1952, his wife and his sons having predeceased him, the castle passed into the care of the National Trust.



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Welshpool, United Kingdom
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Founded: 13th century
Category: Castles and fortifications in United Kingdom


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User Reviews

Philippa Millard (2 years ago)
Visited here during half term, they had a pumpkin trail around the garden. Plenty of fun/scary Halloween surprises around the trail. Went in the castle which was very nice. Yes,it is kept quite dark but that's to protect all the wonderful fabrics/tapestries and artwork. So many rooms you can go in really gives a scale of the building. Enjoyed our visit.
John Redhead (2 years ago)
This is an absolutely fantastic place, The architecture, the beauty of the place and the gardens are absolutely stunning. The size of the place! It's huge and the grounds are extensive! We had an amazing day at a very reasonable price. The only downside was that we ate in the main cafe which was a very big disappointment. The food had to be sent back several times and they'd even missed bringing us another dish. (That wasn't to dampen the beauty of the place though.
Jonathon Springer (2 years ago)
Castles aren't my bag. Even though I could definitely be a knight in days gone by, I would say the unnecessary pomp is a drag. However, the brief look around the castle was a flash back in history. The rooms were all ornately decorated and the stark contrast between owners and servants areas was interesting. Worth the admission alone. To add to this we spent a few hours in the garden, my good lady and her sister are both avid gardeners, so they always enjoy a fancy flower or 2. For me and my brother-in-law, it was nice to see them happy. With that said, the hedges are neatly trimmed and the flowers have their funny Latin names attached for light-hearted entertainment that you might even learn something from. All told it was a great 3+ hours and would highly recommend. The gardens can be done without stairs, but the castle is not wheelchair accessible. (Although they had picnic tables designed for wheelchairs/push chairs). Go and get your castle on!
Julia Tanner (2 years ago)
Excellent introductory talk from volunteer Chris who gave us a brilliantly descriptive explanation of the evolution of the castle and it's occupants over the centuries. This really set the scene for our visit indoors. Garden is looking spectacular at the moment. Well done to all those gardeners. Had a very enjoyable visit. Can highly recommend.
Joe Upsall (2 years ago)
Brilliant Day out with lots to see. This is especially good if you are a National Trust member otherwise you will have to pay the entry costs. The Gardens are the main attraction especially on a dry day. However there are lots more to see in the castle so also a good day out if it's raining
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