The magnificent Harlech Castle is situated in the heart of Snowdonia National Park. This medieval fortification is spectacularly positioned with its battlements rising from a near-vertical cliff face overlooking the Irish Sea.
The castle was designed and built by James of St George under the instruction of King Edward I during his invasion of Wales. Building began in 1283 and was completed in 1289. It was impregnable from almost every angle, comprising two rings of walls and towers, with an immensely strong east gatehouse. One of its many impressive features includes a fortified stairway that runs around 200 feet down to the foot of the cliff. At the time of construction these steps were accessible by boat, allowing for crucial supplies to be delivered – the sea has now receded several miles. The castle was captured by Owain Glyndwr in 1404 during the Welsh uprisings and re-captured by the English in 1409.
Considered as having ‘outstanding universal value’, the Castles and Town Walls of King Edward I in Gwynedd were included in the UNESCO World Heritage list in 1986. This includes the castles of Harlech, Beaumaris, Conwy and Caernarfon along with their associated fortified towns. All four represent some of the finest examples of late 13th and 14th century military architecture in Europe, with all having undergone only minimal restoration. A management plan is now in place for the protection of these sites and for ongoing education and research.
The Castle is open to the public year-round with a wide range of cultural events taking place - from concerts to displays by the Harlech Medieval Society. Parking is available on site.