Places to Go

Rented pineapples and unicorn horns: A family day out at Powderham Castle

As we drove up the drive towards Powderham Castle the view was truly breathtaking. Both sides of the road were awash with daffodils and our first sight of the castle was over a bulrush-bordered lake. My children all exclaimed with wonder at the sight.

Powderham castle is the home of the 19th Earl of Devon and he is one lucky fellow to live in such a great setting. The castle is surrounded by extensive grounds and deers roam in the Deer Park, adding an extra layer of chocolate box perfection. Speaking of chocolate, it was a Chocolate and Candy fortnight when we visited and the first person who greeted us (after the man in the ticket booth) was an excellent Willy Wonka lookalike. He showed my three children into his ‘Chocolate Factory’ to entertainingly explain the science behind sweets and chocolate. My three year old boy was agog at the gobstopper delivery system while my girls were astounded by the caramel face bomb.

Powderham Castle

After being entertained by Willy Wonka we had a picnic in the Rose garden which must look amazing when the roses are blooming in summer. We enjoyed eating with our backs to the house and instead faced a view over the Exe estuary towards Exmouth. There was then an Easter Chick trail which we followed round the grounds to win three lovely light-up squishy chicks.

It’s not possible to wander inside the castle except on a guided tour, which seems reasonable seeing as it’s still someone’s home! The girl who took our tour did a great job and entertained my children by letting all of them have a chance to open one of the many secret doors hidden throughout the castle. I found out many things on the tour I never knew. Apparently the Georgians used to rent pineapples when there was not enough of the fruit to go round. Also unscrupulous sailors used to sell narwhal horns to gullible rich folk who thought they were unicorn horns. My three year old is fascinated by all marine life and was incredibly pleased to be allowed to try and lift the narwhal horn.

There was also a world war two Brodie helmet with a bullet hole right through it. Apparently the 17th Earl was shot in the head. The bullet pierced right through the helmet, skimmed his ear and gave him concussion but he survived to be only allowed two weeks' sick leave! Our guide said that he was living proof of the rhyme ‘Devon Born and Devon bred. Strong in the arm, thick in the head!’.

Although we got to the castle soon after it opened at 11 we spent so long on the tour that by the time we walked to the Pets Corner and Play Area it was 4 o’clock and closing time. The only upside of that was that we were forced to get our tickets stamped for a free return visit within seven days. 

Powderham Castle family day out

Have a holiday near Powderham Castle>

More reading

5 Family Easter Days out

5 Family Easter Days out

Wherever you end up in the South West this Easter there are things to do that will entertain all.

Things to do 3 years ago Becky Bye
Ghost hunting haunted places in south Devon

Ghost hunting haunted places in south Devon

Do you like to visit a place with a spooky story? Do you dare visit my list of most haunted Devon places with a ghostly connection? Don't just wait for Halloween at half term, Devon ghost hunts can be enjoyed year-round.

Places to Go 2 years ago Philip Eley
Free things to do with children in Torbay

Free things to do with children in Torbay

There are lots of great places to visit, and exciting things to do, which won’t cost anything apart from some parking fees. Here is my list of 10 free things to do in Torbay with children.

Things to do 3 years ago Philip Eley
Perfect picnic places in south Devon

Perfect picnic places in south Devon

Dine al fresco in Devon this summer with our pick of places to go for a picnic.

Places to Go 3 years ago Philip Eley