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If you’re looking for an amazing day out, Powis Castle is a must-visit. With stunning architecture, beautiful gardens, and plenty of history to explore, there’s something for everyone at this attraction.
In this guide, we’ll share everything you need to know before visiting Powis Castle.
Getting to Powis Castle
Powis Castle is located near Welshpool in Powys. Here are the best ways to reach the castle:
- By Car: It’s easy to reach Powis Castle by car, follow the A483 towards Welshpool and the castle is signposted from the main road.
- By Public Transport: There is no public transport direct to Powis Castle. The nearest train and bus stations are in Welshpool town centre which is a 30-minute walk to the castle entrance or you can arrange a local taxi for around £8-10.
Is There Parking at Powis Castle?
Yes, there is a car park at Powis Castle with free parking for visitors. However, on weekends during the summer this can quickly get full and becomes chaotic so it’s a good idea to arrive early if travelling by car.
History of Powis Castle
Shortly after it was built, Llywelyn ap Gruffudd (Prince of Gwynedd from North Wales) destroyed much of the castle as retaliation for an assassination attempt. The castle was rebuilt within 3 years.
After being passed down to Gruffydd’s granddaughter, Hawys Gadarn, there was another battle at the castle when her uncle, Gruffudd Fychan, thought he should have inherited the castle. His attack failed and Hawys kept control but she and her husband rebuilt it again but with added fortifications to prevent further attacks which can still be seen today (see image below).
Since the early 14th century, there have been no further conflicts at the castle. In the 16th century, it was sold to the Herbert family which eventually became the Clive family when Henrietta Herbert married Edward Clive. Edward was the son of Robert Clive who was a powerful figure in the British colonisation of India and the richest man in Europe at the time2 (source: Open University).
If you’d like to learn more, we have a full article about the history of Powis Castle with a complete timeline.
Visiting Powis Castle
Here is all the essential information you need for visiting Powis Castle:
|1 Adult, 3 Children||£21|
Is Powis Castle free to National Trust members?
Yes, Powis Castle is free to National Trust members.
Do You Need to Book to Visit Powis Castle?
No, you don’t need to book to visit Powis Castle, simply turn up and pay on arrival.
Powis Castle gardens and cafe are open every day from 10am-5pm during summer and 10am-4pm during winter (Oct-Mar). Last entry is half an hour before closing time.
The castle interior and Clive Museum are open every day from 12pm-4pm year-round.
Is Powis Castle open all year?
Yes, Powis Castle is open all year, however, some facilities are closed between November and February such as the Garden Cafe.
Accessibility is not great at Powis Castle. There is a shuttle to help disabled visitors up the steep path from the car park to the castle, however, some parts of the castle are not accessible due to steps.
Outside, there is a step-free route around the garden and there are disabled toilets on site. Braille guides to the castle are available. There are also guided touch tours inside the castle and sensory tours of the grounds, although these must be arranged in advance of your visit.
Things To Do at Powis Castle
Here are the 5 best things to do during your visit to Powis Castle:
1. Explore the Castle Interior
The interior of Powis Castle has been described as ‘the most magnificent in Wales’3 (source: R. Scourfield, R. Haslam, Powys: Montgomeryshire, Radnorshire and Breconshire, 2013), and it’s easy to see why.
As you wander the interior of the castle, expect lots of artwork, murals, and ceiling paintings that are magnificent. The building is a little dark, but this is to protect the valuable antiques from the sunlight that can damage them.
2. See the Indian Collection at the Clive Museum
The Clive Museum is a part of Powis Castle that contains many artefacts collected by the Clive Family during the colonial days in India. Among over 1,000 artefacts, you’ll see ivories, statues of Hindu gods, weapons and armour, and ornaments made from gold and silver.
3. Walk Around the Stunning Castle Gardens
In my opinion, the gardens at Powis Castle are one of the best things to see. There are wonderful terraces, historic statues and historic topiary. You can also spot brightly coloured peacocks roaming freely around from time to time.
There are shaded woodland areas for when it gets hot and stunning views so that you can get the perfect Instagram photo.
4. Spot Deer in the Medieval Deer Park
Next to Powis Castle is a medieval deer park where you can spot wild red and fallow deer that roam freely around the grounds.
Although this is often considered to be part of the castle, keep in mind that this is not owned by the National Trust which owns and manages the castle. Entrance to the deer park is free.
5. Enjoy a Cream Tea in the Cafe
Powis Castle has two cafes, my favourite is the garden coffee shop where you can have a cream tea for £6 and enjoy the Edwardian Formal Gardens. Keep in mind that this is only open from March to October, but during Winter you can still enjoy a coffee, cakes, and meals in the Courtyard Cafe.
