Set in an historic deer park and built to be the castle we see today by Sir Philip Courtenay in the 14th century, Powderham Castle has been the home to the many descendants of the first Earl of Devon for over 600 years. Now inhabited by Charlie and Allison Courtenay, who recently moved into Powderham as the 28th generation of the family to enjoy this marvellous home, the castle continues to offer an interesting day out for those who enter into its grounds.
Located just south of Exeter, with the Exe estuary painted into the beautiful landscape nearby, the castle can be easily accessed by car, and there is ample free parking for visitors – no need to worry about forgetting change for parking tickets!
Surrounded by beautiful and tranquil grounds, Powderham Castle is the perfect picnic location on a nice sunny day. Immerse yourself in complete relaxation as you sit and watch deer running through the trees in the distance, or if the weather isn’t quite so bright, there’s also a café on site where you can enjoy a delicious Devon cream tea after spending a day admiring the castle and its grounds.
Of course, the castle itself is the star attraction and no trip to Powderham Castle would be complete without a guided tour inside these ancient walls. We met our tour guide after a leisurely walk up the drive towards the castle entrance, and right from the outset, his knowledge of the castle and passion for the history behind it soon became apparent. When embarking on a tour, it is the job of the guide to infect his tour group with the enthusiasm for the subject that he possesses, and this certainly came across. A guided tour is the only way to see inside the castle itself, and lasting approximately one hour, they are a fantastic way to heighten your castle experience.
Powderham Castle hosts a number of events throughout the year, including themed weeks during school holidays. Although designed for children, themed weeks are thoroughly enjoyed by all the family. The fun for children doesn’t stop there, as the castle boasts woodland trails, a deer safari, pet’s corner and a huge wooden fort for children to re-enact battle – if you’re looking for somewhere to occupy energetic children during summer holidays, this is the ideal way to do it!
The castle grounds are also often used as a unique and picturesque setting for special events, from weddings to business functions. This year, Powderham Castle is playing host to Radio 1’s Big Weekend, coming to Devon in May. The castle will welcome 50,000 festival goers, and is set to be the magical backdrop for a truly vibrant musical event that is not to be missed!
Oozing with fascinating history and tales from the past, Powderham Castle provides an intriguing day out for young and old alike. It’s a must-see location, on the doorstep of a county filled with natural beauty and historic landmarks.
Powderham Castle re-opens to the public on 24th March 2016. For more information, visit: www.powderham.co.uk
Words & photos: Jake Tucker