Powderham Castle

Powderham Castle

Nestled in the picturesque countryside of Devon, just a stone's throw from the vibrant city of Exeter lies the magnificent Powderham Castle. This historic gem has stood the test of time, bearing witness to over 600 years of history and captivating visitors with its timeless charm. With its stunning architecture, sprawling grounds, and a wealth of fascinating stories waiting to be discovered, Powderham Castle is a must-visit destination for anyone looking to step back in time and experience the grandeur of aristocratic life. Powderham Castle is more than just a historical landmark; it's a vibrant, living testament to the enduring legacy of the Courtenay family, who have called this magnificent estate home for over six centuries. Today, the castle is a hub of activity, hosting a wide range of events throughout the year, from food festivals and music concerts to seasonal celebrations and outdoor cinema screenings. And for those looking to truly immerse themselves in the magic of Powderham Castle, there are a variety of unique accommodation options available, from cosy cottages and charming apartments to spacious houses and even a converted watchtower. Whether you're planning a romantic getaway, a family vacation, or a group celebration, staying at the castle is an unforgettable experience that will transport you back in time and create memories that will last a lifetime. But the castle is just the beginning of what this stunning corner of Devon has to offer. The surrounding area is a treasure trove of natural beauty, historic charm, and culinary delights, with a wide range of hotels, B&Bs, and campsites to suit every taste and budget.

The Rich History of Powderham Castle

Powderham Castle has a rich and captivating history that spans over 600 years, making it a true testament to the enduring legacy of the Courtenay family. The story of this magnificent estate begins in the 14th century when Sir Philip Courtenay, a prominent figure in the court of King Edward III, first established the castle as a fortified manor house. From its humble beginnings as a medieval stronghold, Powderham Castle has undergone a remarkable transformation over the centuries, evolving into the grand and stately home we see today. Each room tells a unique story, from the grandeur of the State Dining Room, where the Courtenay family once entertained esteemed guests, to the intimacy of the Library, where generations of the family would gather to read, relax, and discuss the issues of the day. The castle's architecture is a testament to the changing tastes and styles of the Courtenay family over the centuries, with elements of medieval, Georgian, and Victorian design all seamlessly blending to create a truly unique and enchanting atmosphere.


One of the most fascinating aspects of Powderham Castle's history is the role it has played in shaping the political and social landscape of Devon and beyond. The Courtenay family has long been influential in the region, with many of its members serving as Members of Parliament, High Sheriffs, and even Lord Lieutenants of Devon. This rich political legacy is reflected in the castle's many portraits, artefacts, and documents, which provide a fascinating insight into the lives and times of this remarkable family. But perhaps the most impressive figure in the castle's history is Sir William Courtenay, the 3rd Viscount of Devon, who inherited the estate in the early 18th century. Under his guidance, Powderham Castle underwent a dramatic transformation, with extensive renovations and additions that would shape the castle's character for generations to come. From the construction of the stunning Georgian staircase to the creation of the elegant music room, Sir William's vision and passion for the estate are evident in every corner of the castle.

Powderham Castle

Unforgettable Events at Powderham Castle

Powderham Castle is not only a stunning historical landmark but also a vibrant hub for a wide array of exciting events throughout the year. From music festivals and food fairs to seasonal celebrations and outdoor cinema experiences, there is always something happening at this magnificent venue. Here are some of the most memorable and eagerly anticipated events that take place at Powderham Castle Devon:

  • Powderham Castle Food Festival (Typically held in early October) — A celebration of local produce, artisan food and drink, live cooking demonstrations, and family-friendly entertainment.

  • Pete Tong's Ibiza Classics (Usually takes place in late July or early August) — A thrilling open-air concert featuring the legendary Pete Tong and the Heritage Orchestra, bringing the iconic sounds of Ibiza to the castle's stunning grounds.

  • Powderham Castle Christmas (Selected dates in December) — A magical festive experience, featuring themed decorations, Christmas markets, Santa's grotto, and a host of seasonal activities for the whole family.

  • Ballroom Blitz (Typically held in late August or early September) — An electrifying music event showcasing the best of 80s and 90s pop and rock, with live performances from iconic artists and tribute acts.

  • Powderham Castle Outdoor Cinema (Selected evenings throughout the summer months) — A series of open-air film screenings set against the breathtaking backdrop of the castle, featuring a mix of classic and contemporary movies.

