After completing walking sections of the coast path in both directions from Manorbier, we decided to spend some time at the village, tour the Norman Castle and then relax at the fine beach.
We arrived at Manorbier’s beach car park and walked the sandy track alongside the stream which flows down to the beach. The beach can get busy in the holiday season with a mix of holidaymakers and surfers, but on a fine day, early morning it was almost deserted.
A perfect time to have a wander across the full length of the pebble strewn beach down to the sands at waters edge.
Manorbier village is uphill from the beach. It’s a small village with many old stone cottages in the streets near the castle. There’s a quaint little cafe and gift shop, the Beach Break Tearooms a nice place for snacks or if you just want a tea or coffee it offers seating in comfortable surroundings. We have visited the Beach Break a few times and always had a good experience. Up the road is an old style traditional village pub, The Castle Inn, which does bar meals and all the usual pub functions.
We booked a tour of Manorbier Castle, an imposing structure which is set in a prominent position on a ridge overlooking the bay.
There’s a small tearoom in the well kept grounds and with some tables set out on the lawn, it was a super setting for enjoying some refreshments, al fresco style on a fine sunny morning.
The castle is well preserved and has some accessible, interesting areas. The main tower has a winding narrow stone staircase and the climb to the turret is well worth it for fantastic views of the bay and of the Church across the valley. The Castle was the birthplace of Geraldus Cambrinus, ‘Gerald of Wales’ one of Wales most famous chroniclers of the ages. He was born here in the 12th Century and he described his birthplace as “the most pleasantest spot in all Wales”. On a glorious sunny day like the day of our visit, although Gerald was probably just a tad biased, it’s not difficult to see why he held that opinion many centuries ago with the splendid view over the Castle grounds and over the bay.
In another part of the castle is a grand hall which is now used as an events space. It still retains a lot of character as a throwback to a time of enchanted castles and the times of a medieval court.
An embrasure ledge and arrow slit in this room now makes a cool window feature
Having completed a tour around the castle and grounds, we returned to the beach later and found it to be a lot busier with families and groups making the most of the fine weather. At the back of the beach are a few areas of sand dunes bounded by tall grass which are great little places for setting up chairs and relaxing in peace and quiet, which is exactly what we do for the next couple of hours.
It’s entertaining though as we observed kids and watersporters enthusiastically take various kayaks, surfboards, body boards and even some small boats down to the water. Nothing as energetic as that for us though. We get settled, grab a book and set up for a relaxing afternoon.
Even though we have now completed this section of the coast path, there’s no doubt that we will return to Manorbier in future. Old Gerald Cambrinus may just have been right about this pleasant little spot.