Gwynedd

Gwynedd is a largely rural county boasting an array of sandy beaches, rugged coastline and the Snowdonia National Park.

If you are seeking a traditional resort holiday, adrenalin activities or the great outdoors, Gwynedd is packed with things to do and sights to explore.

Find out more

Gwynedd Overview

Welcome to Gwynedd

The Welsh ceremonial county of Gwynedd covers the Isle of Anglesey across the Menai Strait and borders the neighbouring counties of Powys and Clwyd.

Gwynedd has a population of approximately 125,000 inhabitants with Bangor, Betheseda, Caernarfon, Ffestiniog, Pwllheli and Tywyn being amongst the largest towns and has the highest proportion of people in Wales who can speak the native language.

The county has an extensive coastline punctuated with sandy beaches which give rise to a cluster of popular resorts such as Abersoch,

Portmeirion and Barmouth, rolling hills and mountains in the shape of Snowdonia National Park, home to miles of trails, rivers and lakes and famous Mount Snowdon.


History

Gwynedd, formed in the 5th century, was conquered by the English in the 13th century, having previously been an independent kingdom since the end of the Roman period. The current county borders were established in 1996 following the abolition of the 1974 county boundaries.

Agriculture and slate mining were historically an important part of the region’s industry but nowadays tourism features very strongly with visitors attracted to a multitude of attractions, sights and activity centres.


Places to Visit in Gwynedd

Down the years Gwynedd’s geographic position was responsible for the creation of a large number of castles throughout the region. Visit their battlements to take in views of the mountains and sea. The striking Beaumaris Castle is one of the “iron ring” castles and is a real spectacle on the Menai Strait, with views across to Snowdonia. On the mainland side of the Menai Strait looking towards Anglesey is Caernarfon Castle – arguably Edward I’s finest castle with 10 towers, 2 main gatehouses and angular walls. Criccieth and Harlech Castles look down from rocky headlands across Tremadog Bay with an impressive array of fortifications.

Snowdonia National Park created in 1951 is home to Mount Snowdon – at 3,560ft, Wales’ highest mountain. You can walk to the top, or may be let the Snowdon Mountain Railway take the strain! When you reach the peak the views are stunning – all the way to Ireland on a clear day. The national park has a large number of trails and lakes for visitors to enjoy as well as the world’s longest zipwire. The wider Snowdonia region is packed with attractions and activity centres to get you out and about.
Anglesey is worth a trip on its own – head across the Menai Bridge – a 19th century suspension bridge to take a drive around Wales’ largest island. The island is full of history, from the 13th century Beaumaris Castle and Beaumaris Gaol to the 18th century Llynnon Mill, Wales’ only working windmill. Elsewhere on the island you will find miles of sandy beaches such as Trearddur, Red Wharf Bay and rocky coastlines at places like Holy Island or South Stack.

Gwynedd has a number of stately homes to tour. Penrhyn Castle, is a 19th century neo-Norman fantasy castle, Aberconwy House is an old merchant house and the oldest dwelling in Wales depicting life going back to Roman times. Gwydir Castle is a fortified manor house with reported ghost sightings, formal gardens and the opportunity to see the Gwydir Uchaf Chapel whilst Plas Mawr is one of Britain’s finest examples of an Elizabethan townhouses resplendent with decorative plasterwork.

For those visitors looking for gardens, there are attractions at Treborth Botanic Gardens, Plas Newydd, Parc Glynllifon and Plas Brondanw Gardens amongst others.

You can visit one of the world’s most famous place names, originating in the 1800’s and designed to attract visitors to the town – Llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwyrndrobwllllantysiliogogogoch – is the longest place name in Europe and second longest single name place in the world.

Gwynedd’s famous names include T.E. Lawrence ,comedian and actress Dawn French, and singer and presenter Aled Jones.

Gwynedd has a large range of annual events, including the Anglesey Show, Beaumaris Festival, Gottwood Festival, Festival No. 6 and the Caernarfon Show.


Getting There

Located in Wales, Gwynedd is serviced by the A55 from Chester that heads to the north west coast whilst from the south the A5 is the main road link, finally arriving in Bangor. The A458 is the main road link to the Midlands. A train service runs from Crewe, stopping in a number of places before terminating in Bangor.

A ferry service also runs into Holyhead from Ireland.


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