Itinerary Category: general
Located as it is, where England meets Wales, Shropshire is crammed with interesting and historic castles and fortified buildings. This tour is spread over 3 days, starting with the imposing majesty of Ludlow Castle and ending with the magnificence of Powis Castle, just over the border into Wales.
Suggested by: Julie Whittingham, Lake House Cottages, Clun
Ludlow Castle – 2hrs
900 year old Norman castle, capital of the Marches. Originally built to hold back unconquered Welsh, passing through generations of the de Lacy and Mortimer families to Richard Plantagenet, Duke of York. Abandoned in 1689 the castle quickly fell into ruin, described as ‘the very perfection of decay’ by Daniel Defoe. Fabulous views over Ludlow from the towers. Excellent tea room and shop.
Stokesay Castle – 2hrs
Known as Stokesay Castle this is in fact a 13th Century fortified Manor house, the finest and best preserved in England. Set in peaceful countryside near the Welsh border, the castle, timber-framed gatehouse and parish church form an unforgettably picturesque group. Don’t miss the great hall unaltered since it was built in 1291.
Clun Castle – 1hrs
Clun Castle is a 11th century castle built to proclaim Norman dominance. Although nothing much remains today Clun is a picturesque town, described by A E Housman as ‘one of the quietest places under the sun’. The dramatic riverside ruins and extensive earthworks of a Welsh Border castle, its tall 13th century keep unusually set on the side of its mound. The playwright John Osborne is buried in nearby CLun Church.
Hopton Castle – 1hrs
A romantic ruin is all that is left of the medieval Hopton Castle, besieged in a notorious battle of the English Civil War. Channel 4’s ‘Time Team’ visited the Castle in 2009 and investigated much of the Castle’s history before and at the time of the siege. After the village sign and the lane (to Bedstone) on the left, you will see the Castle on the left behind the trees. Until access arrangements are complete (2009/10), the ruin is only visible from the road.
Croft Castle – 2hrs
Slip over the border into Herefordshire to visit Croft Castle. Again this is less of a castle, more of a grand house, home to the Croft family for nearly 1000 years. a place of power, politics and pleasure, nestles in peaceful Herefordshire countryside at the heart of a 607-hectare (1,500-acre) estate of woodlands, farm and parkland. Explore the miles of woodland trails, learn about the family who have made Croft so special. See the fine Georgian interiors and family portraits. Relax in the walled garden. Stroll through the woods to the Iron Age hill fort at Croft Ambrey.
Powis Castle – 6hrs
Built in the 12th Century Powis Castle was originally built as a fortress, dominating the hillside and was later modified by generations of Herberts and Clives to serve as a family home. Powis differs from the other castles on your tour by being built by Welsh Princes. Once home to Clive of India, the Clive museum houses a beautiful collection of treasures from India. The world-famous garden, overhung with clipped yews, shelters rare and tender plants. Laid out under the influence of Italian and French styles, it retains its original lead statues and an orangery on the terraces. National Trust property with excellent tearooms.