Cymer Abbey

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The serene ruins of Cymer Abbey stand in a lovely setting beside the River Mawddach. The abbey was founded by Cistercian monks in a typically remote setting. Even by the austere standards of the Cistercians, life must have been hard at Cymer - the abbey suffered badly during the troubled 13th century, the wars between England and Wales probably accounting for the failure to complete the original plan of the church.

Although not as extensive as other Cistercian houses in Wales, Cymer rewards visitors with a telling insight into the way of life of this enterprising order of monks. Particularly impressive are its great windows, arches and an unusual tower

Exploring the Serene Ruins of Cymer Abbey

Cymer Abbey is located in southern Snowdonia beside the River Mawddach, near Dolgellau. This historic site offers a journey back in time, allowing visitors to immerse themselves in the rich tapestry of Welsh history and architecture. 

Founded in the 12th century by Cistercian monks, Cymer Abbey holds centuries of history within its stone walls. Originally built as a daughter house to Abbey Cwmhir near Llandrindod Wells, Cymer Abbey flourished as a religious and agricultural center until its dissolution in the 16th century during the reign of Henry VIII.

Founding Cymer Abbey

According to Brut y Tywysogion (Chronicle of the Princes), Cymer Abbey was founded in 1198. It was a Cistercian Abbey and the only monastery established in Meirionnydd. The remote locations of Cistercian monasteries reflected the strict restrictions on monks pursuing their learning in the middle ages.

It is believed that Cymer Abbey was founded under the patronage of two brothers, Gruffudd and Maredudd ap Cynan, grandsons of Owain Gwynedd. The relationship between European monasteries and important ruling families was close.

Abbeys such as Cymer Abbey were expected to live self-sufficiently and were often thriving businesses. We know that Cymer Abbey used areas of Gwynedd and Powys for grazing cattle and would breed horses.

Following the conquest of Wales by Edward I, a large percentage of Llywelyn ap Gruffydd’s possessions were seized from the abbey, making it difficult to say what treasures were kept at Cymer Abbey. By the time it was disbanded in 1537, as part of Henry VIII’s dissolution of the monasteries, Cymer Abbey was regarded as a small and unimportant abbey.

In 1898, a ceremonial silver chalice was discovered hidden in Cwm Mynach. The chalice is believed to have belonged to the abbey and is now on display at the National Museum in Cardiff.


The abbey’s ruins stand as a testament to its former glory. Visitors can explore the remains of the church, cloister, chapter house, and other structures, and imagining life within these walls centuries ago.

Cymer Abbey is situated amidst breathtaking natural beauty to enjoy a picnic in the peaceful countryside, soaking in the serene atmosphere that surrounds the abbey. Cymer Abbey offers endless opportunities for photography enthusiasts.

History buffs will delight in exploring Cymer Abbey’s storied past. Interpretive panels onsite provide insights into the abbey’s history and the lives of the monks who once called it home, offering a deeper understanding of Wales’ medieval heritage.

While the ruins possess a unique beauty in any weather, sunny days offer the perfect opportunity to explore the site and its surroundings to the fullest. Cymer Abbey is open all year and entry is free.


Book Tickets

Guide Prices

Free entry



  • Children welcome


  • Free Parking

Property Facilities

  • Dogs Accepted

Site Features

  • Regional Tourist Board Member

Map & Directions

Road Directions

Cymer Abbey is easily accessible by car, with ample parking available nearby. Travelling west on the A470 Dolgellau bypass, continue past the A483 Tywyn junction and turn next right where signed to the Abbey. From the village of Llanelltyd, follow signs towards the abbey.

Cymer Abbey (Cadw)

Type:Historic Site

Vaynor Farm, Llanelltyd, Dolgellau, Gwynedd, LL40 2HE

Add Cymer Abbey (Cadw) to your Itinerary

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Tel0300 025 6000

Opening Times

Daily 10 am - 5pm (1 Apr 2024 - 31 Oct 2024)
Daily 10 am - 4 pm (1 Nov 2024 - 31 Mar 2025)

* Last admission 30 minutes before closing. Closed 24, 25, 26 December and 1 January

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