With fifty-one sites across Pembrokeshire claiming to have housed a castle, visitors to the county are spoilt for choice with legendary fortresses.
For sheer breadth of history, visit Carew Castle. Archaeologists discovered evidence of a major Iron Age fort here, and think it may even have housed a Dark Age settlement. Roman pottery unearthed at Carew adds to its intriguing history. In around 1100, Gerald de Windsor received the manor as part of his dowry upon marriage to Nest - the most beautiful woman in Wales. His fortification was probably built of earth and wooden stakes; this was later replaced by a stone castle and, in the 16th century, Carew was transformed from a medieval fortress into an Elizabethan manor. Its current residents - a population of bats - have led to it being designated a Site of Special Scientific Interest.
At another scenically-sited stronghold, Cilgerran, Owain ap Cadwgan reportedly abducted Nest, who became known as 'the Welsh Helen of Troy'; Gerald killed Owain six years later. The artist JMW Turner was among Cilgerran Castle’s fans, painting it several times.
Garden enthusiasts will love enchanting Colby Woodland Garden, carpeted with beautiful bluebells in the spring and adorned with vibrant displays of rhododendrons, camellias and azaleas in summer. For a flower and fortress fix, head to Picton, a fortified manor and medieval castle with forty acres of woodland - featuring 300-year old oak trees - and walled gardens. For the ultimate floral spectacle visit the Bosherston Lily Ponds in June, when they’re covered in floating blooms.