Powis Castle

Thursday 2 October 2014 by

Powis Castle & Gardens

and

The National Trust’s 50 Things To Do Before You’re 11¾

Powis Castle, Days out, Children

Another month, another castle. What can I say? We like castles!

The National Trust owned, medieval Powis Castle is near Welshpool and stands in some of the most spectacular gardens and grounds I have ever seen. There is a deer park surrounding the main gardens and the castle which meant that before we’d even made it out of the car park the kids were awed at spotting Bambi, The Great Prince of the Forest and all their family under the trees.

We decided to begin our castle visit by exploring the gardens (partly in the hope that it would wear the Smalls out a little so they’d be calmer inside later!!) and set off armed with our Children’s Quiz Trail and map to see what we could find. Also marked out on the map were places where you could complete things off the National Trust’s 50 Things To Do Before You’re 11¾ list.

If you haven’t heard of the 50 Things project it is a list of outdoor activities that all children should have a go at before their twelfth birthday – things that people are afraid of being lost to computer games and such like. Quite frankly, the list is a whole lot of fun to have a go at as an adult too – making it great for family time and adventures out just to complete things.

Just some of the things on the list are: play conkers, go stargazing, explore a cave, set up a snail race, cook on a campfire, play Pooh Sticks and hunt for bugs.

Tori and Arthur have already ticked off a fair few things on the list but being just 5 and 3 they have a bit of growing to do before they can do some of the activities such as ‘canoe down a river’. The variety is huge and there are many things on there that will be done again and again because they’re just plain fun.

We ticked off several things on our visit to Powis Castle as we explored the grounds:

Powis Castle, Days out, Children

We birdwatched in the woods (we saw other birds than peacocks but he was the only one who sat still for me to take a photo!), climbed trees, Nannan showed Tori and Arthur how to make a proper stick trail, we built a den (well, we added to a den someone else had built and then started a new one next to it) and the kids made a mud pie (which isn’t in the picture but they made it on that log table. It was apparently also a birthday cake, not a pie, but that’s close enough for me…)

We had fun finding the answers to the questions on the Trail quiz too, it was great for making even the adults really look at the surroundings – I don’t think we would have found the pet cemetery in the trees if we hadn’t been specifically looking for it. Once we had finished exploring outside, the kids returned their Trail Quizzes and got a sticker each before we headed to the Castle café for lunch.

This was possibly the only bit of the day that was a bit disappointing – the food for adults was really delicious but there was no advertised option for small portions for children or an alternative menu. The only real choice for them was the lunch box which worked along the usual lines of put 5 things in the box from the given selection but at £4.50 I felt it was overpriced for what they got. They had half a small bread roll sandwich (yes, half), a small packet of raisins, a small chocolate bar, a carton of orange juice and they should have had an oat biscuit but they had none left so they got a mini sausage roll each instead – they were supposed to be an alternative to a sandwich normally. The sandwich and sausage roll were tiny and it was a bit disappointing that they no longer offer any fresh fruit – also, this was supposed to be the lunch option for kids up to age ten and it was barely enough for my three year old. Not great for nearly a fiver a go.

Once we had eaten we headed into the castle itself, it was beautiful and they had hidden cuddly Welsh dragons in the rooms for the kids to find which helped to stop them getting bored and gave us grown-ups a bit of a chance to actually look around. The castle kitchens were set up with things you could pick up and look at and had some hats and outfits for the kids to try on. They loved that and enjoyed pretending to have tea and cakes at the table and had fun sniffing all the different herbs and spices on display too.

Powis Castle, Days out, Children

There was also a lovely display of Indian artefacts in the Clive Museum – the largest private collection of its kind in the UK. Again, there were dragons hidden around to find as if all the shining gold animals weren’t enough to look at.

Overall we had a fantastic day at Powis Castle and came home tired but happy. As National Trust members we got in for free but for non-members it costs:

  • Adults: £11.80 and Children: £5.90 for tickets to the Whole Property
  • Adults: £5.85 and Children: £2.92 for tickets to the Whole Property (Winter Season)
  • Adults: £6.00 and Children: £3.00 for tickets to the Castle only
  • Adults: £3.15 and Children: £1.58 for tickets to the Castle only (Winter Season)
  • Adults: £8.70 and Children: £4.30 for tickets to the Gardens only
  • Adults: £4.50 and Children: £2.03 for tickets to the Gardens only (Winter Season)

Family tickets and group tickets are also available and under-fives go free. See the website here for more details.

To find out more about the 50 Things list, pop on over to the website where you can sign your kids up and join in lots of extra challenges and get rewards and certificates.

You can follow Carole on Twitter: @caroleheidi

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