The awe-inspiring fortress that is Pembroke Castle is located on a promontory between two estuaries of the Pembroke River in southwestern Wales. The castle's history dates back to William the Conqueror and the Norman Conquest of England in 1066.
The first fortification was established by Roger de Montgomery in 1093. It was so strong that it withstood all attacks by the Welsh and never fell.
Elements from the centuries of building and renovation can still be seen in Pembroke Castle today. The round stone keep is unusual for its domed roof. An inner curtain wall encloses the keep, but the original gate to the south-west is barely visible. The cliff face is guarded by a thinner wall, as well as a catapult platform and an observation turret. The outer ward features buildings for servants and household needs on either side of the inner ward. The Great Hall,
built in the later 1200's, projects over a large cavern in the cliff below. The cavern may have been used as a boathouse.
A series of round towers and a thick curtain wall surround the outer ward, but the most impressive fortification is the Great Gatehouse, with two towers and a semicircular barbican. The tower to the west, Bygate, features a prison in the basement. Spiral stairs within the walls of each tower lead to the upper floors.
Pembroke Castle holds a special place in English history as the birthplace of Henry Tudor, who became Henry VII. The castle is currently held by a private trust, and is open year-round with tours available by prior arrangement. Special events such as falconry displays and Shakespearean plays are often presented. For further information, including opening times and admission fees, visit pembroke-castle.co.uk.