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Harlech Castle © Crown copyright (2013) Visit Wales
Spectacularly sited Harlech Castle seems to grow naturally from the rock on which it is perched. Like an all-seeing sentinel, it gazes out across land and sea, keeping a watchful eye over Snowdonia and the nearby seas.
The English monarch Edward I built Harlech in the late 13th century to fulfill this very role. It was one of the most formidable of his 'iron ring' of fortresses designed to contain the Welsh in their mountain fastness.
Ironically, in 1404 it was taken by Welsh leader Owain Glyn Dwr who proceeded to hold a parliament here. A long siege here during the Wars of the Roses inspired the stirring song 'Men of Harlech'.
Although an imposing edifice, Harlech is at one with the surroundings a quality rare in the great Edwardian castles. There is a sense of harmony here, created by the way in which the castle builders took care to exploit the sites natural advantages.Left:-
The Gatehouse at Harlech Castle.
Looking seawards, Harlech's battlements spring out of a near-vertical cliff face, while any landward attackers would first have to deal with a massive twin-towered gatehouse. The sea, like Snowdonia, is one of the keys to Harlech's siting. Seaborne access was crucial in times of siege, and although the waters of Tremadog Bay have receded over the centuries, they may originally have lapped the cliffs beneath the castle.
The fortress's massive inner walls and towers still stand almost to their full height. The views from its lofty battlements are truly panoramic, extending from the dunes at its feet to the purple mass of Snowdonia in the distance.
Harlech, 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.
Opening Hours 2016 - 2017
Last admission half an hour before closing.
1st March 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 28th February 10.00 - 16.00 Monday to Saturday - 11.00 - 16.00 Sunday
Closed 24th, 25th, 26th December, 1st January.
Contact and Admission Information
Telephone:- +44 1766 780552
Admission Charge:- Adults £6.00, Reduced rate £4.20.
Family Ticket:- £16.20 - admits 2 adults and up to 3 children under 16 years.
Children under 16 must be accompanied by an adult. Children under 5 free. No dogs allowed.
Three or seven day explorer passes are available to give you free admission to the historic sites in the care of Cadw.
For a complete list of over 120 properties in the care of Cadw
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Cadw: Welsh Historic Monuments. Crown Copyright.
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