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Amroth Castle

Visited August 2010

Location Amroth, Pembrokeshire
Entrance Fee No
Railway Station            No
Parking Yes
Facilities Holiday Park


I feel a bit sneaky reviewing this castle as it is not strictly speaking open to the public, but operates as a holiday park, with most facilities for residents only. However, there is a cafe on the premises open to non-residents, so this is enough of an excuse to go in and have a nose around the castle grounds. Also, I notice there is very little info on this castle on the web, other than from the point of view of promoting the holiday park. So I have decided to include info/ photos on this site if anyone is interested.






As you will notice from the picture, the castle as we see today is a 18th century house built in the style of a castle. However, if you look at the tower which forms the front porch of the house, you may notice that it looks older than the rest. This is because it is part of an older, Tudor house which was built in 1455 by Anglo-Norman Lord John Elliott. The archway in the picture below also dates from this time, and some fragments of the boundary walls.


The Elliot family re-built the house several times whilst they were in occupation, up until the 18th century, when the family died out. The final re-build was in 1802 under the new owner Captain Ackland, that is the building as it is today. Lord Nelson and Lady Emma Hamilton stayed there whilst touring Pembrokeshire naval docks. There is a decorative plaque in the former dining room (now a games room) to commemorate this visit.





Despite the relatively modern building , the castle actually has numerous credentials as a serious, historical site. There was an Iron Age fort here, a Roman villa and also a Celtic hill fort. The Vikings settled at Amroth, followed by the Normans, who built a motte & bailey castle on the site of the Celtic fort. It then seemed to switch between Welsh & Norman control until Pembrokeshire finally became more peaceful in the 14th century, and the Elliots arrived. So with a solid history behind it, Amroth Castle is far from being an insignificant fake-castle.


The problem with it is that it is now used as the setting of a holiday park, which has seen hundreds of caravans positioned in the grounds, the upstairs of the castle turned into holiday apartments, and the downstairs rooms into a bar and games rooms.


While I understand the need for a castle to pay its way in these modern times, it is a shame that in treating this castle as a cash cow , the sense of history has been lost. The castle building is no longer the centre of attention it once would have been, but is secondary to the swimming pool, cafe and caravans. It seems a bit jaded by this diminishing of importance, and I was left feeling quite sad for this once-grand historic building.





Still, don't let me put you off, it is very much worth an ice-cream from the cafe to get the chance to view this castle, and if you fancy a holiday, it is a good base to visit some of Pembrokeshire's many other castles! If you find that the situation with non-resident access changes, then parts of the castle can still be seen from the road, or from Amroth's expansive beach, if that is more your thing. You could always make your own version in the sand!





More info: Amroth Castle

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