Looming romantically over the River Carew, its gaping windows reflected in the glassy water, this craggy castle is an impressive sight. The rambling limestone ruins range from functional 12th-century fortifications to Elizabethan country house, and there are plenty of towers, wall walks and dank basements to explore. A summer program of events includes archery, falconry, battle re-enactments and open-air theatre. Also in summer, a combined ticket can be purchased, which allows admission to the castle's Tidal Mill.
The castle was built by Gerald de Windsor (Henry I's constable of Pembroke) and his wife, the wonderfully named Princess Nest (daughter of the Welsh king of Deheubarth), on the site of an ancient Celtic fort. Abandoned in 1690, it's now inhabited by a large number of bats, including the protected greater horseshoe variety.
The mill at the castle is the only intact mill of this kind in Wales. The incoming tide would be trapped in a pond, which was then released through sluice gates to turn the waterwheels. For 400 years until 1937, the mill ground corn for the castle community, although the present building only dates from the early 19th century.
Near the castle entrance is the 11th-century Carew Cross. Covered in intricate Celtic carvings and standing 4m tall, it's one of the grandest of its kind.