The ruins of imposing Criccieth Castle are a superb example of a native castle. Built during the reign of Llywelyn the Great, one of the greatest Welsh statesmen of the Middle Age, these spectacular ruins, dramatically situated on the headland between two sandy beaches, tower over the blue waters of the bay. The castle looks down on the pretty seaside resort of Criccieth, and offers a vista from which to survey the North Cambrian Coast and the Llŷn Peninsula of North Wales.
Although there’s not a huge amount of the castle left, what ruins there are attract fierce debate over which parts are genuinely Welsh, and which were added by the later English occupiers. Criccieth Castle is considered unique amongst Llywelyn’s castles for its rugged twin-towered gatehouse which wasn’t generally a feature of Welsh castle building during the period. In any case, the main castle would only stand until 1404 when, during an epic siege, the Welsh leader Owain Glyn Dwr captured and burnt the castle almost to the ground. Visitors wanting to really envisage these excitements should inspect the castle walls: the charring from this ancient blaze can still be made out.
Generally open from the beginning of April to the end of October every year, visitors come from miles around to explore this important Welsh historical site as well as to simply admire the magnificent view of Tremadog Bay and the alluring Irish Sea. Apparently, the craggy battlements here impressed even artist JMW Turner, who used the castle as a backdrop for his painting of storm-wrecked mariners.