Found close to the bottom of Llanberis Pass, Dolbadarn Castle is still standing sentinel to the route it once guarded. Although Dolbadarn was never large, it was of great importance to the Welsh princes. In the late 13th century, when Llywelyn the Last retreated to his mountain stronghold to escape from Edward I, the Llanberis Pass was the main route to the farmlands of Anglesey, from where most of Llywelyn’s supplies came. The castle’s most striking feature is the single 40-foot round tower, thought by some to be the finest surviving example. Entry was on the first floor, via a flight of wooden steps that could be pulled up inside the castle in the event of an attack. On one side of the castle lie gently undulating hills with the lake twinkling in the distance, while on the other stand the stark Snowdonia Mountains. Photo credit: © Crown copyright (2015) Cadw
Facilities – at a glance
- Parking onsite
- Open all year
- Opening Times: Open all year, daily 10-4 (last admission 3.30). Closed 24-26 Dec & 1 Jan
Also in the area
About the area
The county of Gwynedd is home to most of the Snowdonia National Park – including the wettest spot in Britain, an arête running up to Snowdon’s summit that receives an average annual rainfall of 4,473mm. With its mighty peaks, rivers and strong Welsh heritage (it has the highest proportion of Welsh-speakers in all of Wales), it’s always been an extremely popular place to visit and live. The busiest part is around Snowdon; around 750,000 people climb, walk or ride the train to the summit each year.
Also in Gwynedd is the Llyn Peninsula, a remote part of Wales sticking 30 miles out into the Irish Sea. At the base of the peninsula is Porthmadog, a small town linked to Snowdonia by two steam railways – the Welsh Highland Railway and the Ffestiniog Railway. Other popular places are Criccieth, with a castle on its headland overlooking the beach, Pwllheli, and Abersoch and the St Tudwal Islands. Elsewhere, the peninsula is all about wildlife, tranquillity, and ancient sacred sites. Tre’r Ceiri hill fort is an Iron Age settlement set beside the coastal mountain of Yr Eifl, while Bardsey Island, at the tip of the peninsula, was the site of a fifth-century Celtic monastery.
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