Review: Powis Castle and Garden - National Trust
Attraction - Park & Garden
Welshpool, Powys, Wales, SY21 8RF, United Kingdom
A beautiful garden in a stunning setting
6 people found this review helpful
We had a short break last June to stay in a hotel near Oswestry – the Pen-y-Dyffryn – one of the Welsh Rarebits collection of hotels (earlier review). We had intended to spend a day walking in the surrounding hills but the weather was atrocious and we decided instead to visit nearby Powis Castle. On our way there some roads were closed due to flooding but it had stopped raining by the time we arrived so we decided to walk round the garden first.
I had never been to Powis Castle before but my husband had visited some years ago. The entrance to the house and garden is an uphill walk from the car park, passing a picnic area and some toilets that were near the entrance; I believe the Stable shop was also just outside the castle entrance. Once we’d got our tickets we entered the garden near to the toilets and set off to thoroughly explore the garden, which is mainly 17th century in origin although the original kitchen garden was converted in 1911 into a flower garden. There is a suggested circuit of the garden to follow of about a mile long; this is shown on the leaflet you receive on entry but we deviated from it on occasions so did a longer walk. There are amazing terraces, one of which is Italianate in design, 18th century statues of dancing shepherds and views over the rest of the garden, woodland, Severn Valley and Breidden Hills. From the highest viewpoint we could see that some of the surrounding fields were flooded. There are some rare and many tender plants and quite a few with labels, which we always appreciate. The huge yew hedges are apparently some of the largest in the UK and are certainly impressive. Our tour took us up and down several banks of stone steps, past collections of scented roses, pomegranate trees, bamboos, banana plants and imaginatively planted urns. We made our way down towards the formal garden, past an Edwardian black and white timber framed building called The Bothy, which is available as a very attractive looking National Trust holiday let. We passed rows of old but well pruned apple trees on the way to the fountain garden and, due to the poor weather, there were very few other visitors there. The view of the castle towering above from the lower level was memorable. There is a cafe on the bottom level but it was not open so I suspect it is only open during school holidays and weekends, however, the toilets here were open. We took a path that lead through the `Wilderness` woodland with occasional views through gaps in the trees across a formal lawn towards the castle. There is also a rather strange large carved stone foot, then the path wends its way to an ice house and a lake and we eventually arrived back where we’d started. However, we headed uphill again, this time to the main castle entrance but decided against going into the castle to see the Clive Museum as it was quite busy but managed to get a table in the cafe where we had very nice tea and cake. Adjacent to the cafe was a secondhand book shop with an excellent selection of donated books and beyond that the gift shop, which contained the best selection I’ve ever seen in a NT shop – many beautiful locally sourced items such as Welsh blankets. On the way out we had a look in the Stable shop which is where all the plants and garden related items are for sale, and again, the choice was very tempting.
Due to its situation Powis Castle is not ideal for anyone who finds walking difficult although the National Trust online information says there is a step free route of the gardens, level entry to the ticket office, shop and restaurant but that wheelchair access in the castle is restricted to ground floor rooms.
All in all we thoroughly enjoyed our visit to Powis Castle.
(The photos are quite dark partly due to the poor weather conditions.)
6 people found this review helpful
This review is solely based on the opinion of a Silver Travel Advisor member and not of Silver Travel Advisor Ltd.