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Published: July 23rd 2018
The Gatehouse Pembroke Castle
On Thursday morning we decided to spend he morning checking out Pembroke Castle. This imposing complex has been a fortress since the 12th Century and is now a major attraction of the town. We left our car parked behind the hotel and walked up the street and entered just after opening time , at 9-30am.The gatehouse is impressive and still intact and then in the clearing in the centre of the walls there is a huge map of Wales spread out in colourful style with the main Welsh castles marked on it. We went into the first tower, Here on the wall, projections and audio tell the story of different owners and stages in the life of the castle.These are well done and very informative. We climbed up to the various floors of the tower. Each round room contained a very large fireplace and several windows. We could walk out along the walls and view the courtyard from above which made the map very clear. We crossed into the gatehouse. Here they had several rooms set up with models to mimic life in the castle at different times. Quite effective. Back on the ground we waled to the Keep, the oldest
Courtyard of Pembroke Castle
part of the castle , next to which is the Norman Hall, built in the 12th century. All in all, we spent nearly 2 hours there, really enjoying the experience and learning some more British history.
From Pembroke Castle we drove back into Pembroke Dock. It was here that the original flying boats were situated as Milford Haven is very sheltered and provided a perfect landing for them. We had also seen this on Antiques Roadtrip but Fletcher knew about it before. We drove around to the Gun Tower and saw the area which was used for the “airport”. There was also a naval dockyard here. Happy with that, we left and drove on to Tenby.
Tenby is a popular seaside resort in South Wales. As we drove in we could see the crowds of people heading for the beaches. We found a park in a multi-storey car park and walked up the hill to the town. This was a walled city and the walls still stand tall and proud. As it was now lunch time we looked for a suitable spot. We decided on the Normandie, set in the town walls. This proved to be
Pembroke Castle from courtyard
a good choice as my creamy black pepper chicken goujons and Fletcher’s pan-fried mackerel were both delicious. We sat outside in the sunshine in a small courtyard and had a very pleasant meal.
From there we walked through the town which was car free from 11am-3pm. We found our way down to one of the beaches. This was all white sand with a large island close to the shore and was occupied with many family groups all enjoying the sunshine. Back up the hill we looked at the various shops and then came to the town wall, this time overlooking the other side of the shore where another inlet provided mooring for boats and in the distance we could see another sandy beach. The seagulls are huge here and not afraid of humans as we observed them very closely. A stroll along the harbour and then back around the walls and we left Tenby with a favourable impression.
Our destination today was Brecon, where I had booked a room at the Old Castle Farm B&B for the night. This was a couple of hours drive, but it was relatively easy and very pleasant countryside, so the time passed
Gatehouse Pembroke Castle
quickly. Driving into Brecon we were not sure of the exact location of our lodgings so as we drove out of the main town we found a park and walked back to a pub, The Boarshead, to inquire. We found that we had stopped about 600 metres short of our destination, so after a beer there it was a very short drive down the road to our accommodation. We were greeted cordially by the owner and shown where we had to go to park around the back. Then he helped us with our bags and we were comfortably accommodated on the first landing in a large airy room with a well-equipped and attractive bathroom, everything we could need. We did not want to venture far so walked about 100 metres down the road to the Drover’s Arms for dinner. Here we each had a steak and chips for tea which was OK. An interesting and pleasant day.
The next morning, after a great breakfast, we tackled the last leg of our UK journey. However, necessity intervened as we sought out a laundry to ensure we had sufficient clean clothes for our Russian sojourn. This was found and as it
Scene in the Gatehouse
was a service place we spent an hour or so looking at the shops in Brecon and visiting the canal boat basin. We then went up to the Cathedral which is on a hillside overlooking the town. We then collected our freshly washed clothes and with practical matters out of the way we could confidently set out.
Our first destination was the quaint town of Hay-on -Wye. This is famous as the town of books, my idea of heaven. Here there are many bookshops as well as antique shops and other curios. Another pleasant hour was spent trolling the bookshops and then having a great lunch at The Kilverton, a local pub, whose specialty was pies. Fletcher had a Steak and Ale and I enjoyed my Chicken and Leek. We did buy one book. I found a history of the last days of the Romanovs, called Ekaterinburg, and seeing we are heading there soon, decided a brush up on the events of this time would be good.
The rest of the day was spent driving back to London. We shared the driving as it was a long way. The first part was on some backroads, through pretty scenery
Another scene from the castle
and tree-lined lanes but then we got onto the M4 and it was freeway and traffic the rest of the way. We stopped for an icecream and loo visit at one of the service areas for a short time and arrived in Slough about 5pm.Again we had an address for our night’s resting place but unsure of where to find it. After a short detour around the main centre we found our way onto the road leading to London, and logically surmised this must be named London Road. We finally spotted the Skyways Hotel and arrived safe and sound. This was an old hotel, which had some faded elegance, but the room was large and comfortable and the bathroom OK. This was run by an Indian family and promised Indian food, however, after a drink at the bar we found that their “burners” were not working. They recommended their other restaurant, the Panjab, not far down the road and as the bar was becoming very noisy and filling up with young men we decided to try there. It was not far and as a good sign the place was packed. We managed to get a table and proceeded to have
a fantastic meal. The duck samosas were delicious as was the fish amiristar, nearly as tasty as the Cinnamon Club’s version. For main course we had a prawn curry with great Naan bread and I am glad we only ordered one main course as we were well sated after that feast. The restaurant continued to be busy the whole night, obviously testimony to the quality of the place. Then it was back to our room and repacking ready for our flight in the morning.
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