Harlech’s battlements spring out of a near-vertical cliff-face.
'Men of Harlech.' The nation’s unofficial anthem, loved by rugby fans and regimental bands alike, is said to describe the longest siege in British history (1461-1468) which took place here during the War of the Roses. Edward’s tried and tested ‘walls within walls’ model was put together in super-fast time between 1283 and 1295 by an army of nearly a thousand skilled craftsmen and labourers.
Edward liked to use only the best masons from Savoy and England’s finest carpenters and blacksmiths. At the time this was one of the cheapest of Edward’s castles. A snip at a mere £8,190.
The structure, overseen by Master of the King’s Works, James of St George, boasts two rings of walls and towers, with an immensely strong east gatehouse. It was impregnable from almost every angle. Its secret weapon was a 200-foot (61m) long stairway which still leads from the castle to the cliff base.
Access via the stairway to the sea and crucial supplies kept the castle’s besieged inhabitants fed and watered. When it was first built, a channel would have connected the castle and the sea. You could have sailed a boat up to the moat. Seven hundred years later, the sea has receded and you could say the castle appears almost stranded, waiting for the tide to turn once more.
This site is included in one of our guidebooks. Visit our online shop to find out more.
Current times and prices
1 July - 31 August 2014
Daily 9.30am - 6.00pm
Last admission 30 minutes before closing
Free Harlech Castle shuttle bus
From 19 July to 1 September 2014, a free shuttle bus service will run between the castle and the beach car park in lower Harlech.
To find the beach car park, follow the yellow directional signage for ‘Park and Ride’. Pay and display parking is also available in the town centre.
View all opening times and prices
Facilities and information
View all visitor information
- Under 16s must be accompanied by an adult
- Prices valid until 31 March 2015
- Assistance dogs only
- No smoking
- The Castle car park is currently closed whilst we create a new visitor centre. Alternative parking is available nearby - please follow the yellow signs. The Castle itself will stay open all year round.
Postcode LL46 2YH
Road A496 from Barmouth, A487/A496 from Porthmadog.
Rail 200m/220yards, Shrewsbury-Machynlleth/Pwllheli route.
Bus 150m/170yards, route No 38, Barmouth-Harlech/Blaenau Ffestiniog.
Bike NCN Route No.8 On route.
For further information, please contact: Traveline Cymru on 0871 200 2233 or National Rail Enquiries on 08457 48 49 50.