  • Powderham Castle Firework Champions (Usually held in early November) — A spectacular fireworks display competition, with teams from across the UK battling it out to create the most dazzling and innovative pyrotechnic shows.

  • Powderham Castle Classic Car Show (Typically held in mid-July) — A gathering of classic and vintage vehicles from across the UK, featuring rare and beautiful cars, motorcycles, and commercial vehicles.

  • Powderham Castle Wellbeing Festival (Usually takes place in late May or early June) — A celebration of health, fitness, and mindfulness, with workshops, classes, and talks covering yoga, meditation, nutrition, and more.

  • Powderham Castle Art in the Park (Selected weekends throughout the summer) — An open-air art exhibition showcasing the work of local and regional artists, with live demonstrations, workshops, and the opportunity to purchase unique pieces.

  • Bastille Powderham Castle (Typically held on July 14th or the closest weekend)  — A lively celebration of French culture and cuisine, with live music, dance performances, and a delectable array of French-inspired food and drink.

Powderham Castle

Accommodations Near and In the Castle

For those looking to extend their visit to Powderham Castle and fully immerse themselves in the estate's enchanting atmosphere, there are several accommodation options available both within the castle grounds and in the surrounding area.

Unique Castle Accommodations

One of the most exclusive and memorable ways to experience Powderham Castle is by staying in one of the castle's luxurious accommodations. The castle offers a select number of self-catering apartments and cottages, each steeped in history and adorned with period furnishings, providing guests with a truly authentic taste of aristocratic living.

  • The Garden Cottage — A cosy, two-bedroom cottage nestled within the castle's walled garden, offering a fully equipped kitchen, comfortable living area, and private garden.

  • The Stables House — An impressive property situated in the castle's former stables, accommodating up to ten guests with five beautifully decorated bedrooms, a large living room, and a well-equipped kitchen.

  • The Pavilion — A charming, one-bedroom apartment located in the castle's former cricket pavilion, featuring a kitchenette, sitting area, and stunning views of the deer park.

  • The Park Cottage — A spacious, three-bedroom cottage set within the castle's extensive grounds, offering a fully equipped kitchen, comfortable living room, and private garden with outdoor seating.

  • The Courtyard Apartments — A collection of four self-catering apartments situated in the castle's historic courtyard, each with one or two bedrooms, a kitchenette, and access to a shared courtyard garden.

  • The Belvedere Tower — A unique, one-bedroom accommodation located in the castle's former watchtower, featuring a circular living room, kitchenette, and panoramic views of the estate.

Nearby Hotels and B&Bs near Powderham Castle

For those who prefer to stay in the surrounding area, there are plenty of excellent hotels near Powderham Castle to choose from. The nearby town of Exeter offers a wide range of accommodation options, from budget-friendly bed and breakfasts to luxury boutique hotels.

  • Hotel du Vin, Exeter — Elegant Victorian townhouse with stylish rooms, a renowned bistro, and a well-stocked bar, just a short drive from Powderham Castle.

  • Southernhay House Hotel, Exeter — Charming Georgian townhouse offering luxurious rooms, a tranquil garden, and a prime location near Exeter's historic cathedral.

  • The Cider House Bed and Breakfast — Cosy B&B is situated on a working farm near Powderham Castle, offering comfortable rooms, hearty breakfasts, and stunning views of the Devon countryside.

  • The Lazy Toad Inn — A traditional country pub with comfortable, well-appointed bedrooms and an excellent restaurant serving locally sourced produce, located in the nearby village of Brampford Speke.

  • The Devon Hotel — Modern, 3-star hotel with spacious rooms, an indoor pool, spa, and fitness centre, providing easy access to Powderham Castle and Exeter city centre.

  • The Exeter Court Hotel — Comfortable, family-run hotel offering a variety of room types, a restaurant, and bar, conveniently located just minutes from Powderham Castle.

Powderham Castle

Campgrounds and Caravan Parks

For visitors who prefer a more outdoorsy experience, there are several campgrounds and caravan parks located near Powderham Castle Devon. These options provide a budget-friendly and immersive way to explore the castle and its surroundings.

  • Exeter Racecourse Caravan Park — Well-maintained park with pitches for caravans, motorhomes, and tents, offering modern amenities and a convenient location just minutes from Powderham Castle.

