Pembroke Castle is idyllically set on the banks of the river estuary. This mighty fortress is largely intact, and its endless passages, tunnels and stairways are great fun to explore.
Pembroke Castle has a long and fascinating history, dating from 1093; notably, Henry Tudor (Harri Tudur), who became Henry VII and inaugurated the Tudor line of monarchs, was born there in 1457. He was father to the infamous Henry VIII and grandfather of Elizabeth I.
Soon after the Battle of Hastings in 1066 the victorious Norman invaders looked to Wales, but it was not until 1093 that Earl Roger of Montgomery built the first Pembroke Castle with earth and timber. It was the work of William Marshall, son in law of Strongbow, conqueror of Ireland who was the man responsible for the wholesale reconstruction of the castle in stone in the late 12th/early 13th centuries.
The castle gatehouse had a complex barbican and no fewer than three portcullises. Pembroke is also noteworthy as the only castle in Britain to be built over a natural cavern: a large cave known as the Wogan.
Views from the top are tremendous and the castle's natural defensive position on a rocky promontory overlooking Milford Haven is immediately apparent.
Today, Pembroke Castle is owned and managed by a Private Charitable Trust. Over the past 10 years much effort has been made to bring the history of the castle to life. Visitors will find an exhibition room telling the fascinating history of the castle and lots of exciting events are held during the year such as re-enactments, falconry and circus displays.
The castle and a well stocked gift shop are open all year. There is a Snack Bar open from February to the end of November and a Brass Rubbing Centre open during the summer months and at other times by arrangement.
Brass rubbing is easy, fun and rewarding: making beautiful wall hangings and gifts everyone can take home as a personal hand-made memento. Reproducing one of these magnificent figures in bright metallic wax is an exciting and absorbing experience: try it and see. No experience is needed. Materials and friendly instruction on techniques provided in the inclusive price which starts at £1.50.
The Castle and Exhibition Rooms are open daily all year round, including Sundays at the following times:
1st April – 30th September 9.30am – 6.00pm (last entry 5.15pm)
March and October 10.00am - 5.00pm (last entry 4.15pm)
November – February 10.00am – 4.00pm (last entry 3.15pm)
The castle is closed on 24-26 December and 1st January.
The shop is accessible to visitors without the need to pay admission to the castle.