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Glyndwr's Castles Rail Tour - Day 1

Delve into Welsh history by following in the footsteps of the last true "Prince of Wales", Owain Glyndwr. Journey through Mid-Wales up the scenic Cardigan Bay coastline, exploring some of the most awe-inspiring castles this country has to offer.

Please Note! It is best to start this itinerary on either a Monday or a Tuesday. National Rail train times are for Mondays to Fridays based on timetables to 14 December 2019. Bus times are for Mondays to Fridays (excluding Bank Holidays) and are as at May 2019.

Day 2 includes a trip on the Ffestiniog Railway; the train in the itinerary is the 11.25 (Peak season at 11.55) from Porthmadog which for 2019 runs Tuesdays to Thursdays from 7 April to 31 October. A ride on the spectacular Welsh Highland Railway is in the itinerary for Day 3. For 2019, the 13.00 train from Caernarfon operates on Wednesdays and Thursdays on 29 & 30 May and from 26 June - 12 September; we have included an alternative itinerary for other dates. Arrival back in Aberystwyth will be at 18.27.


Begin with a visit to Aberystwyth castle which is located on the seafront of the town and promises commanding views of the town and Cardigan Bay. This castle was one of many which were overthrown by Owain Glyndwr during his rebellion, and marks the beginning of your journey.

A short walk from the castle to Aberystwyth railway station and you can board the 11.30 train heading to Borth and along the Dyfi estuary to arrive at Machynlleth at 12.01.
Aberystwyth Castle

Aberystwyth Castle

The first true castle built at Aberystwyth was erected about a mile south of the current site by Gilbert de Clare circa 1110, and was variously called Castell Tan-y-castell, Aberrheidol Castle and Old Aberystwyth, among others.

Aberystwyth Railway Station

The railway station is the terminus of the Cambrian Line from Shrewsbury. Located less than 5 minutes from the town centre, there is a taxi rank and bus station adjacent.


A visit to Machynlleth is a must on this journey (at the end of the station road, turn left for the short walk into the town) which is the crossing point for the Owain Glyndwr national trail, his ancient seat of power. The historic Welsh government was established by Owain Glyndwr here in 1404, and is now a popular museum in the town.

After the visit a quick bite to eat can be had at one of many of Machynlleth's cafes and restaurants. If you visit on a Wednesday, you will be spoilt for choice at the weekly street market. One of the best in Mid Wales offering a great selection of local produce!


The attractive market town of Machynlleth lies in the heart of the UNESCO Dyfi Bioshere. You'll find shops, galleries, cosy cafés and a local market held on Wednesday. Local attractions include the Centre for Alternative Technology

The Wynnstay

Head Chef Gareth Johns follows the Slow Food Principles of “Good, Clean and Fair” and the menu represents a personal distillation of nearly 30 years experience based very firmly on fantastic Welsh produce.


Next head back to the train station in Machynlleth and head north up the Cambrian Coast on the 14.56 through Aberdyfi, Tywyn, Fairbourne, Barmouth and on to Harlech, arriving at 16.22.

Above you will be Harlech Castle - a World Heritage site - one of the finest examples of castles in Wales. This castle was built on a prominent outcrop and like Aberystwyth was overthrown during Owain Glyndwrs' uprising. The castle dominates the skyline around Harlech and presents spectacular views of the Cardigan Coast and beyond. For a full appreciation of the castle, a visit in the morning might be more worthwhile.

Machynlleth Railway Station

Machynlleth railway station is on the Cambrian Line from Shrewsbury to Aberystwyth and is the junction for the Cambrian Coast Line to Pwllheli.

Harlech Railway Station

Harlech railway station is on the Cambrian Coast Line from Machynlleth to Pwllheli.
Harlech Castle

Harlech Castle (Cadw)

Harlech 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.


Harlech has a small number of restaurants and cafes in the town which can suit your requirements.


Harlech has a number of places for you to stay the night.
Harlech Castle


This historic town located on the Cardigan Bay Coast, is best known for Harlech Castle, which today is recognised as a World Heritage site. Harlech also boasts fantastic beaches and one of Wales' finest golf courses.

Details of Aberystwyth CastleAberystwyth Castle

The first true castle built at Aberystwyth was erected about a mile south of the current site by Gilbert de Clare circa 1110, and was variously called Castell Tan-y-castell, Aberrheidol Castle and Old Aberystwyth, among others.

This timber castle (later reinforced with stone) changed hands repeatedly as the Normans warred with the native Welsh, who were firmly ensconced in this area of Mid Wales. The castle first fell to Owain Gwynedd in 1136. The castle's ownership switched at least three more times before being captured by Llywelyn the Great in 1221. Scholars believe that Llywelyn probably razed the castle and rebuilt another one in its place. It is not mentioned again until Edward I erected what is now known as Aberystwyth Castle a mile north of this site.

Aberystwyth Castle was built, along with Flint Castle, Rhuddlan Castle and Builth Wells castle, by King Edward I as part of his campaign against the Welsh. Aberystwyth Castle, started in 1277, was a particularly taxing job. It still was not completed by 1282 when the Welsh briefly captured and burned it. Construction was finally completed in 1289 at great expense to the crown. The castle was subjected to a lengthy siege during the revolt of Madog ap Llywelyn in 1294-5.

By 1307 the castle was thriving enough that people had made their homes next to its walls, and the town was decreed Llanbadarn Gaerog (Fortified Llanbadarn). But the town was commonly referred to by the castle's name, as is the case today.

The castle changed hands several times as the Welsh and English warred throughout Wales, including by Owain Glyndwr, who took possession of the castle in 1404. The English soon after recaptured the castle, but by 1408, peace having been struck, the castle began to fall into disrepair. Still, in 1637 Aberystwyth Castle was designated as a royal mint by Charles I. The mint struck silver coins. This association became the castle's downfall, as the mint's operator, who had been made wealthy by his job, raised a regiment of Royalist soldiers during the English Civil War. This made the castle a target of Oliver Cromwell, who consigned the castle to slighting in 1649.


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Tel: 01970 612125
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Aberystwyth Castle

Aberystwyth, Ceredigion, SY23 2AG

Map reference: SN 583818
     Lat: 52.41578  Long: -4.08490

Aberystwyth castle is located on the sea front close to the Old College. There is on street parking close to the castle with the nearest car park a 5 minute walk.
The town is in easy reach of the main A44 and A487 roads which pass through here.
Aberystwyth train station and bus station are a 5 minute walk from the castle.

Parking : with charge

Public Transport : Aberystwyth station

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