Dragon Hunting at Powis Castle near Welshpool

Powis Castle is one castle that was recommended to us by a work colleague of mine quite a number of years ago. While we longed to go dragon hunting at Powis Castle, it always remained slightly out of reach as it was a bit too far for a day trip from home, being situated in Mid Wales. However, last August bank holiday weekend, we were in Chester and thought it would be perfect to visit on our way back down to Wales. So that’s what we did!dragon hunting at powis castle

We left Chester and took the A5 down towards Shrewsbury before turning off for Welshpool and Powis Castle. Powis Castle is a National Trust site. It was originally built in the 1200’s and the Herbert family took ownership in the late 16th century and it has remained in their family ever since. A medieval castle, fortress and grand country mansion, it doesn’t resemble your usual castles in Wales. It is very much more a stately home and is extremely grand indeed, being the seat of the Earl of Powis.

When we arrived there was plenty of parking in the car park and we walked up the road and footpath to the ticket office where we paid to get in. As the castle didn’t open until 11am, we had 45 minutes to kill and so we found a seat in the courtyard and BattleDad got us some drinks and cakes to enjoy in the glorious sunshine from the courtyard restaurant. We really enjoyed our tea break and admired the grand home from our seats.dragon hunting at powis castle

Our plan was to start our dragon hunting at Powis Castle within the castle itself and if we were out of luck we would check the extensive gardens instead. We started in the drawing room but there was no obvious signs of our hiding dragon.  There was a very nice gentleman giving talks and information about the room and the Herbert family too. We moved upstairs towards the bedrooms, some of which were not open to the public for obvious reasons. In those that were, we saw no sign of the Powis Castle dragon.dragon hunting at powis castle

From the bedrooms we moved downstairs to the kitchen where there were two people giving talks about how the kitchen was run and still is today. Children also had the opportunity to dress up and partake in some activities there but we were on a dragon hunt so didn’t stop. We thought we spotted him in the games room where there was a large billiards table and the cabinets were full of stuffed animals, but, he either wasn’t there, or had managed to evade us as we wandered through the castle. We did, however, leave a message in the visitors book in this room.

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The message we left in the visitors book at Powis Castle.

Having had no luck within the castle (of which you cannot take pictures inside as the Earl still resides there), we turned our attention to the gardens. However, dragon hunting is tiring work, particularly on a sunny day like this, so we paused at the courtyard for an ice cream before continuing our hunt. And I must say the ice creams were very good!

We started by taking a right from the entrance to the gardens and headed towards the lake that sits at one end of the gardens. We checked all the holes and cracks in the walls where a dragon might hide but still we couldn’t find him. As we rounded past the lake, and before we headed up a small hill to the side of it, BattleKid spotted him hiding at the foot of a rather magnificently big tree. He was hiding on the ground among the foliage.dragon hunting at powis castle

We had found him! However, a little boy just ahead of us wasn’t too impressed that our dragon hunting at Powis Castle was more successful than his, as I overheard him say to his mum “that boy has a dragon, I want a dragon”. Oops. Satisfied with our result, we took a short stroll up the hill and discovered the Ice Cellar of the castle. I had never seen one before and was quite surprised by it. You can only look through some gates into it and you cannot see the floor but it gives you an idea of what one from centuries ago looks like.

Our visit to Powis Castle was a success and it was a castle we had wanted to visit, so we could now tick it off our list.

Things to note if you go dragon hunting at Powis Castle:

  • It is a National Trust site. Cadw membership cards aren’t accepted.
  • It costs £12.50 for an adult and £6.25 for a child to visit the whole property (without GiftAid) and a family ticket costs £31.25. To visit the castle only prices are £6.35 (adult) and £3.17 (child), for the garden only £9.21 (adult) and £4.60 (child), and for the winter garden £6.20 (adult) and £3.10 (child).*
  • The Castle opens from 11am to 5pm, as does the museum, shop and garden shop. The gardens open from 10am to 6pm, with the garden coffee shop opening from 11am to 4pm. The restaurant opens from 10am to 5pm.
  • Parking is free, and there is ample parking. There are electric car-charging points in the car park and some spaces for disabled badge holders.
  • Dogs are allowed on the lead in the car park and courtyard only. There are strictly no dogs allowed in the deer park.
  • There are baby changing and feeding facilities on site.
  • There are toilets available on site.
  • There is a children’s quiz/trail and also games on the great lawn (although we didn’t see these as we didn’t visit that end of the gardens).
  • NOTE: the castle is not very wheelchair accessible, nor buggy accessible. The ground floor is, but that’s where it stops due to the historical nature of the castle. The garden has a step-free route which is highlighted in the leaflet available at the ticket office. For wheelchair users there is a virtual tour of the upper floor rooms available at the ticket office.
  • Guided tours are available.