  • River Exe Camping and Caravan Site — Picturesque site is situated on the banks of the River Exe, offering pitches for tents, caravans, motorhomes, and comfortable pre-erected tents in a peaceful, natural setting close to Powderham Castle.

  • Haldon Forest Holiday Park — Set in the stunning Haldon Forest near Exeter, this park offers luxury camping pods, spacious caravan pitches, and excellent facilities, with easy access to Powderham Castle and other local attractions.

  • Dartmoor View Holiday Park — Located on the edge of Dartmoor National Park, this park provides pitches for tents, caravans, and motorhomes, as well as static caravans for hire, along with a heated outdoor swimming pool and children's play area.

  • Cofton Holiday Park — Award-winning holiday park near the South Devon coast, offering pitches for tents, caravans, and motorhomes, as well as static caravans and luxury cottages for rent, with a wide range of facilities including indoor and outdoor pools, restaurants, and entertainment venues.

  • Crealy Meadows Caravan and Camping Park — Located adjacent to Crealy Theme Park and Resort, this park features spacious pitches for tents, caravans, and motorhomes, as well as glamping options, with access to Crealy Theme Park, included in camping bookings.

Powderham Castle

Visiting Powderham Castle — Practical Information

Purchasing Tickets & Accessing the Castle

When planning your visit to Powderham Castle, it's essential to know how to purchase tickets and access the estate. The castle offers several convenient options for buying tickets, ensuring that your visit is as smooth and hassle-free as possible. One of the easiest ways to secure your Powderham Castle tickets is by purchasing them online through the castle's official website. By booking in advance, you can take advantage of special offers, avoid queues at the ticket office, and guarantee your entry on the day of your visit. Simply select your preferred date, choose the type of ticket you require (e.g., adult, child, or family), and complete the secure online payment process. Alternatively, you can purchase tickets upon arrival at the castle's ticket office, which is located just inside the main entrance. When you arrive at Powderham Castle Devon, you'll find ample parking available in the designated car park, which is just a short walk from the castle entrance. The estate is also easily accessible by public transport, with regular bus services running from nearby towns and cities, including Exeter.

Opening Hours

To make the most of your visit to Powderham Castle, it's important to be aware of the castle's opening hours and admission prices. The castle is typically open to the public from April to October, with slight variations in opening times depending on the season and any special events taking place. During the peak summer months (July to August), the castle is open daily from 10:00 am to 5:00 pm, providing ample time to explore the estate's many attractions. In the shoulder months of April, May, June, September, and October, the castle is open from Sunday to Thursday, with slightly reduced hours of 11:00 am to 4:00 pm. 

Powderham Castle
Powderham Castle

Admission prices

Admission prices for Powderham Castle vary depending on the type of ticket you require. As of 2021, adult tickets are priced at £13.50, while children (aged 4-16) can enter for £9.50. Family tickets, which include admission for two adults and up to three children, are available for £38.00, offering excellent value for money. Concessions are also available for seniors, students, and disabled visitors, with proof of eligibility required. It's worth noting that admission to the castle includes access to the main house, gardens, and grounds, as well as any special exhibitions or events taking place on the day of your visit. Some areas of the castle, such as the private apartments and certain rooms undergoing restoration, may be closed to the public at certain times, so it's always a good idea to check the castle's website or contact the ticket office for the most up-to-date information.

Guided Tours

To truly immerse yourself in the rich history and fascinating stories of Powderham Castle, consider joining one of the castle's guided tours. These informative and engaging tours are led by expert guides who are passionate about sharing their knowledge and love for the castle with visitors. Guided tours of the castle typically last around 45 minutes to an hour and take you on a journey through the castle's many rooms and corridors, providing a unique insight into the lives and times of the Courtenay family. From the grandeur of the State Dining Room to the intimacy of the Library, you'll learn about the castle's architecture, art collections, and the many notable figures who have called Powderham Castle Devon home over the centuries. In addition to the standard guided tours, the castle also offers specialised tours focusing on specific aspects of the estate's history and heritage. For example, the "Behind the Scenes" tour takes visitors into some of the castle's rarely seen areas, such as the servant's quarters and the attics, providing a fascinating glimpse into the daily lives of those who worked "below stairs" in the castle's heyday. Guided tours are available throughout the day during the castle's opening hours and are included in the price of admission. However, due to limited capacity and high demand, it is recommended that you book your place on a tour in advance, either online or at the ticket office upon arrival.

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