On a flat site by the Carew river, the castle changed from a fortress to a grand Elizabethan mansion. The castle was begun after 1100 by Gerald of Windsor with a stone tower, unusual in these first castles. This remains amid later additions made for the de Carew family in the 1280s on the east side of the courtyard. The dramatic west side, with a great hall between two drum towers, was built in the early fourteenth century. The transformation into a Tudor house began in around 1507 with Sir Rhys ap Thomas, one of the Welsh knights who had risen to prominence with the new Welsh dynasty, the Tudors. The entrance to the great hall has the arms of Henry VII, his eldest son Prince Arthur and Arthur’s bride Catherine of Aragon. But Arthur died and the family fell foul of the second son, Henry VIII. Sir Rhys’ grandson, Sir Rhys ap Gruffudd was executed in 1531. So it was Sir John Perrot, a favourite of Elizabeth I who completed the work, or nearly did before his disgrace in 1591. In the northern front is a display of Elizabethan mullioned windows with two semi-circular bow-windows to break up the length. The castle was damaged in the civil war and gradually ruined.
Across the spectacular tidal mill-pond is a large nineteenth-century Tidal Mill, and by the car-park, the Carew Cross, the best Celtic Cross in Britain, erected in about 1035, covered in Celtic patterning.
Carew Castle is leased to the Pembrokeshire Coast National Park Authority and is run as a visitor attraction and educational site.
The Castle is open daily all year, The Mill is open between March and October.
For further information phone Pembrokeshire Country Council on 01437 764551 ext. 5227 during office hours. Admission charges are payable.
Disabled Access: There is wheelchair access to the ground floor of both the Castle, the Mill and both shops. The mile round walk is also wheelchair friendly. There are two disabled toilets situated at castle reception and mill lane (opened with RADA key). A wheelchair is available from the castle reception for loan for those who have mobility difficulties.
Toilets: Main public toilets are situated at Carew Castle reception. (Please note: there are no public toilets at Carew Tidal Mill).
Gifts: Shops are situated at both castle and mill receptions open 10 am - 5 pm (during main season.
Car Parking: There is ample parking for both coaches and cars.
Picnic Sites: The main picnic site is situated on the North side of the Mill Pond. However, all are welcome to picnic on any grassed areas open to the public.
Guided Tours: Tours of the castle are provided free of charge at 2.30 pm daily except during winter opening hours
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