Visit Pwllheli and the surrounding villages and stay in bed & breakfast accommodation:
Pwllheli, Gwynedd, is the capital of Lleyn (Llyn), the long peninsula that runs out from Snowdonia into the sea towards Ireland. Philologists have been inclined to see a parallel in the words Lleyn and Leinster. Certainly the Welsh of this part of Wales differs from that of its other provinces, and has many words in it closely akin to Erse. Pwllheli is the Salt Water Pool, as some translate it; and its fine and land-locked harbour, sheltered from winds and exceptionally safe for boating, justifies the name. Others find in it a corruption of Porth Heli, the Port of a lord of the district called Heli.
Its status as a corporate borough goes back to the time of the Black Prince, son of Edward III, who created it as “free”, that is, self-governing. Formerly the harbour was much used, but gradual silting of sand needed a Government grant of £70,000 to clear it, and it is now a refuge from storms out at sea. This, however, has increased its usefulness as a boating and fishing centre. The amenities of Pwllheli have also been more recently added to by the holiday camp at Afonwen, once a remote railway stop lost among green lanes and flowered hedgerows with beautiful views over Cardigan Bay, used as a naval training base during the Second World War. There are two Pwllhelis. One is the old town, North of the railway terminus at the head of the harbour, with town hall and market hall, and a parish church that has developed into the Early Decorated style. The other Pwllheli consists of two seaside suburbs, South Beach and West End.
From Pwllheli the Lleyn, with its many ancient churches set along the pilgrim ways that sought the holy places of Bardsey and Anglesey, the many sites of interest to the archaeologist, the cliffs and uplands bright with flowers and loud with seabirds, and above all the massive range of Snowdon and its foothills can be seen to best advantage. St Tudwal's Islands. with their Early Christian sanctuaries, were bought by Clough Williams-Ellis, the architect and founder of Portmeirion. creator of so much new beauty in the neighbouring villages, to save them from development. Llanbedrog is a charming village 4 miles away with an excellent beach and the mansion of Glyn-y-Weddw, once a pleasure centre with an art gallery. Close by is Mynytho and the Ffynnon Arian (Silver Spring), one of the holy and healing wells of this favoured part of Wales. The villages of Abersoch and Abererch are delightful; Clynnog Fawr is exceptional in its closeness to Yr Eifl (The Rivals) and the mysterious prehistoric city of Tre'r Ceiri. The Nanhoron valley, wooded and rich, leads to Garn Fadrun (1,217 ft), the next highest point to Yr Eifl in the Lleyn. This has on its summit a prehistoric fortress of curious interest, since it contains a stone known as Arthur's Table. By some it has been supposed to play as important a part for the Welsh as the Stone of Scone in Scotland; but its significance is probably more religious than political. A Tudor mansion, Madryn Castle, has become a fully technological school for the farmers of the 20th century.
About 6 miles East along the coast of Lleyn is Llanystumdwy, where the 1st Earl Lloyd George of Dwyfor has his memorial and the chapel uniquely designed by Clough Williams-Ellis. Criccieth, 8½ miles from Pwllheli along the same road, has its castle, the ascent through Dolbenmaen of Garnedd Goch (2,301 ft), and the Craig Cwm-Silyn, sheering down to its lakes; the tall peak of Mod Hebog (Hill of Hawks), over-topping the Llyn Cwmystradllyn; Dolbenmaen with its ancient church; and the long loveliness of the Pennant Valley.
The Lleyn is noted for its cromlechs. Here are the striking ones of Cefn Isa and Ystumcegid Isaf: ribs of long barrows that once shielded the bodies of men powerful and honoured in the Iron Age, but now stripped of their covering. The capstone at Ystumcegid, supported on its uprights, is 5 yds long and must have roofed something more than a grave, perhaps a ceremonial temple. About Cwmystradllyn lake is told the legend of how a bride of the Other People was won from the waters by a young farmer, but stipulated, as her kind did, that she should never be asked to touch iron. For years the young man carefully obeyed; then at one harvest he threw her the last sheaf, forgetting that a sickle was buried in it. At once she vanished, never to reappear. This story is typical of many lakes in Wales. It is a folk-memory of the Bronze Age people who dwelt in these secluded hills, tending their beasts and raising their crops apart from the invading Celtic race from Europe with their tools and weapons of the strange new metal, iron. In this case, the ceremony of casting the last sheaf is a recollection of the ceremonies of propitiation and sacrifice to the fruitful Earth in return for its yield of corn. And the Cwm-Silyn lake also has its legend of the small people, clad in green, who possessed it but came only in the twilight and vanished if they saw a mortal near them; again a memory of the shy and timid race that lived in the high hills and built their dwellings on stakes driven far out into the lake-bed.
Nearby towns: Caernarfon, Criccieth, Nefyn
Nearby villages: Aberdaron, Abererch, Abersoch, Boduan, Botwnnog, Bryncir, Bryncroes, Chwilog, Clynnog Fawr, Dinas, Edern, Garndolbenmaen, Gwydir, Gyrngoch, Llanaelhaern, Llanaelhaiarn, Llanarmon, Llanbedrog, Llandudwen, Llandwrog, Llandygwnning, Llanengan, Llanfaelrhys, Llangian, Llangwnadl, Llangybi, Llannor, Llanystumdwy, Llithfaen, Morfa Nefyn, Penllech, Penrhos, Pistyll, Rhiw, Rhos-y-Llan, Sarn Meyllteyrn, Trefor, Tudweiliog
Have you decided to visit Pwllheli or the surrounding villages? Please look above for somewhere to stay in:
- a Pwllheli bed and breakfast (a Pwllheli B&B or Pwllheli b and b)
- a Pwllheli guesthouse
- a Pwllheli hotel (or motel)
- a Pwllheli self-catering establishment, or
- other Pwllheli accommodation