Manorbier Castle and Beach
With a glorious clifftop castle overlooking a picturesque sandy beach, the charming costal village of Manorbier could easily have been plucked out of a fairytale.
Nestled on the south west coast, its mixture of stunning natural landscape and rich history, make it a popular destination for beach goers, walkers, and explorers alike.
If you visit Manorbier, you won’t be able to ignore the glorious Norman castle that sits imposingly on the clifftop above the village and beach, and why would you want to! Built in the 11th century, the commanding fortress has witnessed many exciting moments and battles during its 900-year history and, thankfully, has emerged relatively unscathed.Things have quietened down in recent years – making it a perfect time for aspiring knights and wizards to explore and uncover its secrets.
The castle has been well preserved and maintained and passing through the entrance really is like slipping into another time. Once inside you can venture up and down stone staircases, duck in and out of rooms and even visit its fairytale turrets. Remember when walking the battlements to look out for any enemies approaching by sea, just as they have for hundreds of years.
You might recognise the castle even before your visit. It was made famous in the 1990s thanks to the BBC’s adaptation of the classic C.S. Lewis novel, The Lion The Witch and The Wardrobe and was used as the filming location for the castle, Cair Paravel.
Don’t miss the Smugglers Well - a secret passage to the beach for smugglers. While you (sadly) can’t access the well, it’s still fascinating to imagine all the dastardly goings-on and who may have used it.
For any keen history buffs, Gearld of Wales was born at the castle in 1146. An archdeacon and renowned historian and scholar, his work is still respected nearly 1000 years on and his collection of works is one of the most important sources for life and events in 12th century Wales, and beyond.
How To Visit:
The castle is usually open daily, though can be shut at times for private functions, so it is best to check before arriving to avoid disappointment. For entrance fees please check the official website.
Manorbier Beach is a sandy, south-westerly facing beach that’s popular with surfers and beach goers. The wide, sheltered bay is flanked on either side by low sandstone cliffs with lots of nooks and crannies to explore. Crossed by a stream, the beach has a pebbled strip at the top, which gives way to stretches of golden sand.
The coast path is accessible from both sides and with an easy slope down to the beach, it makes a great base to explore along the coast in either direction, or as a stop off on a walk.Due to its location, there is a strong current that makes it popular with surfers, though swimmers should be aware when entering the water and anyone unexperienced might want to keep to the shallower area.
How To Get There:
Manorbier is on the south west coast of Pembrokeshire, 5-miles from popular Tenby. To visit both the beach and castle, you can use the Manorbier Beach Car Park that is clearly sign posted from the village.Once here the beach is a short, two-minute walk along flat terrain. For the castle you will need to exit the carpark, and turn right, towards the village up a steep incline.
There is a pavement on the right side of the road and to access the castle you will need to cross over, halfway up the hill to an signposted entrance way that will lead you to the castle.
The terrain between the carpark and the beach is relatively flat and should be easily accessible for buggies. If parked in the beach car park, there is a five-minute walk to the castle up a steep hill.
Disabled parking is available within the grounds of the castle but, is limited and prior arrangement with the castle is advisable, so make sure to contact them ahead of your visit.
There are public toilets in the Beach Car Park, while there is a shop, post office and pub a short walk away in the village. The castle has its own private café, but you can only use if you have paid entrance to the castle grounds.
There are some beautiful hidden beaches along this corner of the coast.
Skrinkle Haven and Church Doors are two coves that are worth a visit in the easterly direction, which you can access via the coast path and if you take the coast path from Manorbier beach west, you’ll come to the remote and unspoiled Swanlake – a favourite of locals.