Whether you’re on holiday with the family, enjoying a romantic break or taking some solo time out, a Pembrokeshire getaway just isn’t complete without a trip to a castle. From peaceful ruins to bustling strongholds where history is faithfully re-enacted, we’re pretty sure there’s something for everyone – here are our picks for the top three castles in Pembrokeshire.
Probably the most famous of all, Pembroke Castle should definitely be on your sightseeing list. Standing imposingly over the town and river below, this popular visitor attraction makes for some great holiday pics. Built in 1093, the castle is probably most well-known for being the birthplace of King Henry VII and has seen its fair share of turmoil over the centuries – most notably being the focus of attacks from both sides during the Civil War.
A fascinating place to visit, whether you’re a history buff or not, the castle usually hosts lots of events throughout the year, from plays to falconry. At the time of writing events are on hold but there’s still plenty to see and do here if you’re looking for a trip out. We can recommend a scenic walk along the river too!
If you want to impress on Instagram, you won’t find a much more spectacular setting than that that of Manorbier Castle. Situated on dramatic cliffs overlooking a sheltered bay and sparkling seas, this stunning medieval castle is picture perfect. With landscaped gardens, fairy-tale turrets and even secret smugglers’ passages, it’s a lovely spot to while away an afternoon. It’s also on the route of the famous Pembrokeshire Coast Path, so if you’re thinking of walking a section or two during your trip, why not try the Manorbier bit and pop in en route? Dog on leads are welcome too.
Ordinarily, there’s plenty going on here – like archery and live music – so it’s worth checking their events section for the latest news. The castle does host weddings and other private events at times, so if you’re thinking of visiting, it’s always best to check when it will be open to the public in advance.
Carew Castle and Tidal Mill
A combination Norman fortress and Tudor mansion, Carew Castle and its nearby tidal mill stand on the banks of the widest section of the peaceful Carew River. It’s another visitor attraction that’s perfect for travellers who love taking in a spectacular view or sharing their epic destinations on social media. On a calm, bright day the water here is like a mirror, perfectly reflecting the magnificent ruins on its banks.
A hugely influential site in Welsh history, the castle was a seat of power for almost 1000 years. In fact, some of Pembrokeshire’s most famous legends are centred around Carew Castle – like the story of Princess Nest and the terrifying tale of Satan the barbary ape, whose spectre is still said to haunt the castle ramparts on wild, stormy nights. Again, there’s usually lots on for all the family here, so check their website to find out what’s happening during your holiday.
Discover Pembrokeshire’s castles on your camping holiday
Of course, while these are our faves, they’re not the only castles to explore. There are plenty more historic sites to discover while you’re on holiday in Pembrokeshire. It’s just fitting them in between all those trips to the beach, islands, mountains, forests and the local chippy that’s the trick!