26 July 2023

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Players of People's Postcode Lottery have raised an amazing £5,481,500 to help The National Trust safeguard the nation's heritage.

So, if the kids are struggling to fill their days during the summer holidays, we know exactly who to ask! Stacey Hall at the charity has recommended castles where children can let their imaginations run wild.

Here are her top tips:

Powis Castle

A medieval fortress, built for Welsh princes and rising dramatically above celebrated gardens, it's hard to believe Powis Castle near Welshpool, Powys, was built around 1200. Influenced by Italian and French stylists, its gardens are considered among the best in Britain, overhung with clipped yews sheltering rare and tender plants, and featuring lead statues and an orangery on the terraces.

The wooded ridge opposite the castle is known as the Wilderness and is a perfect place for a family picnic after a woodland walk that offers incredible views.

The Castle itself has been remodelled and embellished over hundreds of years, with each generation of the Herbert family, who occupied it from the 1570s, enlisting acclaimed artists to grow the family's collection of paintings, sculpture, furniture, and tapestries, still on view throughout the house.

Penrhyn Castle

Penrhyn Castle, sitting between Snowdonia and the Menai Strait, is a vast neo-Norman structure completed in 1837. For visitors of all ages, the big draw is the Railway Museum set within the 60 acres of parkland and trails which also feature an exotic tree and shrub collection and a Victorian walled garden.

Set in the castle's huge former stable block, the museum houses a fantastic collection of historic locomotives and model railways including some used in the Penrhyn/Tongareva slate quarry in nearby Bethesda.

The star of the steam show is Charles, a saddle tank locomotive built in 1882 and still working into the 1950s.

The castle itself is crammed with fascinating items, such as a one-ton slate bed made for Queen Victoria, carvings, plasterwork, and mock-Norman furniture. It also has an outstanding collection of paintings, and a fully restored kitchen.

Tredegar House

Tredegar House and its surrounding gardens and parkland stand proudly at the heart of Newport's heritage.

It's brilliant for families. Follow the family trail that is included in your entry ticket and 'hosted' by Peeps the Skye Terrier, who lived here 150 years ago. He will guide you around the house and gardens, telling stories about some of the interesting people and animals who once called Tredegar House home. The trail includes an activity booklet for children to use as they explore the site.

Or dress up in selection of traditional outfits. With dresses, jackets and hats to choose from - will your offspring become the lady of the house or the butler?