Castles & heritage in Pembrokeshire
Pembrokeshire’s landscape is peppered with everything from mysterious prehistoric tombs to medieval castles and Celtic religious shrines.
Pembroke Castle and Carew Castle are probably the finest castles in Pembrokeshire whilst Cilgerran Castle probably commands the most dramatic location perched high above the Teifi Gorge.
Llawhaden Castle was a fortified Bishop’s palace rather than a true castle with panoramic views from its battlements. Picton Castle is a cross between a medieval castle and a fortified manor house. Built in the 13th century by Sir John Wogan, it’s still occupied today by his descendants.
Manorbier Castle is a Norman baronial residence overlooking the beach. It was described by Gerald of Wales as ‘the pleasantest place in Wales’.
St Davids Bishops Palace was home to the Bishops of St Davids and was built as a private residence but later in the 13th century became a much grander building for stylish entertaining. Lamphey Bishop’s Palace was built as a retreat for those medieval bishops seeking solace from the everyday stresses of Church and State.
The Tudor Merchants House in Tenby has been restored by the National Trust and recreates the home of wealthy merchants trading from Tenby during the 1500’s.
Other must-visits include St Govans Chapel near Bosherston. A small 13th-century chapel built into the sea-cliff and accessible only by steps from the towering cliff above. Pentre Ifan is Wales’ most iconic prehistoric site. The Neolithic burial chamber topped by a massive capstone is made from the same stones as the inner circle of Stonehenge.
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Carew Castle & Tidal Mill
An enormous stone castle in a picturesque location next to the mill pond, which powers the tide mill. The castle is ruined now, but was once a powerful stronghold and a grand Elizabethan mansion.
Castell Henllys Iron Age Fort
Situated in the rugged north Pembrokeshire landscape, Castell Henllys is a reconstructed Iron Age hill fort. Archaeological excavation of the site has enabled the National Park Authority to realistically reproduce life as it was over 2000 years ago.
The castle’s basic plan is almost rectangular, and consists of a sturdy battlemented curtain wall with niches and powerful corner towers, impressive gatehouse, a complex hall-range, and a huge barn.