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Harlech Castle

Harlech is a town in north Wales, the location of a magnificently-situated medieval castle (part of a World Heritage site) and the steepest street in the world, Ffordd Pen Llech.


Harlech is dominated by its castle, which has been listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Harlech Castle was built between 1283 and 1289 by Master James of St George for the English King Edward I, the conqueror of Wales. Designed on a concentric plan with a small but powerful inner ward dominated by an impressive twin-towered gatehouse and four round corner towers. It has many similarities with the Krak des Chevaliers, Crusader Castle in Syria, over which Harlech has an important advantage: its own water supply.

Harlech was seized by Owain Glyn Dŵr during a rebellion/secessionist war in 1404 and held successfully by him for four years.

The old town centre, where most shops and restaurants are, sits upon the hillside around the castle, with more recent development being on the plain beneath the castle. The only two roads linking the two parts directly are very steep and narrow, and one is one-way (down) only.

Get in[edit]

By car[edit]

Harlech is on the A496 and B4573. The A496 is narrow and twisty in places, particularly north of Harlech towards Maentwrog.

By bus[edit]

Bus routes 38 and 39[dead link], to Dolgellau - Barmouth - Porthmadog.

By Train[edit]

Harlech station is on the main Machynlleth to Pwllheli Cambrian Coast line.


  • 1 Harlech Castle, Castle Square, +44 1766 780552, fax: +44 1766 780552. open 1 April - 31 May 9.30am - 5pm, 1 June - 30 September 9.30am - 6pm, 1 October - 31 October 9.30am - 5pm, 1 November - 31 March 9.30am (11am Sundays) - 4pm. One of four world heritage listed castles in Wales. Be aware that road signs direct drivers to the car park at the foot of the rock upon which the castle stands, from which it is a very steep climb. There is however a pay car park next to the entrance to the castle in the town, though this is small and will be busy at peak times. On street parking in the town is free but roads are narrow and spaces limited. admission adult £3.00, concession £2.50, family £8.50. Harlech Castle (Q540964) on Wikidata Harlech Castle on Wikipedia
  • 2 RSPB Glaslyn Osprey Project. RSPB Glaslyn Osprey Project (Q7277737) on Wikidata Glaslyn Osprey Project on Wikipedia
  • 3 Ffestiniog Railway. Ffestiniog Railway (Q1410337) on Wikidata Ffestiniog Railway on Wikipedia
  • 4 [dead link] Y Lasynys Fawr, +44 1766 781395, . Home of the 18th century author, Ellis Wynne. £3.00 adults; £1 per child.
  • 5 Ffordd Pen Llech. The steepest street in the world as of 2019, according to the Guinness World Records. The street has a gradient of 1:2.67, which means the street gains (or loses) one metre of elevation for each 2.67 metres of distance. The street lost the record in April 2020 after the record's measurement criteria were revised.
  • 6 Old Llanfair Slate Caverns, Cae Gethin Farm, Harlech LL46 2SA. Daily May-Sept 10:00-17:00, Oct 11:00-16:00. Slate is mostly surface-quarried, but from 1887 it was mined underground to create these caverns. Adult £7, child or conc £6.


  • Royal St David's Golf Club. is one of Wales's premier golf links
  • 1 Harlech Beach, Harlech, Snowdonia National Park LL46 2UG. Miles of sandy beach; great for nudists. Half of beach is dog-free. free!.
  • Hillwalking. Harlech is one of the main centres for walking in the Rhinog range of mountains, which are sometimes referred to as the Harlech Dome. These run north/south, following the coast from Harlech to Barmouth, and separating the fertile coastal plain of Ardudwy from the rest of North Wales.



  • Castle Cottage.
  • Harlech Tandoori, Castle Court, High Street, Harlech, Gwynedd, LL46 2YE (On a side street off the crossroads by the castle.), +44 1766 781306. Indian cuisine. True to its name, many of the mains are cooked in the tandoor oven and marinated with yogurt.
  • Golden Inn Restaurant, High St Harlech Gwynedd LL46 2YB (High Street), +44 1766 780908. Beware that service can be very slow here
  • Plas Restaurant, High Street, Harlech LL46 2YA · Harlech (High Street), +44 1766 780204.
  • Chip Shop on road up to castle from lower town (closed Saturday nights!)
  • 1 castle cottage, +44 1766 780479. A restaurant well situated near the Castle


  • Cemlyn Tea Shop, High Street (next to the Post Office), +44 1766 780425. 10.30am to 5pm. Award winning Tea Shop serving over 30 loose-leaf teas (no tea bags) also Rain Forest Alliance Coffees and Segafredo Extra Strong. Open March to October, closed Mondays and Tuesdays.
  • Hufenfa'r Castell, Castle Square (Between High Street & The Castle), +44 7810164547. Probably the best ice cream made in Harlech




Go next[edit]

This city travel guide to Harlech is a usable article. It has information on how to get there and on restaurants and hotels. An adventurous person could use this article, but please feel free to improve it by editing the page.