Castle of the Month Harlech
None of Edward I’s mighty coastal fortresses has a more spectacular setting than Harlech. The castle crowns a sheer rocky crag overlooking the dunes far below, waiting in vain for the tide to turn and the distant sea to lap at its feet once again. It is the most spectacular setting of any of Edward I’s castles in North Wales and now a designated World Heritage Site.
Harlech was completed from ground to battlements in just seven years. Its classic ‘walls within walls’ design makes the most of daunting natural defences. Even when completely cut off by the rebellion of Madog ap Llewelyn the castle held out – thanks to the ‘Way from the Sea’. This path of 108 steps rising steeply up the rock face allowed the besieged defenders to be fed and watered by ship.
Harlech is easier to conquer today. An incredible ‘floating’ footbridge allows you to enter this great castle for the first time in 600 years.
What to do and see
Harlech has a beautiful beach and is home to Morfa Harlech Nature reserve, a haven for rare plants and birds. With four miles of golden sandy beach this is a fabulous beach for walking or picnicking. Llanfair Slate Caverns, Farm Park and Nature trail are just two miles from Harlech Castle. A self-guided tour of the caverns will take you deep through the depths of the mountain.