We followed to signs for the Castle which take you into the newer part of Harlech which is situated under the castle on sea level. you can then park there or drive up towards the Castle but the climb is very steep. There is a small carpark just outside the castle which will probably get very busy at weekends at school holidays. There is a small shop where you pay for entry that also sells guide books and some gifts. there is also a nice gift shop just outside the carpark entrance.
Harlech Castle sits on a magnificent site high on a rock overlooking the sea with the enormous gatehouse on it's town side and is guarded by four huge circular cormer towers towers linked by a high curtain wall.
It was built for King Edward I between 1283 and 1289 by Master James of St. George.
The castle came under siege in 1294 when Madoc ap Llywelyn unsuccessfully atacked, It was next attacked by Owain Glyndwr in 1401 and became an English outpost in hostile country for 4 years untill finally being worn out by disease and desertion the castle's garrison being then bribed to surrender by Glyndwr. The Welsh leader used the castle as his home for 4 years until after a short siege in was captured by an army of a thousand men equipped with siege engines that fired huge balls up to 22" 56cm in dianeter.
During the War of the Roses Harlech held out for the Lancastrians until the 14th August 1468 when Dafydd ap Ieuan and his 'Men Of Harlech' were confronted by the Earl of Pembroke, his brother Sir Richard Herbert and their 'Saxons' and the castle fell.
During the Civil War it was held for the King untill surrendering to Colonel Mytton in 1647, unlike Rhuddlan and Pembroke it was never slighted and Cromwell used it as a jail for the Scottish captured at Dunbar.
Admission Charge:- Adults £3.80, Reduced rate £3.40.
Family Ticket:- £11.00 - admits 2 adults and up to 3 children under 16 years.
1st April to 30th June - 09.30 - 17.00 daily
1st July - 31st August - 09.30 - 18.00 daily
1st September - 31st October - 09.30 - 17.00 daily
1st November to 29th February 10.00 - 16.00 Monday to Saturday - 11.00 - 16.00 Sunday
1st March - 31st March - 09.30 - 17.00 daily
Closed 24th, 25th, 26th December, 1st January
Harlech's main attraction is its stunning 13th century castle. It is situated high on a rocky outcrop and when first built would have been right next to the sea, but the centuries have seen the land be reclaimed and the dunes take over. Edward I built the castle as part of his defence network against possible insurrection by the Welsh, and the masons and craftsmen took six years to construct it.
The castle is mainted by Cadw Wales and includes an exhibition about the events that led to the building of the castle. It is well worth spending a couple of hours here to explore the turrets and ramparts, which give faboulous views across to Snowdonia.
Entrance in 2006 was £3.50 per adult, the car park next to the castle is extra.
Harlech Castle has a combination of magnificent medieval architecture and breathtaking location, is an unmissable castle, a fact reinforced by its status as a World Heritage Inscribed site.
It was built by Edward I between 1283 and 1290 but hold the court of Owain Glyndwr in 1404 and was the last Castle to fall to the Parliamentarians in the Civil War.
It is a fantastic Castle to explore, you can climb the towers and walk around the perimeter of the walls to be rewarded with some magnificent views of the coast and Mountains.
01.04.09 - 31.10.09: Daily 9.00 - 17.00
01.11.09 - 31.03.10: Monday - Saturday 9.30 - 16.00, Sunday 11.00 - 16.00
Admission charges (2009)
Adult - £3.60, Concession - £3.20, Family - £10.40
The views from the Castle walls are absolutely amazing, you can see for miles around. The extensive dune system of morfa Harlech lies in front of you, the Irish sea is sparkling away in the distance whilst the Mountain ranges of the Snowdonia National park form the perfect backdrop. I could have stayed up there for hours just taking in the view but unfortunately there was a keen wind blowing, it was all I could do to keep my camera steady for some VT pics!!
During the month of August West Coast Railways run a steam train from Porthmadog/Pwllheli to Machynlleth. 'The Cambrian' calls at a number of stations along the way including Harlech. I was lucky enough to see the steam train leaving Harlech station while I was up on top of the Castle walls - I had a great view. The noise of the steam engine was deafening & everyone stopped what they were doing to photograph and wave at the train as it sailed by.
Dates of Operation - Monday 27th July - Friday 28th August Monday to Friday only
Some seats are available to
'Pay On The Day' - Subject to availability
This part of Wales has some beautiful beaches and Harlech is no exception. The wide sandy beach is surrounded by sand dunes, and there are lots of shells to collect and rock pools to explore. Definitely a good spot to spend the afternoon after a visit to the castle!
Portmerion Hotel and Castell Deudraeth
Royal St Davids Golf Course
Llandnwg Beach and Maes
Llandnwg church on the dunes, services in summer by candlelight