Have you ever watched a movie or read a book about a place and thought, I want to go there someday? Well, that sums up Pembroke Castle Wales for me. I watched the movie version of the romantic novel “Me before You” (I warn you, it will make you cry). It was filmed at Pembroke Castle, Wales and the surrounding village.
I automatically fell in love with the Castle and started looking up where it was and how I could get there.
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When I finally did make it there, I realised that there was a whole lot more to Pembroke Castle, Wales than romantic stories. Instead, what I learnt was that Pembroke Castle played a very import part in British history and that it is the birthplace of Henry VII.
About Pembroke Castle
Pembroke Castle Wales stands beside the Pembroke river, which creates a natural defence around part of the perimeter. Pembroke’s thick walls and towers stand on its landward side facing the town. Depending on the weather and time of day the reflection on the water makes the castle look even more grand.
As you enter through the arch of the Gatehouse, the first thing you notice is the ‘Great map’ painted on the grounds. It is in the ‘Outer Ward’, the Dungeon Tower behind it and The Great Tower. I am distracted by this and don’t notice the defence walls and the other surround towers.
I head over to the map of the grounds to find my bearings and to work out where I want to explore first. What I did not realise until later (my own doing of course) is that there are FREE guided tours that are included in your entrance ticket.
As you explore inside the castle, you will notice that most of the rooms are circular and that some of them are made into exhibition rooms. These portray life as it would have been through the many years of interesting twists and turns in the Castle’s history.
From the ladies of the house taking care of Henry VII to the many battles that were held within Pembroke Castle.I think they are a great addition to the castle, as it is an interesting way of keeping both adults and kids informed without just reading a sign on the wall.
After exploring the inside, climb up the walls and take in the stunning views across the fields and Pembroke town especially from the tower. Be careful, though, as it can get slippy when wet walking along the walls.
History of Pembroke Castle
Pembroke Castle Wales is a medieval castle that has a long and fascinating history. It played a leading role in shaping the history of Britain. One of the most important points in the historical timeline of the castle was the birth of Henry VII.
They believe he was born within the tower that is known as ‘Henry VII Tower’ (Funnily enough) and today there is an exhibition in the tower showing this.
Built in 1093 by Arnulf de Montgomery the castle was originally made of Timber and was established as a Norman Fort. The castle resisted many Welsh attacks and sieges over the years. However, after the middle ages, lots of interior of the castle was destroyed.
A century later the castle was given to William Marshal who rebuilt it into an impressive Norman stone castle. He further strengthened and enlarged it, so much so that most of the structure that remains today.
Today, Pembroke castle Wales is owned by a private trust and relies on the income received from visitors. The castle arranges various activities inside the castle and within the gardens to raise awareness and educate visitors on the castle. Which I think is an added bonus for both adults and children.
Head over to the Wogan Cavern underneath the Great Hall to read about the amazing history behind how the caves have been used as a place of safety for over 12,000 years. It is the only castle in Britain to be built over a natural cavern.
Over the years various artefacts have been found left in the Wogan Cavern, like stone tools from the cave dwellers during the Ice Age and Roman coins found in and near the castle.
- When you are on the opposite side of the Pembroke river, you can see the cave underneath the castle deep inside the rock.
The Great Tower (or Keep)
Dominating the grounds of Pembroke Castle at twenty-five metres high and sixteen metres in diameter is the cylindrical Great Tower. The entrance was located on the first floor and access to the fives levels was via a wooden staircase, which is not there now.
Instead, when you walk in the tower, you will find a giant hollow area that feels a little creepy when you are inside. If you look up though, you will be able to see where the rooms that contain fireplaces were and windows. It is definitely worth exploring.
If you watch “Me before You” movie, this is where Will takes his caregiver Lou to see the castle from his favourite spot.
⇒ Another great medieval castle you can explore in England is Bodiam Castle.
How to get there & Location
Pembroke Castle Wales is located in the town of Pembroke, West Wales. It is a roughly 3hr drive from Cardiff and 4-5hr drive from central London, depending on traffic. Other ways that you can get to Pembroke Castle is via Train, Bus and Ferry.
The view from St Anne’s Baston, Pembroke Castle Wales
Driving is the most convenient and easiest way to get to Pembroke Castle Wales especially if you are driving up from central London. The drive is pretty straightforward and once you are on the M4 and you get closer there will be signposts to help direct you to the Pembroke town.
Postcode: If you do decide to drive the postcode is SA71 4LA
Alternatively, if you don’t own a car you can hire car for the day, especially if there is a group of you or if you have a family. There are numerous companies in and around London where you can hire a car.
If, you are worried about getting lost it should not be a problem, as most car hire places do Sav Nav hire too. Please be aware that the M4 has tolls on it and the other options but will take longer.
Catching a Train is another option and they leave from either London Paddington or Euston Station to Pembroke Dock Station. Then it is only a 15minute walk to the Pembroke Castle.
⇒ Travelling by train to other parts of England, Wales or Scotland? How about the Interrail Great Britain Pass, a convenient way of taking a train journey?
Where I Stayed
If you are coming from London this is definitely a weekend trip. We stayed at the Lord Nelson Hotel, in Milford Haven along the seafront overlooking the harbour. It was only about 20mins away from Pembroke Castle across the bridge.
Reviews on Trip Advisor – Lord Nelson Hotel, Wales
Additional Information and Pricing
- Price Castle & Gardens – £6.00 Per Adult, £5.00 Per Child ( (5-15) and £5.00 Senior (65+)
- Type – Half Day
- Duration – 3-4 Hrs depending on what you see and do
- Car Park – Is available and it is FREE depending on the day. Check the machine when there.
- Guided tour – Are included in your entrance ticket and are run daily
- There is not much shelter available and the British weather can be unpredictable so take an umbrella or coat, especially if you want to walk around the walls.
- You are allowed to bring your dog into the grounds of the castles as long as it is on lead.
- If you have the time, go for a walk around the outside of the castles which should only about 15-20 minutes at the most. You can get some really nice photos of the castle on the opposite side of the river.
- Children under the age of 16 are not allowed into the castle unless accompanied by an adult
- Check out the Great Map of Wales, situated in the centre of the castle. Apparently, it is Britain’s largest piece of artwork. You can discover the location of hundreds of castles, cathedrals and famous Welsh landmarks on the great map of Wales.
- During the Summer Holidays every Wednesday evening there is an outdoor theatre, cinema and music!
Would I recommend Pembroke Castles Wales?
I love anything to do with history especially castles and palaces. I always look at them and wonder what it was like to live in one back in the day. Not only this, but they are a great day out learning about history, whilst at the same time escaping for a little while transporting yourself back in time with your surroundings.
Every historical building definitely has its own fascinating story about how they have come about and why they are still standing today. Pembroke Castle Wales is definitely no exception, it holds its own in the castle stakes and with its serene architecture and long history, the stunning Pembroke Castle is a true wonder of Wales and worth a visit.
Discover more of UK and History
Thank you for reading this article ‘A Backdrop for Romance Stories Pembroke Castle Wales’ I hope it helped you to decide what to do while in Wales. It is truly a beautiful castle and definitely a great all year round attraction.
⇒ Looking to discover other parts of England, please feel free to head to my United Kingdom Page
I am always happy to help 🙂
Disclaimer: I paid to visit Pembroke Castle Wales and all views are my own and based on my own experience.