Visit Powderham Castle to take guided tours through the secret doors and ornate landings. Enjoy art and craft workshops and meet animals in the Pets Corner.
Powderham Castle is the historic and current home of the Earl of Devon. Originally built in 1391, the manor underwent extensive remodeling in the Victorian period. Following two world wars the estate struggled financially, before opening to the public in 1959. Since then it has welcomed over a million visitors.
Take a guided tour around the castle grounds. Walk through secret doors into lavish rooms and then see the wood-paneled great hall. Admire the Georgian furniture, art works owned by the past Earls of Devon and house paintings by Cosway, Reynolds and Kneller. Listen to your knowledgeable guide explain the history of the family and estate.
See the animals in the Walled Garden Play Area & Pets Corner, which was originally a Victorian walled garden. There are pot-bellied pigs, goats, guinea pigs, chickens, sheep, a donkey and more, as well as two spur-thighed tortoises which have appeared on the famous U.K. television show Blue Peter. Watch displays featuring a variety of birds of prey, such as owls, falcons, hawks and a golden steppe eagle.
Ride a trailer pulled by a tractor out into the deer park and admire the surrounding estate, which is home to about 600 deer and other wildlife. Children can explore the three nature trails, which include the lake, the walled garden and the woodland garden. Take them along two trails and they’ll earn a gold medal from the gift shop. Visit the forge to see the creation of decorative ironworks and try woodcarving when members of the Exeter Woodcarvers visit the castle.
Powderham Castle is 8 miles (13 kilometres) south of Exeter. Buses run from the town centre regularly. There is an entry fee. The castle opens between the end of March and the end of October. It closes on Saturdays and occasionally at other times so check ahead. Individual attractions run on different days throughout the year. The interior is accessible only with a guide. Get refreshments at the castle’s café and snack stand, or bring your own picnic. Purchase souvenirs at the gift shop.