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Pembroke Castle can be found in the town of Pembroke in Pembrokeshire, West Wales. The castle was first built in 1093 but was given a serious upgrade under the ownership of William Marshal, one of the town’s most famous historical figures who was one of Britain’s most powerful people in the 12th century.
I recently visited the castle and have put together this guide to help you get the most out of your trip.
Is Pembroke Castle Worth Visiting?
Yes, Pembroke Castle is worth visiting, it’s a castle that’s significant in history as the birthplace of Henry VII, the first Tudor King of England. There are lots of things to do at the castle including an extensive museum, guided tours, towers and dungeons to explore, as well as smaller exhibits.
During summer, there are additional family activities such as plays and a knight school, more on this below.
I have visited most castles in Wales and would put this among the best to visit for its history, structure and the range of activities inside.
Getting To Pembroke Castle
By Car: It’s easy to visit Pembroke Castle by car, there are signs throughout the town to direct you to the castle.
- Postcode: SA71 4LA
- What3Words: supposes.geologist.ringside
- Google Maps: Click here
Where To Park For Pembroke Castle?
There is no parking at Pembroke Castle. The best place to park is The Parade car park which costs £1.50 for 4 hours or £2 for the full day. This is around 4 minutes from the castle on foot. There is a drop-off zone at the castle entrance too.
By Public Transport: If travelling to Pembroke Caste by public transport, Pembroke railway station is a 12-minute walk from the castle through the town centre.
Visiting Pembroke Castle
Here are the entry fees for Pembroke Castle:
|Seniors (65+) / Juniors (3-15) / Disabled||£6.00|
|Children (Under 3)||Free|
Pembroke Castle is open daily but the opening times change throughout the year. It’s recommended to arrive at least half an hour before closing, although I’d recommend arriving much earlier as there is lots to see and do.
|March||10am – 5pm|
|April to August||9.30am – 5.30pm|
|September to October||10am – 5pm|
|November to February||10am – 4pm|
How Long Do People Spend At Pembroke Castle?
There is lots to do at Pembroke Castle so you should allow 2-3 hours for your visit depending upon whether you join the 1-hour guided tour and what activities are taking place that day.
Is Pembroke Castle Inside Or Outside?
When visiting Pembroke Castle, you’ll spend around half your time indoors, such as in the museum and exploring the inner ward, and half your time outdoors along the castle walls, towers, and the large keep. The castle is suitable for a rainy day although you will get the most from your visit when it’s dry outside.
Are There Toilets at Pembroke Castle?
Yes, there are toilets at Pembroke Castle. These are clean and well-maintained with a disabled toilet too.
Is Pembroke Castle Dog Friendly?
Yes, Pembroke Castle is dog-friendly. Dogs are welcome in all parts of the castle on a lead, except the gift shop.
Is Pembroke Castle Wheelchair Friendly?
There is limited accessibility at Pembroke Castle for wheelchairs and prams which is to be expected from a medieval castle. Whilst you’ll be able to enjoy the outer ward area and marvel at the castle from here, most of the attractions such as the castle walls, the exhibitions, the dungeons, and towers require you to use steps.
What Can You Do At Pembroke Castle?
Pembroke Castle has a huge number of things to do which is why I rate it among the top castles to visit in West Wales, if not the whole of Wales. Here is a summary of the top activities you can do during your visit:
1. Learn About Pembroke Castle With The Introductory Video
When you first arrive, make sure you watch the introductory video. This is well put together to break down the key events in the lifetime of the castle from the original timber fortress in 1093 right up to the restoration of the castle in the 19th century.
2. Visit The Exhibition Of The Castle’s History
The castle has a great exhibition which goes into a lot more detail on each stage of the history of the castle. I enjoyed seeing the miniature models of the castle that show how it has evolved over time.
You can also learn about the Pembrokeshire Yeomanry, a regiment of the British Army based at the castle. Their uniforms and medals are on display. On the top floor is information about the castle’s siege by Oliver Cromwell which took place during the English Civil War.
