Harlech Castle

Harlech Castle

‘Men of Harlech’…all together now! 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. Seven years! It only took that long to build the castle, between 1283 and 1290 to be exact. Edward’s tried and tested ‘walls within walls’ model was put together in super-fast time by an army of nearly a thousand skilled craftsmen and labourers.

Edward liked to use only the best masons from Savoy and Ireland 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 (61mtrs) 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 tide has receded and you could say the castle appears almost stranded, waiting for the tide to turn once more.

Useful Information

Harlech Castle
Castle Square Harlech Gwynedd LL46 2YH Wales
phone: 01766 780552 fax:

News & Special Offers

Ask about FREE ENTRY if you are 60 and over or 16 and under and live in Wales.

Entrance Charge

Opening Times

Last admission 30 mins before closing. 1 Apr-31 Oct 09: daily 9am-5pm. 1 Nov 09 -31 Mar 10: Fri-Sat 9.30am-4pm; Sun 11am-4pm Closed: 24,25,26 Dec and 1 Jan

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