When in Wales, at least one castle visit is essential given the number of them around. This time (having seen Swansea Castle remains the day before) meant a trip to Pembroke Castle.
We arrived early just ahead of opening time, and there was plenty of parking available at the Commons car park. There’s not much else in Pembroke – no cafes along the main street, so we didn’t support the local economy although we’d wanted to get a drink somewhere (of course, after I’d suggested we get a drink from the castle cafe and we’d left).
Pembroke Castle is a relatively cheap place to visit. It costs under £10 for adults as well as children, and you can choose to pay the gift aid price or standard price.
There’s an introductory video which gives the background to the characters involved and the history of Pembroke Castle. We watched most of that as it was interesting to find out more about the Welsh princes, lords, the English, and the French invasions, with the changing Kings.
We were able to use the maps provided and wander around the castle walls and remaining towers. In some there were models set up in reenactments, others were blank spaces with information about them on posters or signs. It took us through history right up to the modern history of the world wars.
N does love history so he was interested in the video and reading of the information. He knew a bit about the medieval history due to Horrible Histories. We often found ourselves humming along to the various relevant Horrible Histories’ songs.
Pembroke Castle played a part in the rise and fall of one of Medieval Europe’s ‘Greatest Knight’ William Marshall, and you can find out about his downfall with an English Civil War battle, and how Cromwell got the better of this castle and Mayor of Pembroke. The castle was also the birthplace of King Henry VII.
It was lovely to get up on the castle walls and walk around most of the way, as well as climbing the 80ft keep tower. There are some lovely views over the river and the town. We even spotted people stand up paddle boarding in the river below.
N enjoyed taking charge of what we were going into next and commentating on anything else he knew. He decided the route and climbing up towers. This was one day trip he didn’t moan about.
You can also go down into a large underground cave which was lived in.
Once out in the courtyard area we saw the huge map of Wales with the castles, abbeys and priories, and smaller defences. This was interesting to see where we’d been before, and how many castles there actually are.
We didn’t stop for a drink or snack, but there’s a refreshments kiosk as well as the restaurant/cafe which must open later in the day. There’s plenty of picnic tables out in the open, as well as some under marquee cover. There are also toilets
While there weren’t any extra activities on during the day we were there, there was plenty to see and find out about for children who like history. Or those who just want to climb on walls and enjoy the open space.
We were at Pembroke Castle for just nearly 1 1/2 hours. You could spend another hour if you watch the whole of the introductory video, and listen to all the audio content in each tower or other area. We listened to some.
Our view is that it’s definitely worth the money on the entrance fee and parking if you’re in the area, although don’t expect to see much else in the town. Other than walks along the river, or some paddle boarding as well!
Have you been to any castles in the Pembroke area?
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I used to love visiting castles when I was younger and my kids would love to explore a place like this. I don’t think Pembroke Castle is one we’ve been too, but I’m not keen on my husband’s driving along the welsh roads, lol.
The roads weren’t too bad around Pembrokeshire. But I know what you mean in the more upland areas. Around Beddgelert and Cader Idris was a bit hairy (although that might have been my friend’s driving!)
This looks like a wonderful castle to visit with plenty to see and do. The views from the top look amazing x
It was a bit of a pleasant surprise. I’d not expected it to be so large. There was certainly plenty to see and find out.