Sitting on the banks of the River Severn, the market town of Welshpool was originally known as Pool. However, in 1835, the ‘Welsh’ was added to differentiate it from the English town of Poole.
This popular destination has lots of attractions and things to do. From shopping and fine dining to museums and outdoor recreation, Welshpool has something for everyone, and taking the train ensures your carbon footprint is kept small.
1. Spend the Day at Powis Castle and Garden
On the outskirts of Welshpool, you can find the 13th century Powis Castle. A Grade I Listed building, the castle and its magnificent gardens attract visitors from around the world.
Built by the Welsh Prince Gruffydd ap Gwenwynwyn, Powis has changed hands many times over the centuries, until finally coming under the care of the National Trust in 1952. Now housing Welshpool’s town museum, it’s well worth a visit.
The museum is home to one of the most impressive collections of art and historical objects in the world. See the jaw-dropping beauty of the Tipu Sultan’s jewel-encrusted tiger, the stunningly decorated 16th-century pietre dure table, rumoured to be a gift from the then pope, and so much more.
Stepping outside, the gardens offer the inspiring symmetry of formal design, with Italianate terraces, impeccably trimmed yew hedges, and fountains spouting crystal waters. Created more than 300 years ago, topiary bushes, rich flower-filled borders and neatly trimmed lawns hide around every corner. Take in the views as you enjoy a cup of tea and slice of delicious homemade cake in the garden’s tea room.
- Perfect for a family day out
- Entry from £14.00
- Powis Castle and Garden Website
2. Explore Local History at Powysland Museum
Powysland Museum is housed in a restored warehouse. The many displays feature treasures found in the surrounding countryside, along with artefacts depicting life in Welshpool and Powys through the centuries. Collections include prehistoric finds, and Roman coins dug up by the Clwyd Powys Archaeological Trust, medieval relics and more.
Also housed here is the town’s well-stocked library which often plays host to workshops, exhibitions and displays featuring local talent.
Powysland Museum sits alongside the Montgomery Canal. The banks of the canal have been redesigned, with much of their length being a Site of Special Scientific Interest, with some awarded a Special Area of Conservation, thanks to the rare aquatic plant-life. Perfect for an evening stroll as the sun goes down, it really is beautiful.
- A must for history buffs
- Filled with fascinating artefacts
- Powysland Museum Website
3. Take a Ride on the Welshpool & Llanfair Light Railway
At 2 ft 6 in wide, the narrow gauge Welshpool & Llanfair Light Railway (W&LLR) runs for around 8.5 miles (13.7 km). From Welshpool to the small town of Llanfair Caereinion, it takes you through some of the most beautiful countryside in Wales.
Opened in the early 1900s to allow the local farming communities to take their produce to market in Welshpool, the first operators Cambrian were soon taken over by their rivals Great Western before British Railways stepped in. Finally closing in the 50s, a decade later, a small but dedicated group of enthusiasts stepped in to open the railway once again.
Today the powerful steam trains take eager passengers across a viaduct - don’t look down, before tackling the 1 in 29 gradient of the Golfa Bank and heading into the Powis Estate. The estate’s deer can be seen watching the steam engine sail past, while buzzards soar overhead, and on the lake, goosanders and heron catch their lunch.
The beautiful original balconied carriages allow passengers to experience the thrill of the steam train while enjoying seeing nature so close. Even if you are not a railway enthusiast, this is a perfect way to spend the day.
- The perfect day out for railway fanatics
- Experience living history
- Welshpool & Llanfair Light Railway