Dolbadarn Castle: Mystical and romantic
After a long day exploring Llanberis, in North Wales, we came up with the idea of visiting Dolbadarn Castle. Their website said that it shuts at 4pm. However, we had a feeling that it might be accessible at any time. We were right. You can access Dolbadarn Castle by heading up past the Royal Victoria Hotel, and turning down a rather muddy path. You’ll be delighted when the castle comes into view. Despite being just a small ruin, it is a very romantic sight.
We were surprised to see a couple of photographers up there with full tripod setups. Dolbadarn Castle is a fortress built by Llewelyn the Great, a Welsh Prince, in the 1200s. Apart from some remaining foundations, all that remains is a large stone keep. It is possibly the finest surviving example of a Welsh round tower. The inside of the keep is much like other medieval ruins we have seen, with the remains of fireplaces, windows and holes for wooden beams visible.
You can climb the medieval staircase
However, what we didn’t expect was for the very tight, spiral staircase to be open. It feels very precarious, and yet thrilling, to climb the stairs. One of the Welsh Princes actually kept his own brother prisoner in this castle for around twenty years in the mid 1200s. The feeling in there was that of excitement, yet it really did feel medieval with the cold and claustrophobic nature of the stone staircase. The steps are rather uneven in places too, making it even more of a challenge.
At the top of the 50 feet tower, you’ll be faced with the most amazing views of the mountains of Snowdonia, including Electric Mountain. What’s more, if you time your visit as the sun is setting, it gives the landscape a warm glow that is just beautiful to see. They have put a bit of a cage over the top to prevent accidents, as I imagine it would be quite dangerous otherwise.
Down on the ground, you can get some great photos. It would be a great place to take a sketchpad or some oil painting supplies. Well worth a visit, and admission is free!
Have you been to Dolbadarn Castle?