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
See all sites in Welshpool

Details

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

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4.7/5 (based on Google user reviews)

User Reviews

Jonathon Springer (23 days 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 (32 days 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.
Anita Vincent (7 months ago)
Very well maintained. Sculptured gardens. Peacock showing full display of there beautiful colours. Well worth a visit. Gift shop in the court yard. Lots of walking in the adjacent woodland. Powis castle and peacocks well worth a view.
John Jones (10 months ago)
lovely place. amazing garden and grounds. nice cafe (as usual from NT) nice house. whats open varies, but last time there were new rooms open that we hadn’t seen despite visiting a once or a couple of times a year for the last few (10 maybe) years. so always worth a visit
williamskdn1 (11 months ago)
This is such a nice castle and gardens so much to see. There is slight climb to castle but worth it. The castle has so much character. The staff were really friendly and informative. The views were amazing.
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