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There are many castles and historic places in Snowdonia. The bigger, better known ones closest to our holiday accommodation are Portmeirion, Harlech Castle, Criccieth Castle and Dolwyddelan Castle.
A little further afield are Penrhyn Castle, Caernarfon Castle, Beaumaris castle, Dolbadarn Castle, Bodnant Gardens, Plas Mawr, Aberconwy House, Conwy Suspension Bridge and Conwy Castle & Town Walls to name a few. There are also a number of smaller historic places close by, a selection of which are listed lower down this page.
Portmeirion was bought by Clough Williams-Ellis in 1925 & the Italian styled village that stands in the grounds today was built between 1925 & 1976. Portmeirion is also where much of the Prisoner was filmed. Today, visitors can visit shops & cafe's, as well as enjoy easy to follow trails through the 70 acres of Woodlands & along the coast.
Plas Brondanw is the ancestral home of Clough Williams-Ellis and has formal gardens, which are open all year, but only Fri-Sun in the winter. There is also a lovely cafe and shop which has locally made pottery, woodwork, jewellery, jams and chutneys.
Harlech Castle was built between 1283 & 1289 for King Edward & was designed to contain the Welsh in their mountains. It was seized by Owain Glyn Dŵr in 1404 & held by him for four years allowing him to hold parliament here. Today it stands on a vertical cliff against which the sea probably once touched & the views are stunning looking across the golf course and sand dunes below to Tremadog Bay and the Llyn Peninsula in the distance, as well as south along the Cambrian Coast and North towards Snowdonia's Mountains.
Criccieth Castle is deeply entwined in the medieval conflict between Wales and England. It is in an imposing position and still dominated by the twin-towered gatehouse built by Prince Llywelyn ab Iorwerth ('the Great') around 1230-1240. It was later extended by Llywelyn ap Gruffudd ('the Last'), and then taken by Edward I in 1283 and Edward II who also both remodelled it. It was finally taken back by the welsh leader Owain Glyn Dŵr in 1404. Today a visit to the castle must also include a walk along the promenade and an ice cream in Cadwaladers Cafe.
Dolwyddelan Castle, along with nearby Dolbadarn and Prysor, formed a collection of strategically important mountain fortresses for the Welsh ruler, Llywelyn the Great. The keep was later supplemented by Llywelyn ap Gruffudd and the Victorians.
Penrhyn Castle is a 19th-century fantasy castle with spectacular contents and grounds and is located in Bangor. It has great views over Snowdonia, unique furniture and art collection, large gardens and grounds with formal Victorian walled garden and a dolls museum, extensive Victorian kitchens, railway museum and adventure playground.
Bodnant Garden was created by five generations of one family and has spectacular views across Snowdonia, as well as expansive lawns, grand ponds and terraces, a steep wooded valley, and plant collections that are continually changing colours.
Tomen y Mur is one of the most interesting archaeological sites in Snowdonia, and is one of the most complete Roman military settlements in Britain. The fort is situated on a hillside at the cross roads of four Roman roads with commanding views of the local area. It was constructed in AD 78 by Gnaeus Julius Agricola.
Castell y Bere in the Dysynni Valley, whose ruins are not particularly high, but show layout clearly and is in a beautiful setting. To see more about Castell y Bere see this short BBC film as Weatherman Walking visits it.
Cymer Abbey near to Dolgellau still has the remains of the church and cloister founded in 1198 by Lord of Meirionydd.
Dyffryn Ardudwy Burial Chambers: The two Portal Dolmen tombs here are dated at approximately 3500B.C. and are thought to be some of the earliest tombs built in the UK.
Back to list of Things to do.
Harlech Castle, Penrhyn Castle and Bodnant Garden Images: © Crown copyright Visit Wales
Portmeirion Image courtesy of Portmeirion