Powis Castle

Top choice in Powys

Surrounded by magnificent gardens, the redbrick Powis Castle was originally constructed in the 13th century by Gruffydd ap Gwenwynwyn, prince of Powys, and subsequently enriched by generations of the Herbert and Clive families. The castle's highlight, the Clive Museum, houses exquisite treasures brought back from India and the Far East by Clive of India (British conqueror of Bengal at the Battle of Plassey in 1757) and his son Edward, who married the daughter of the first earl of Powys.

The extravagant mural-covered, wood-panelled interior, the mahogany beds, tiger skins and one of Wales' finest collections of paintings proclaim the family's wealth, while the Clive Museum, with its cache of armour, bejewelled weapons, precious stones, textiles, diaries and letters, is testament to a life richly lived in colonial India. You may spot a gold tiger's head encrusted with rubies and diamonds – one of only two to survive from the throne of Tipu Sultan – as well as a Chinese sword with snakeskin scabbard and finely carved ivory chess pieces.

The baroque Italianate gardens are extraordinary, dotted with original lead statues, flowerbeds and ancient yews, with an orangery, formal and wild sections, terraces and orchards.

The castle is just over a mile south of Welshpool, off Berriew Rd.