Pembroke is an ancient town in the county of Pembrokeshire, in southwest Wales. Known as Penfro in Welsh, it is the traditional county town, although the nearby Haverfordwest is the administrative centre in practice. 3 miles north lies the entirely separate port town of Pembroke Dock.

Pembroke’s earliest recorded event is the arrival of the Normans in 1093, over 900 years ago, when Roger de Montgomery led the French forces to the town and built a wooden fortress there. Walls and other fortifications were later added (and are still visible today), including the impressive castle in the 12th and 13th centuries. The town’s streets are still arranged along the same lines as their medieval plan and although much of it was rebuilt in the 18th and 19th centuries, Pembroke is in many ways a picturesque and unspoiled town.


Chief amongst Pembroke’s attractions is the castle, one of the largest and oldest in Wales. It was built on the site of the earlier wooden fortress between 1189 and 1245, although more recent work has been done on it in various styles and types of stone due to a programme of continual expansion and fortification. Pembroke castle is one of few privately-owned castles in the UK. It was home to the earls of Pembroke and Henry VII was born there in 1457.

Opposite the castle on Westgate Hill (named after the gate in the old town wall), many houses from the Norman period can still be seen, along with part of the original wall. The town’s two churches date to the same period. In fact, Pembrokeshire was an important location for medieval Christianity and there are a number of old churches nearby, many of them from the same era. Just south of Pembroke (follow B4319) is the 13th century Church of St Petrox, dedicated to the 6th century saint who travelled to Cornwall, Ireland and Wales. The nearby town of Tenby (via A478) – now a popular seaside resort – provides access by boat to Caldey Island. A community of 20 or so Benedictine monks still lives in the monastic complex there. Amongst its buildings is the 13th century Church of St Illtud, which has a pebbled floor and a rare Ogham stone.Back in Pembroke town, there are numerous small attractions such as the Town Hall Gallery, the Golden Plover Studio Art Gallery and the Museum of the Home. The town trail is popular amongst walkers. There is a swimming pool at nearby Golden Hill and Pembroke Dock offers a golf club.

In the autumn, the 10-day Pembroke Festival celebrates the town’s history with music, art exhibitions, dance workshops, local food, flower and fashion shows, writers workshops and performance poetry.


Pembroke’s commercial centre runs along Main Street, a long road which starts at the castle and stretches down to the east end of the town. As it is a relatively small town, there is little demand for any larger shops, although there is a supermarket in the centre and Pembroke Dock has bigger department stores with a greater choice of products.

There is a daily indoor market as well as many smaller local shops including a newsagents, book shops, a music store, post office, craft and gift shops

Nightlife and Eating Out

Pembroke offers various places to eat. There is a Chinese restaurant and a kebab house on Main Street, as well as fish and chip shops. Most of the towns bars and pubs are also on Main Street.

Paddles Nightclub ("the best night out south of the Cleddau River") is situated here too. Paddles offers theme nights on Thursdays, Dance music on Fridays and chart tunes on Saturdays. There are four bars and a kitchen that serves food all night. Doors open at 9pm, last admission 12am.

Tourist Information

Pembroke Visitor Centre,Commons Rd, Pembroke. SA71 4EA

Tel: +44 (0) 1646 622388Fax: +44 (0) 1646 621396Email:

Pembroke is approximately 100 miles west of Cardiff airport, the international airport for Wales. From the airport, follow the M4 to Swansea, then A48 to Carmarthen and A40/A477 to Pembroke.

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