A medieval castle, perched high on a rock looking across to the Severn Valley and Breiddon Hills, Powis Castle (Castell Powys) should be high on the list for Slow Travellers. With stunning gardens and beautiful views across the valley, as well as a museum filled with ill-gotten gains, this National Trust owned property is open to the public all year round and is well worth a visit.
The screech of peacocks greets the visitor walking up from the carpark to the castle, and immediately noticeable as you arrive is the dusky red stone and prominent red mortar that make this building so attractive and inviting, especially when it is outlined dramatically against an uninterrupted blue sky. Once inside the courtyard the peacocks may treat you to a display of tail, or will simply wander, unperturbed by humans, among the garden tables and benches.
The first castle had its origins in the twelfth century, as a result of the conflict between several Welsh principalities, but inevitably played its part in the struggle between Welsh princes and English Kings for dominance over Wales.
The castle has been built and rebuilt several times and underwent intensive renovation by Sir Edward Herbert who acquired the Powis estate in 1587. The castle was loyal to the King in the Civil War, besieged and seized by the Parliamentarians in 1644, but returned to the Herbert family following the restoration of Charles II in 1660.
In the 18th century the title passed to the Clive family, although part of the inheritance was the stipulation that they should change their name to Herbert. There was a thorough refurbishment of the castle in the early 19th century and again in the early 19th century by George and Violet Herbert. Sadly, they lost two sons, one in WWI and another in WWII, so there was no immediate heir to inherit the estate. In 1952, George Herbert left the castle, gardens and part of the deer park to the National Trust.