Posted on 22/05/2019
Bold, red gritstone Powis Castle sits atop its distinctive terraced garden among the Welsh hills, ancestral home to the Earls of Powis for centuries. The building is a jumble of architecture from different periods, but it’s largely medieval, originally built in the 13th century by a Welsh prince.
Inside the castle you’ll find incredible artefacts, including an illuminated Book of Hours (prayer book) belonging to Lady Eleanor Percy. As Catholicism was banned during the late 16th century, Lady Percy, who later became Lady Powis, would have used the book in secret, perhaps in a chapel hidden within the castle. More treasures can be found in the Clive Museum, housed in what was originally part of the ballroom. The impressive collection was created by two generations of the Clive family: Robert (Clive of India) and his son Edward, who married Henrietta Herbert, daughter of the First Earl of Powis. The museum boasts a collection of exotic trinkets from India and the Far East, including jade, ivories, textiles and statues of Hindu gods.
The garden, commanding views out over the Montgomery Canal and Breidden Hills, is straight out of an Italian picture book with its elegant terraces blasted straight out of the rock. It is one of the greatest surviving examples of Baroque garden design in Britain, but if you prefer a more intimate cottage garden feel, call in at the Edwardian garden to wander its colourful perennial borders buzzing with bees.
The garden’s crowning glory is the extraordinary yew hedge, planted over 300 years ago and towering 14 metres high. It is quite a spectacle to behold with an almost fluid appearance, a feat that requires 10 weeks of careful trimming by the estate’s gardeners. For more wondrous trees, head down to the castle’s woodland, where you’ll see herds of deer roaming among great oaks. The wood is also home to the family’s pet cemetery.
You can stop by the castle on a four-mile circular walk that starts and ends in Welshpool; it crosses the castle’s deer park and joins the Montgomery Canal at Belan Locks.