Having walked the coast path in both directions from Manorbier, we decided it was worth taking some time to walk around the village, tour the Norman Castle and then relax at the fine beach.
Parking is available at Manorbier’s beach car park and from here you can walk a sandy track alongside a stream which flows to the shore. The beach can get busy in the holiday season but pick your moment on an early morning and it is an idyllic peaceful scene.
A perfect time to have a wander across the full length of the pebble strewn beach down to the waves gently lapping at the shore, for a dose of vitamin sea!
Manorbier village is uphill from the beach, the roadway passing below the dominating feature of Manorbier Castle, an imposing structure set high on a prominent ridge overlooking the bay.
Manorbier has many fine old stone built character cottages in the couple of laneways which branch away from the castle. It’s worth a bit of exploring and there’s a quaint little cafe and gift shop the Beach Break Tearooms, which is a nice place for meals & snacks or even if you just want a tea or coffee, in relaxed comfortable surroundings. Just up the road is a traditional village pub, The Castle Inn which offers bar meals and local ales, a welcome place if you have just completed a long coast walk and want some stronger refreshments.
While in the village it’s also worth visiting the castle when open during the holiday season. There is a charge for admission, check out the link visit Manorbier Castle .
Within the Castle is a small tearoom and with some tables set out on the lawn of the lovely grounds it’s a super setting for an al fresco style break on a fine day.
The castle dates from Norman times with additions through the ages. It’s 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 Norman built St. James Church across the valley.
The Castle was the birthplace and home 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 views 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, it’s a return downhill to the beach. It’s a very popular spot 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 with a fine view across the bay.
It’s entertaining as well to observe kids and watersporters enthusiastically take their various kayaks, surfboards, body boards and small boats down to the waters of the safe bay.
So though we have completed walking the coast path both sides of Manorbier, there’s no doubt that we will return here in future. Old Gerald Cambrinus may have been right with his words about this pleasant little spot.