Special Events at Powis Castle
Throughout the year, Powis Castle put on special events to make the castle come alive:
- Easter Trail – An Easter trail featuring an egg-citing Easter egg hunt in the castle gardens.
- Come Out and Play – During summer, Powis Castle has lots of activities to keep the kids entertained, including races, badminton, cricket, croquet, basketball, and more.
- Outdoor Cinema Experience – Occasionally, the castle screens hit movies in the garden such as Mamma Mia or The Greatest Showman.
- Christmas Lights – The festive lights at Powis Castle make it that extra bit special to visit over the holiday season.
Check out the castle’s ‘What’s On’ guide for events happening now.
Facts About Powis Castle
Here are some interesting facts about Powis Castle:
It’s one of few castles in the area to be built by the Welsh
Unlike most neighbouring castles such as Caernarfon, Conwy, and Harlech, which were built by English invaders, Powis Castle was built by a Welsh prince, Gruffydd ap Gwenwynwyn, who was Prince of Powys at the time.
Powis Castle houses over 1000 Indian artefacts
These were amassed under the ownership of the Clive family when Henrietta Herbert married Edward Clive, son of Robert Clive who was known as ‘Clive of India’ at the time.
Clive of India was a powerful figure in the British colonisation of India and became one of Europe’s richest self-made men, estimated to be worth over £100 million in today’s money6 (source: Open University).
Most of the artefacts looted by the Clive family can be seen at the Clive Museum inside Powis Castle. It’s a powerful illustration of the connection between colonialism in India and the acquisition of expensive textiles and art.
It wasn’t the only castle to be built near Welshpool
The current fortress wasn’t the only castle to be built on that site or in the surrounding areas. Experts suggest that there was a timber fortification on the site prior to the masonry one we see today.
Elsewhere around Welshpool, there is evidence of other two other motte-and-bailey castles including one right near the railway station today7 (source: P.R. Davis, Towers of Defiance: Castles and Fortifications of the Welsh Princes, 2021).
If you want to learn more, see our dedicated article with even more fun facts about Powis Castle.
Where To Stay When Visiting Powis Castle
If you’re looking to stay in the area and experience all of the great things to do in Mid-Wales, here are three great properties to consider in and around Welshpool.
- The Royal Oak – My top pick is The Royal Oak which is located in Welshpool town centre, just a 5-minute drive or 30 minutes walking. The 3-star hotel has modern bedrooms, an upmarket bar, and is dog-friendly too.
- The Lion Hotel – Just outside of Welshpool in the small idyllic village of Berriew, you’ll find The Lion Hotel. This is a boutique guest house inside a popular local pub, but don’t be fooled, the rooms are refurbished to a high standard and the service is excellent.
- Mellington Hall – If you’re looking for something a little more luxurious, then Mellington Hall is a great bet. It’s located in a Grade II Listed 19th-century building with beautiful gardens. The only downside is that it’s about a 20-minute drive to Powis Castle so you’ll need transportation to visit.
Who Owns Powis Castle Now?
Powis Castle and gardens are now owned by the National Trust, although much of the land surrounding it, including the deer park, remains under private ownership.
Is Powis Castle Dog Friendly?
No, dogs are not allowed to visit Powis Castle between March and October during the peak tourist period. However, during winter, you are welcome to bring your four-legged friends into the courtyard and garden areas. https://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/powis-castle-and-garden/features/dogs-at-powis
Is There a Cafe at Powis Castle?
Yes, there are two cafes at Powis Castle, the Garden Coffee Shop which serves hot drinks and light snacks, as well as the Courtyard Cafe which also serves hot meals. However, the Garden Coffee Shop is only open between March and October8 (source: National Trust).
Are There Deer at Powis Castle?
Yes, there are deer at Powis Castle, although these are not on the castle grounds themselves but in the adjacent deer park. This is privately owned but access is provided free of charge.
Can You Walk Around Powis Castle?
Yes, there is a 1-mile walk around Powis Castle, this can take anywhere from 30 minutes to more than 1 hour depending upon your speed. There is also a step-free route around the gardens for those with accessibility requirements.
How Long to Visit Powis Castle?
Allow at least half a day to visit Powis Castle, however, when the weather is good enough to visit the gardens and deer park, it’s easy to spend a full day exploring the castle.
Kieren is the founder and editor-in-chief of Wales Guidebook. Originally from rural Mid-Wales, he has lived all over the country from Cardiff to Wrexham. A true Welshman, Kieren created this site to share his passion for Wales and help others discover this beautiful country.