Museums Worth Visiting: Powderham Castle, Devon

Welcome to the first installation of Museums Worth Visiting - a blog series where I share with you museums around the UK that I think are worth visiting.  

I recently took a trip to Powderham Castle located in the countryside near Exeter in Devon. The castle is unique in that it is not owned or looked after by your typical heritage organisations such as English Heritage or National Trust and instead is privately owned. Powderham Castle is owned by Courtenay family. The castle first came to be owned by the Courtenays when it came to them in the dowry of Maragaret du Bohun when she married Hugh de Courtenay, son of the first Courtenay Earl of Devon in 1325. 

The castle has a fascinating and well-documented history which you can learn all about during a guided tour of the castle. All tour guides and staff that we met on our visit were incredibly friendly and knowledgeable. I found it really great that staff included their pronouns on their name badges - not something I have seen at many museums and heritage destinations in the UK or in many public places in general. The only down side about the castle itself is that you're not allowed to take photos inside which is a shame as it's so beautiful but I completely understand why they do this. 

Whilst visiting Powderham Castle you can also explore the beautiful castle grounds and gardens which could take all day to explore.Walk up to the Belvedere Tower, which once served as an excellent vantage point over the estuary and also as a ballroom, or head to the Secret Garden to see a variety of pets from a giant tortoise, a donkey, guinea pigs and more.

You can tell whether a tourist attraction of any kind is worth visiting based on their gift shop and it's safe to say that Powderham Castle has a wonderful shop. It's not your traditional museum gift shop that sells themed cups and tea towels but instead sells the works of their artists in residence. We spent a long time in the shop, talking to one of the artists and buying gifts. 

There really is something for everyone at Powderham Castle. Whether you want to visit to learn about local history or to go for a walk or a day out with the kids. There were a few areas that were not open when we visited as we visited on their last day before they closed for the season and also on the day before a music festival so there's still plenty that we didn't see. I will be definitely be going back for round 2. 


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