Exploring Cilgerran Castle, Pembrokeshire

by Jan

Cilgerran Castle is an impressive 13th century fortress overlooking the Teifi Gorge in West Wales.  It lies on the border between Pembrokeshire and Ceredigion and is ideal for a day out near Cardigan.

Cilgerran is a village on the south bank of the stunning River Teifi, with two fantastic attractions.  History lovers will enjoy exploring Cilgerran Castle and nature lovers will love walking at the Welsh Wildlife Centre.  They are only a few miles apart, so you can combine a visit to both as a great alternative to the beach.

Read on for everything you need to know about a visit to Cilgerran Castle.

A brief history of Cilgerran Castle

Cilgerran Castle, Pembrokeshire, Wales, UK

Cilgerran’s main attraction is without doubt the castle.  You’ll find it perched on a headland above the river Teifi in the old Welsh Kingdom of Deheubarth.

Gerald of Windsor built the original Norman castle in 1108 to defend his newly acquired lands.  At this time, it would have been an earth and timber construction.  Its prime position on the promontory also gave the castle control over the river below.

However, Cilgerran Castle was not as secure as intended and changed hands many times during the Middle Ages.  Eventually, in 1123, William Marshal the younger, Earl of Pembroke, built a more elaborate version on top of the original site.

The new Cilgerran Castle consisted of two enclosures, with an inner and outer ward.   This stronghold was able to resist invaders and the castle never again fell to the Welsh.  This is the castle that visitors can enjoy today.

A visit to Cilgerran Castle

Towers at Cilgerran Castle, Pembrokeshire, Wales, UK

Although Cilgerran Castle has suffered over the years, the remains still look impressive today.  The staircases to the towers and ramparts are currently closed, but you can still walk inside the giant round towers and admire from below.

Views from Cilgerran Castle, Pembrokeshire, Wales, UK

Although small, the grounds are beautiful, and you can see the footprint of the castle.  The foundations of the lime kiln remain, and children can run round the perimeter where the moat once ran.

The castle’s strategic position overlooking the Teifi Gorge provides visitors with stunning views over the valley.

Willow Sculptures at Cilgerran Castle, Pembrokeshire, Wales, UK

Behind Cilgerran Castle you’ll find three larger-than-life willow sculptures.  These portray the powerful princes and princess who lived here hundreds of years ago.  One is of Princess Nest, a prominent character in Welsh history and not just for her high-profile lovers like Prince Henry!

Practical information for your visit

Cilgerran Castle Towers, Pembrokeshire, Wales, UK

Cilgerran Castle is owned by the National Trust.  In winter (November to March), admission to the castle is free.   During the summer months, there is a small admission charge.  Click here for prices to Cilgerran Castle.

There is no car park on site, but it’s an easy walk from Cilgerran village to the castle.  A footpath leads from Castle Square Lane to the gatehouse.  We went early and had no problems finding a space.

It doesn’t take long to visit, but it’s an impressive castle and worth a visit.  If you want a full day out in Cilgerran, combine your visit to the castle with a visit to the nearby Welsh Wildlife Centre.  This is only a few miles away and provides great opportunities for family-friendly walking and nature watching.

Other great places to visit near Cilgerran Castle are Cardigan Castle, Mwnt Beach or Cenarth Falls.  Click here for a full guide to things to do near Cilgerran.

Practical information for your visit

Eating in Cilgerran

There are no facilities or refreshments at the castle. However, you’ll find three pubs in the village, or you could head to the stylish glass café at the Welsh Wildlife Centre.

Getting to Cilgerran

Cilgerran is on the northern border of Pembrokeshire in West Wales.  It is between St Dogmaels and Cenarth, just three miles south of Cardigan.

You can get there easily on the A487.  The postcode for Cilgerran Castle is SA43 2SF.

Have you been to Cilgerran Castle?  We’d love to hear your comments below.

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