In Pictures: Powis Castle in Wales
Built using bold red brick, with a waterfall of ornate gardens flowing down the hill at its feet, Powis is a mighty sight to behold. Originally erected around 1200, this castle in Wales – situated near the town of Welshpool – started out as a medieval fortress. As ownership changed hands over the centuries, the structure was built upon and improved, which is why it’s so well-preserved today.
The gardens at Powis Castle are of particular beauty. The residents at the beginning of the 20th century – the 4th Earl of Powis and his wife, Lady Violet – went to great measures to develop the area around the castle, creating an elegant and lavish collection of plants and flowers.
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As I wandered through the paths that wind around the garden – almost tiptoeing so as not to disturb it – I felt dwarfed by the enormous greenery around me. Powis Castle’s clipped yews are infamous: some bulbous varieties sit before the castle, and other immaculate hedges grow at its side. Each summer, gardeners spend 10 weeks trimming all the yews in the grounds, with a lot of their time spent on a hydraulic cherry-picker to reach the loftier sections.
Inside the castle is a vast collection of objects, gathered together over the years by each generation of residents. Guests can walk through the buildings upstairs and also the quarters where housekeeping would stay, giving a full look into what life in Powis Castle would have been like when it was fully inhabited.
A personal favourite is where the snooker table is kept. Classic green lights hang over the felt and you can imagine clouds of smoke hanging in the air as guests decades ago socialised. Large glass cabinets cover the edges of the room, and inside them are hundreds of stuffed birds, all shapes and sizes, packed tightly to squeeze them all in.
The weather fluctuated during my visit; clouds moved swiftly overhead, some brought rain and others didn’t. Every now and then they would open up and the castle would be bathed in sunshine, only to be swallowed in downpours minutes later. Walking along the garden pathways, which are set at different heights, I watched people pottering about. When the rains arrived, umbrellas came out and bobbed around the scenery.
Despite the changing weather, my visit to Powis was a peaceful stop-off as I passed through Wales. I spent a while standing at the foot of the hill below the castle, enjoying the sensation of feeling small as I gazed up at the monumental structure.
As you move through the gardens, plaques are dotted around showing the site at different times over the last few hundreds years. I thought of all the people who have stood here looking up at the Powis Castle too, and imagined all the stories its walls have seen – inside and out.
Have you ever visited a castle in Wales?
Does this building remind you of any others you’ve seen?