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The Pembrokeshire Tourism Blog

Enjoy a visit to a legendary Pembrokeshire castle

Pembrokeshire Tourism - Friday, June 30, 2017
Whilst many of Pembrokeshire’s castles are largely ruins these days, there are some fantastic days out to be enjoyed exploring them and with many hosting events throughout the summer it’s a great way to enjoy your own legendary days. Pembrokeshire Tourism taken a closer look at five of the county’s castles, to help give an idea of some of the things you can find when you explore them!


Photo credit: Sion Esmond
Pembroke Castle
Famous for being the birthplace of Henry VII, the history of the castle stretches back further still to 1093, when Arnulf of Montgomery built a castle on the site during the Norman Invasion of Wales. During the 12th Century the castle was rebuilt in stone by William Marshal, and most of the structure remains to this day. It has been witness to many battles and sieges throughout its history, and houses a number of exhibitions detailing these and the development of the castle buildings through the ages. These days Pembroke Castle is usually more peaceful, with a range of events taking place throughout the year. From bringing history to life through re-enactment days with Knights Schools and Falconry Displays, to more modern events such as the Rock the Castle festival, there is always plenty to see, do and experience at Pembroke Castle.


Tenby Castle

Little now remains of Tenby Castle which dates back to Norman times, however its location, overlooking the beaches of Tenby, and with views across to Caldey Island, make it well worth a visit especially when combined with the Tenby Museum and Art Gallery. The museum building stands on the remains of what is thought to be the Great Hall of the Castle. Within the Museum are a number of exhibitions telling the story of Tenby from the 9th Century through to the present day, as well as more details on the maritime and piracy history of the area, and more! The museum hosts a number of events throughout the year in addition to regularly changing art exhibitions running alongside the permanent collection.


Manorbier Castle

The original seat of the Anglo-Norman de Barry family, Manorbier Castle is also a Norman Castle, located close to the sea overlooking Manorbier beach. Unlike some of the other castles in Pembrokeshire, Manorbier has only been attacked twice during its history and both are considered as minor skirmishes rather than major battles or sieges. Within the castle Chapel, built around 1260, some of the original medieval frescoes can still be seen, along with the elaborate vaulting and plaster-work. A popular choice as a wedding venue, the castle also has a holiday cottage within the grounds which can sleep up to 12 people. Throughout the summer the castle hosts a number of events including falconry displays, ‘Have a Go Archery’ sessions and a range of live music and theatre performances.


Photo credit: Mandy Schottke-Llewellyn
Carew Castle
Archeological excavations suggest that Carew has had a settlement on it since the Iron Age, and may well have had a fort on it during the Dark Ages too. As with many of Pembrokeshire’s castles, some of the current building dates back to Norman times. Carew has been through many transformations through history from Medieval fortress to Elizabethan Manor. Now managed by the Pembrokeshire Coast National Park Authority, Carew Castle has undergone a number of restoration projects, including reinstatement of the roof on the Lesser Hall. It is also a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) due to the resident bat population and presence of several locally or regionally rare species of plants. Throughout the year there is a full programme of activities and events, including Treasure Hunts, Ghost Walks, Knight School and open air theatre performances.



Haverfordwest Castle

It is thought that the original settlement on the site of Haverfordwest Castle was Flemish, before becoming a Norman structure with stone keep and bailey in the early 1100s. Whilst it has served many purposes, one of the most important roles held by Haverfordwest Castle was that of a prison, and artefacts from this element of its history can be found in the displays of Haverfordwest Museum based in the castle grounds. The Museum has a model of how the castle would have looked in around 1394, a period in its history when King Richard II stayed there. During the Civil Wars of the 1640s, the castle was damaged during sieges, and letters from Oliver Cromwell ordering the destruction of the castle can also be seen in the museum.
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