Harlech | Snowdonia | Events | Accommodation | Things to Do
Harlech is a very attractive seaside town that boasts award winning beaches, many interesting shops and a vibrant arts and crafts scene but it is chiefly known for its castle. Harlech Castle is the towering medieval castle, which rises from the cliff face and affords visitors with breath taking views over the sea and Snowdonia. The castle gave name to the unofficial national anthem Men of Harlech and even now lends the town its identity.
Harlech Castle was built in 1283 by Edward I and is widely recognised as one the very best examples of medieval defense architecture, a status acknowledged by its designation as a Unesco World Heritage site. The castle was originally built as part of the ‘iron ring’ of castles intended to restrict the Welsh people to their Snowdownian stronghold but ironically it was later taken by Owain Glyndwr (the last welshman to claim the title of 'Prince of Wales') and played host to his coronation and subsequent parliament.
The castle changed hands several times in the coming centuries, most notably during the war of the roses, about which Men of Harlech is written, and later the civil war. It is due to the quality of the original architecture, which is tremendously well preserved, that the castle was able to play such a pivotal role in British history. The castle and the town also feature prominently in the Mabinogi (a collection of Welsh myth and folklore) where it is remembered for its association with the legend of Princess Branwen.
The Mabinogi paints Harlech as a place of ‘otherwordly feasting’ at which grief and sorrow are always absent and today the town strives to live up to its mythic hospitality with an impressive choice of restaurants and regular music and arts festivals. Another major attraction is the Royal St. David’s Golf Club which is one of the finest 18 hole courses in Britain. Harlech also provided Mari Strachan with the setting for her 2009 novel The Earth Hums in B Flat, whilst the Men of Harlech has gained international fame due to its starring role in the 1964 film Zulu and by its popularity with Welsh rugby fans.
Harlech & Surrounding Area Highlights
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- harlech castle Harlech Castle has witnessed some of the most momentous periods of British History
- Royal st davids Internationally renowned, the Royal St David's is one of Wales' premier golf courses
- morfa harlech Morfa Harlech is one of Britain's few accreting sand dune systems
- mawddach estuary The Mawddach river though the most picturesque valleys in the Snowdonia