Criccieth Castle was constructed on the headland between two beaches, meaning it watches over the town from above like a sentinel. Rather a lot of the original structure is still intact, allowing visitors to see an almost complete picture of what the castle would have looked like all those centuries ago, with their imaginations filling in the gaps.
The lovely town of Criccieth in Gwynedd, North Wales, calls itself “The Pearl of Wales on the Shores of Snowdonia”. It is a bit of a mouthful of a title, but in terms of descriptions it is first rate. Criccieth is right on the edge of the Snowdonia National Park, situated on the east coast of Wales, close to the towns of Pwllheli and Porthmadog.
It is, perhaps unsurprisingly, a seaside resort, drawing in many visitors each year who wish to spend some time lounging about on its beautiful beaches. Its location also offers the perfect starting point from which to explore the afore-mentioned National Park, so if you prefer mountains and lakes to the beach, you’re still in luck.
In Criccieth itself, arguably the most popular attraction among tourists is the 13th-century castle. The eponymous fortress was originally constructed by Llywelyn Fawr (“the Great”), the Prince of Gwynedd, but was modified extensively towards the end of the century, after it was captured by the forces of Edward I during his conquest of Wales.
The castle had a fairly turbulent history, which is not particularly uncommon for this part of the country. The rebellion of Madoc ap Llywelyn in 1294 saw the town and castle being besieged throughout the winter months. The castle itself was never captured, however, and the residents survived through to the spring.
It was again besieged during a further rebellion, this time the uprising of Owain Glyndŵr, the last native Prince of Wales, in 1404. This time, Criccieth’s fortress did not fare so well: the Welsh captured the castle, before tearing down a number of its walls and setting it alight. Visitors to the castle’s ruins today can still see scorch marks on some of the masonry.
The castle has stood in ruins more or less ever since. It has since been a popular subject of paintings, with the Romantic artist J. M. W. Turner famously painting the ruins.
From the castle, guests can enjoy some fantastic views. Because of the elevation of the headlands, the vista over the town and its beach is breath-taking, but even more spectacular is the sight of Tremadog Bay stretching out before you. The twin towers of the gatehouse are the most impressive part of the castle, standing imposing above the town, a symbol of pure military might. Entry to the castle is free with a Cadw Explorer Pass.
Criccieth is a lovely little town in a fantastic location: the 200+ miles of Snowdonia’s coastline begin here, with the National Park itself only a couple of miles’ drive away. This, of course, includes such natural wonders as Mount Snowdon, which also offers some arresting views. To discover Criccieth, Snowdonia, and the rest of wonderful North Wales, click here, and we will tell you about our self-catered accommodation in the area.
The town of Criccieth is reached via the A487 and the A497 on the way to Pwllheli.
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Probably the most famous of all the many castles in Wales, and for good reason – its sheer scale dwarfs the others, and the town walls are still remarkably intact. Tourists can walk along a small part of the walls, which offers some fantastic views over the town. Also houses the museum of the Royal Welsh Fusiliers.
These are two separate railways, both of which operate historic steam engines with comfortable carriages that will carry you through the often beautiful countryside in the heart of the Snowdonia National Park. This is the longest railway journey of its type in Britain.
The Llŷn (Lleyn) Peninsula, in Gwynedd, is found a little south west from the Isle of Anglesey. It stretches out for about 30 miles from North West Wales into the Irish Sea. It is another of Wales’ Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB), meaning it is protected in terms of conservation due to its beautiful, unspoilt coastline.
Explore the most Westerly part of North Wales with its many beaches and green rolling countryside. A cottage in the Lleyn Peninsula is the perfect way to explore the area - visit Whistling Sands Beach, the spectacular golf course in Nefyn with its picturesque fishing village, a boat trip to Bardsey Island or spend time in one of the local towns such as Abardaron, Abersoch, Pwllehli or Criccieth.
Base yourself in a holiday cottage in the Porthmadog area and you can easily explore the surrounding area of Snowdonia and the Llyn Peninsula. There's plenty to do and see in every direction from beautiful scenery to famous attractions and activities including Port Meirion and the Welsh & Highland steam Railways.
Base yourself in the Caernarfon area to explore this historic castle town and the Snowdonia area. The Welsh Highland Railway starts from Caernarfon to Porthmadog, a great way to see the countryside. The Llyn Peninsula is also easily accessible. Find a your holiday cottage here.