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The history of North Wales

Updated on February 1, 2017

North Wales is a location which is full of variety, with its rolling hills, beautiful coastline and home to our beautiful North Wales holiday cottages. However, there is a very interesting history behind this region, and with its many castles and museums, you can find its history throughout this part of the UK.


Anglesey is located off the north-west coast near the Snowdonia mountain range. It is also separated from the mainland by the Menai Strait and can be reached by two bridges, the Menai Bridge and the Britannia Bridge.

Anglesey also has the village with the longest place name in Britain, Llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwyrndrobwllllantysiliogogogoch. When translated into English, means "The church of St. Mary in a hollow of white hazel near a rapid whirlpool and near St. Tysilio's church by the red cave".

There are over 70 sites throughout Anglesey where you can view megalithic monuments from prehistoric times, this includes, standing stones and burial chambers. As well as prehistoric monuments, there are numerous estates and two castles.

Beaumaris Castle was built in 1295 and was the last and largest of the castles to be built by King Edward I in Wales, and because of his invasion into Scotland, he never finished his design. This castle is considered to be one of the most technically perfect castles in Britain.

Castell Aberlleiniog is thought to have been built between 1080 and 1099 by Hugh d'Avranches, 1st Earl of Chester. This castle was built in a strategic position beside the Menai Strait opposite the Norman castle.


The Snowdonia Mountains have evolved throughout the years and date back prehistoric, pagan times followed by the Roman occupation, the rise of Christianity, the age of the Mediaeval Princes, the Viking, Anglo Saxon and Norman invasions through to the industrial revolution and modern times. The history of these historical times can still be seen throughout the dramatic landscape. The network of Celtic hill forts, religious shrines, standing stones, magnificent ring of mediaeval castles, churches and fascinating industrial remains, and some of this can still be seen to this day.


Harlech is situated in the heart of Snowdonia National Park and overlooks Tremadog Bay and the Lleyn Peninsula. Its winding streets and traditional Welsh architecture makes it steeped in history.

The Harlech Dome is apparently the oldest known geological rock formation in the world, and it is home to the Harlech Castle. The castle, now a World Heritage listed site, was one of Edward 1's "iron ring" of fortresses, built in the 13th century.

In 1404 Harlech Castle was seized Owain Glyndwr during the great national uprising of the Welsh, and it became Glyndwr’s official residence. Harlech Castle was were Glyndwr was formally crowned as the Price of Wales, but the castle was captured by the English in 1409, under the command of Harry of Monmouth. Sixty years later Harlech was one of the last Lancastrian strongholds during the Wars of the Roses.

With the history of North Wales in mind, it is the perfect place to visit. Because of the variety in North Wales, it is a great location for outdoor adventure. As well as the many castles, there are also plenty of other opportunities to immerse yourself in the rich heritage of this ancient land. Throughout this beautiful region, you will find ornate churches as well as county chapels, mysterious burial chambers, and many other monuments which serve as a reminder of the past.


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