Some of the rooms feature lifesize replicas of those that lived in the castle such as one showcasing William de valance, Lord of Pembroke, and his family feasting in 1280.
3. Walk Along The Castle Walls
You can walk around most of the castle along the outer wall which is up to 5 metres thick in some places1 (source: Wikipedia). From the north and south sides, you’ll see the small lake and mill pond that surround the castle.
The east and west walls are the thickest sections because they are land-facing, anyone attacking the castle would need to attack these walls.
4. Explore the Inner Ward
The inner ward is where you’ll find the few buildings that remain somewhat intact at Pembroke Castle including the dungeon tower, the old hall, the chapel, the great keep, and the underground cavern.
You can climb the stairs to the top of the five-storey keep where you’ll enjoy a panoramic view of Pembroke and the surrounding countryside.
If you fancy some more steps, you can also head down to the underground cavern which would have been a huge naturally-cooled storage room. Today, it’s a large empty space with the occasional bat.
5. Take The Free Guided Tour
One of my favourite things about visiting this castle is that they offer free guided tours. These one-hour tours by a local are scheduled at several times throughout the day, check the board when you arrive to find out more.
If you’ve not arrived in time to join a guided tour and don’t want to wait for the next one, you can also try the self-guided audio tour. Simply scan the QR code dotted around the castle with your smartphone camera and you’ll hear some information about the place you are in.
6. Join The Merrymakers For an Outdoor Performance or Knight Training
There are events on at Pembroke Castle throughout the peak visitor period. This includes an outdoor performance where they reenact the castle’s history or knight training.
Other events include falconry and an open-air cinema, check here to find out what events are coming up.
I high recommend timing your visit with one of the Merrymakers performances if visiting with children, they are a really fun and interactive way to engage kids with the castle.
7. Have Lunch At The Castle Kitchens
To keep you fueled during your visit, there is both a cafe and a restaurant. The outdoor cafe and refreshments area serves teas, coffees, cakes, and pastries. There is also a restaurant called The Castle Kitchens where you can enjoy light lunches such as baked potatoes, salads, and daily specials.
Prices are the same at both counters and there is the choice of outdoor seating on benches around the keep as well as indoor seating areas in the restaurant and a large gazebo outside.
While you enjoy some food, kids can enjoy playing on The Great Map, a large map of Wales on the floor of the outer keep which they claim is the largest of its kind. The map features the locations of major castles and religious landmarks across the country.
BONUS: Row Around The Castle Lake
This next activity isn’t actually inside the castle but on the small lake in front. You can hire a rowing boat from Paddle West and make your way around the lake for a different view of the castle.
This is a separate activity from the castle so you don’t need a castle entry ticket. The cost of the boats is £15 per boat per half hour.
Things To Do Near Pembroke Castle
Although Pembroke Castle dominates the town, there are plenty of other things to do in and around Pembroke. These include:
- Pembroke Museum – Hidden away in an old courtroom on the first floor of the council building, this free museum houses many items donated by local people that tell the history of Pembroke town.
- Pembroke Town Trail – Pick up one of the town trail leaflets from the museum or the castle and explore the town.
- Visit the Coastal Path – Some of the best parts of the Wales Coastal Path can be found just south of Pembroke, including the Green Bridge of Wales and Stack Rocks.
Can You Visit Pembroke Castle?
Yes, Pembroke Castle is open to the public. It is a paid visitor attraction.
Is Pembroke Castle National Trust?
No, Pembroke Castle is not part of National Trust so National Trust memberships are not valid here.
Is Pembroke Castle English Heritage or CADW?
No, Pembroke Castle is not managed by a government body such as English Heritage or the Welsh equivalent, CADW. It is owned by Pembroke Castle Trust, a charity set up to conserve and protect the castle.
A CADW or English Heritage membership does not provide free entry or discounts at Pembroke Castle.
Kieren is the founder and editor-in-chief of Wales Guidebook. Originally from rural Mid-Wales, he has lived all over the country from Cardiff to Wrexham. A true Welshman, Kieren created this site to share his passion for Wales and help others discover this beautiful country.