We were glad we got the opportunity to go dragon hunting at Powis Castle and even better to combine it with a great weekend away. I am not sure we would have visited Powis Castle had we not been travelling back from Chester. We had glorious sunshine during our visit and the ice cream was most welcome and delicious.

I can highly recommend a visit to Powis Castle if you ever get the chance. We did not get to explore all the grounds as they are quite extensive, especially for little legs but it would make a great day out for the whole family. Maybe bring a picnic to enjoy somewhere in the gardens if you visit.

Thanks for reading the next post in our Dragon Hunting Series. I hope you enjoyed it. If you missed our previous ones you can find them in the Dragon Hunting Series. And if you’d like to have a sneak peek at Powis Castle, we filmed a little vlog of our day out dragon hunting at Powis Castle (below).

Cath x

*Prices correct at the time of writing this post.

dragon hunting at powis castle

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Elan Valley August 2015

The first weekend in August saw us visit Elan Valley for the first time this year. BattleDad and I first discovered it on one of our many bike trips around Mid Wales and immediately fell in love with it.

Elan Valley comprises over 70 square miles of unspoilt nature, reservoirs, rivers, lakes and mountains. Situated just west of Rhayader (Powys) it became a route we took en-route to Aberystwyth and if you ever get the chance to visit you’ll see why it has become a firm favourite of ours. Even better, since we moved to our current house in 2013 it’s closer than ever at just 1 hour and 20 minutes (or 52 miles) away.

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Having not been able to go as planned a few weeks before, despite the grey and wet start to the weekend, we decided we’d take a chance and head up anyway after a lie in until 8.30am. We ate toast with BattleKid, and I got some things ready for our picnic which we were taking with us. I packed tapas, freshly baked ciabatta, dips, cold meats, crackers for BattleKid, olives, fruit, some crisps and drinks all round. Along with my camera bag and a change of clothes for BattleKid, we loaded up the Landy and set off just after 10am.

As we drove north on the A470, the weather began to improve a bit. BattleKid had a good 40-50 minute nap on the way up and as we passed Rhayader and headed into Elan Valley he woke up and rejoined us. BattleDad had found a route about a year ago when in Elan Valley with friends on his bike which leads to a picnic area beside one of the dams, Claerwen. We first visited here last October and having discovered the picnic area, this was where we headed to first.

We unpacked the picnic and BattleKid, and set up on one of the benches. I decided to get some shots of BattleKid on my DSLR before we started eating in case he didn’t want to play ball afterwards. After a few minutes we started eating but soon enough we had to abandon the bench in favour for the back of the Landy as the rain came in. Thank god for a huge boot with full head room!

We finished off our lunch and by the time we were done it had stopped raining so we thought we’d have a little walk with BattleKid. We headed down to the riverside where BattleDad decided to teach BattleKid about throwing stones into water, as you do. He had an absolute ball, picking up one stone at a time and throwing it into the water before going back for another. I also got some lovely pictures of my two boys having fun together, unfortunately at the expense of a wet arse! I had sat on ground near the water’s edge to get some shots and got a wet bum for my troubles.

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After the stone throwing episode we loaded the car up and headed for a drive around some of the upper reservoirs and dams. While crossing one bridge I saw a photo opportunity so BattleDad pulled over out-of-the-way so I could run back and snap away. It was the first time I’d ever seen the water flowing over the top of the Pen-y-garreg dam and managed to get it on camera from this bridge. I told BattleDad we’d have to stop when we got to the top of the reservoir for more pictures.

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When we got there I snapped away while BattleDad chatted to a biker who had stopped. It really was an incredible sight at the top. As I’ve said I’ve never seen the water flowing over the top of the dam before and was glad we saw it this time, as it might be a while before we see it again.

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As we left the Pen-y-garreg dam we headed towards Rhayader around the upper lakes and this is when the heavens opened. My Sunday Photo from that weekend sums it up. I’m glad we got our window in between the showers to play with BattleKid and for me to get some photos.

 

 

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On the way back down the A470 BattleKid snoozed while we chatted on the drive home. We had an early dinner of mince and mash which BattleKid thoroughly enjoyed before baths/showers. BattleKid went down easy enough and BattleDad and I watched the film Kingsman: The Secret Service, which was an easy watching film. We all slept well and BattleKid had another lie in until 8.50am on the Sunday morning. What a treat!

We had a lovely day out to Elan Valley and were looking forward to our forthcoming holiday to Slovenia for some more much-needed family time together. Those holiday diaries will be featured on the blog just as soon as I have time to type them up.