Castles Of England
Articles View Hits

Pembroke Castle

Visited August 2010

Location Centre of Pembroke
Entrance Fee Yes - check website
Railway Station      Pembroke station approx 1/2 mile
Parking Yes - pay and display
Facilities Cafe, Toilets, Shop, Brass Rubbing Centre







We arrived at Pembroke at 10.00am and found a large car park with virtually no cars in it, which was just a short walk from the castle. The doors had only just opened and we were the first people in so it was nice and quiet- for about twenty minutes, then the crowds started to arrive. By the time we left there was a huge queue for admittance to the castle, and the large, empty car park was now so busy that another motorist nearly crashed into us, such was her haste to drive into the space we were vacating.


As you can probably tell by now, Pembroke in August is a busy castle. Make no mistake it is also a BIG castle. We always try view a castle in some sort of order, so that we progress from one area to another in a logical fashion so that we don't miss anything. With Pembroke that is difficult, as it is so vast, you find yourself wandering down a passage  and then coming back out a fair way away from where you started, meaning you then have to go back and visit all the parts you missed in between. When this happens three or four times you are left with the feeling that there may be a whole part of the castle that you somehow missed and are completely unaware of.


Still, in terms of sheer might, this castle can't be beaten. It has ancient origins- the site is thought to have been occupied for about 12,000 years. Beneath the castle is a cave named 'The Wogan' which was used as shelter during the Ice Age. The cave can still be accessed, but be warned, there are a fair number of steps leading down to it. There is also evidence of Iron Age and Roman occupation on this site, but the actual castle was started by a Norman baron, Roger de Montgomery, albeit  in wood. As with most Norman castles, there were then centuries of re-building and general tweaking until we fast forward to 1457, and the Castle's most famous son, Henry VII was born in one of the tower rooms. There is a wax work display depicting the baby Henry being placed into his mother's arms. Other eras in the castle's history are also on display, check out the Civil War waxworks, there are poignant scenes of the Mayor of Pembroke John Poyer as he received the death sentence for changing his allegiance to the King, and a battle scene with sound affects (scary, according to one of the children). Not as scary though as the tale of John Whithorne, the figure in the dungeon , his story is seriously tragic.







Like so many Castles, Pembroke was slighted after the Civil War. It was not until 1928 that the castle was restored, under the supervision of Ivor Philips, of nearby Picton Castle, who finished the work just in time for troops to be stationed there in WW2. In the gatehouse there is a film of the castle's history on a continuous loop so you should catch some part of it! After all the looking around there is a large cafe, my main negative was the state of the toilets- we were the first people in and they were not clean!!! Hopefully this was just a one-off, I am prepared to give the benefit of the doubt.


On your way out there is a brass rubbing centre, this was popular with all of our family, adults and children alike, and is a handy port of call if the weather is particularly inclement!!! Be warned, although the day we went it was not too busy , the day before our visit had seen long queues to brass rub (but it had been pouring with rain!).






More info:  Pembroke Castle

Featured Pics
Build A Castle