Harlech Tourist Information

Harlech Castle

Harlech Castle

Harlech on the Snowdonia Coast is set in an excellent location just a short drive from Snowdon and within easy reach of the beaches along the Snowdonia Coast and Llyn Peninsula. The town is home to an excellent choice of attractions including the magnificent Harlech Castle which was built in the 13th Century and offers stunning views across the surrounding area as far as Portmeirion. Close to the town are the beautiful sand dunes of the Morfa Harlech National Nature Reserve which is rich is birdlife including lapwing, redshank, ringed plower and curlew. Harlech is the starting point for a great choice of walks including the Roman Steps or enjoy browsing around the antique shops, art galleries and gift shops in the town centre.

Enjoy a relaxing stay in a Harlech holiday cottage with plenty of larger properties available suitable for walking groups or extended family breaks. There is also a cosy range of period cottages perfect for a romantic break or browse our website for pet friendly cottages if you want to bring the family dog along on your walks. Look out for our special offers so you get the best possible price on your stay.

Harlech Castle

Harlech is, of course, mostly visited for its medieval castle. You won’t be disappointed. Harlech Castle’s location atop a rocky crag assures you of a stunning photo opportunity. Harlech Castle’s history has led to it being included into a World Heritage Site along with Conwy, Caernarfon and Beaumaris castles. These have been designated to preserve examples of the 13th century castles that made up the "ring of iron" that was built by James of St George for Edward I, King of England, as part of his campaign to conquer and rule the medieval principality of Gwynedd. It is one of the more intact castles in Wales.

Building commenced on Harlech Castle in 1283 and it took six years to build using masons, quarriers, labourers and other craftsmen. At one time in 1286, nearly 950 men were employed. The final result was a perfectly concentric castle, where one line of defence is enclosed by another. At that time the sea would have been lapping at the base of the rock on which the castle sits.

Most of the castle still stands today, but the outer wall is less intact so doesn’t quite give the true impression of how it would have looked in the 13th century. A siege at Harlech Castle during the War of the Roses inspired one of the most well known songs from Wales, "Men of Harlech". This castle also played a key role in the uprising of Owain Glyndwr who took this seat of English power in 1404 and subsequently held a parliament there.

Harlech Castle is a great family attraction. Not only can you explore the whole of the castle including tiny, windy staircases up to the top walls, you can get some fantastic views out over the sand dunes of Morfa Harlech and back across to the Llyn Peninsular, Moel-y-Gest and the town of Porthmadog. On a clear day you can see the popular fantastical village of Portmeirion. Harlech Castle is open throughout most of the year except Christmas and New Year.

Harlech Links

Michelle is an experienced travel writer with iknow and has travelled extensively across the UK, Spain, Portugal and the USA. When she’s not busy writing for iknow she enjoys spending time touring museums and art galleries and seeking out the best independent shops in Manchester and Leeds.