Tretower Court and Castle

Work has been insanely busy the last few months, so the last thing I wanted to do over the Easter bank holiday weekend was sit in front of a screen.

So on Good Friday, I set off on a drive to the Welsh county of Powys to visit a couple of castles: Tretower and Bronllys.

The sleepy village of Tretower is nestled in the heart of the Brecon Beacons, not far from the River Usk and the market town of Crickhowell, and is home to a ruined castle and medieval court.

Tretower Castle

Tretower Castle was founded in the 11th century by a wealthy Norman family, the Picards.

During the Wars of the Roses, the castle’s then-owner Sir Roger Vaughan, a Yorkist, built a grand medieval manor close to the castle and the family eventually abandoned the castle in favour of the more luxurious court (below).

Tretower Court

By the 18th century, the Vaughans were no longer living at Tretower and both the court and castle were left to fall to ruin.

The estate was taken over by the state in 1934 and its dilapidated buildings were in such poor condition, it took four decades to restore them. Today Tretower Castle and Court are looked after by Cadw, the Welsh heritage agency.

Tretower Court courtyard

Arriving in Tretower, I parked my car in the small car park and made my way, via the newly refurbished shop and visitor centre, to Tretower Court, where I was greeted by a friendly and helpful member of staff.

As I stepped inside the attractive courtyard (above), I followed the visitors’ path around to the left and through a side door into the medieval garden (below).

Medieval garden at Tretower Court

From here, you can either tour the medieval court or head across the fields to the castle.

Being the castle enthusiast that I am, I decided to begin my visit with a trip to the castle. So I set off across the fields behind the manor house.

Tretower Castle

There isn’t a huge amount left of the castle, with only the tower and a brief area surrounding it open to visitors.

But you can see remnants of other parts of the castle in a field belonging to a neighbouring farmer (above).

I decided to start my mini-tour of Tretower Castle by looking around the rooms and passageway that surround the tower.

Kitchen at Tretower Castle

I ventured first into what used to be the castle’s kitchen (above). The area above was once home to the fortress’s hall.

From the kitchen, I ambled along the corridor, passing what was left of the oven and the solar, before stopping to take a look at the views over the Brecon Beacons (above).

Entrance to the tower at Tretower Castle

I continued my way along the circular passage until I reached the entrance to the tower (above).

Inside the tower at Tretower Castle

There isn’t much to see inside the tower, there’s just the small ground floor space and a viewing point on the first floor (above).

Inside the tower at Tretower Castle

But you can still see the remains of some of the tower’s architectural and decorative features (above), which helps give a sense of how the tower was once used.

By now I’d seen everything there was to see in the castle, so I crossed back over the field to take a look around Tretower Court.

Entrance to Tretower Court from the medieval garden

Entrance to the house is via the medieval garden (above), which takes you into what used to be the court’s kitchen (below).

In the 2010s, Cadw carried out a large restoration project on Tretower Court’s west wing decorating and furnishing a handful of the manor’s otherwise bare rooms.

Tretower Court Great Hall

The kitchen, pantry, buttery and great hall (above) have all been styled as they would have been in the 1460s when Sir Roger Vaughan and his family lived at the court.

The rest of the house remains unfurnished, but it was good to get a sense from these rooms how the manor would have looked during its 15th century heyday.

From the great hall, I continued my tour of the house, passing a large empty room and then going up a flight of stairs to the wooden walkway on the first floor (above).

Giant chess set at Tretower Court

The rooms on either side of the first floor landing are largely empty, although one of them features a giant chess set for visitors to play with (above).

Large room in Tretower Court

The walkway boasts great views over the courtyard below and as I walked along it, I popped inside the enormous room to my left, which was decorated with some fairylights (above).

I continued along the walkway (above), passing through a small open-air room, and along a narrow stone passageway to another large, empty room.

Having seen all there was to see upstairs, I trundled down the back stairs to a small room next to the kitchen, which is home to a few barrels (above) and presumably was where they used to store the court’s wine and beer.

A sheep and a lamb

On leaving the manor house, I had a brief stroll around Tretower village. The village consists of a few houses, a small parish church, the village hall and a few sheep with their curious lambs (above).

I finished my visit with a picnic on one of the many picnic benches in the garden at Tretower Court.

Tretower Court courtyard

There isn’t a huge amount to see at Tretower Court and Castle so it doesn’t take long to look around it all.

Nevertheless, I enjoyed my visit and it was a pleasant and relaxing way to while away a couple of hours on a sunny Good Friday afternoon.


Tretower Court and Castle, Tretower, Powys NP8 1RF
£8.70 adults, £6.10 children, £8.10 senior citizens

6 thoughts on “Tretower Court and Castle

Add yours

    1. I find spending time in the outdoors really helps me switch off and relax, so it was a wonderful way to spend the weekend. And it was great the weather was so fine (it’s not always the case here in Wales!). Thanks 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Bannau Brycheiniog isn’t the easiest Welsh name to pronounce or spell for non-Welsh speakers, but hopefully people will embrace it. I agree, it’s a great decision and we should do more to celebrate and promote our languages and traditions.

      Liked by 1 person

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