The Beach Guide

Harlech Beach

Harlech Beach - Gwynedd

© Ian Warburton and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence

Harlech Beach provides a four-mile stretch of pristine golden sand, with stunning views of the Snowdonia mountain range. The beach is backed by grassy dunes.

The Morfa Harlech National Nature Reserve at the north end of the beach is Wales’s only growing dune system and provides a good example of the effects of longshore drift. To the south lies Shell Island, a promontory which, as the name suggests has an abundance of shells.
During the summer months leatherback turtles migrate from warmer climes to feed off jellyfish in the waters off this part of the coast. In 1988 a record-breaking 916kg leatherback was washed up here after becoming tangled in fishing equipment.

Swimming in the clear waters here is generally safe although there is no lifeguard presence and at times jellyfish can be found off this part of the coastline. The beach is popular with families and dog walkers, although there are restrictions on dog walking at certain times of the year.

13th century Harlech Castle lies around 1000 metres behind the beach. This imposing structure was built as a stronghold by Edward I and played an important role in The War of the Roses and the English Civil War. It is open to visitors throughout the year. When it was first built the castle stood immediately next to the sea, but over the centuries the coastline has shifted significantly.

To access the beach take the Ffordd Glan Mor road from the village of Harlech past the Min-y-don Holiday Park, beyond which is a pay-for car park. From here a 400 metre path leads down to the beach

Type of beach


Lifeguard service


Dogs friendly beach?

We do not have information on this beach but restrictions may apply (usually from Easter until the end of Summer)

Gwynedd dog friendly beaches »



  • Shop

Nearest town



LL46 2UG

OS grid ref.

SH 5684 3145

Water quality

Water quality star rating


Green Coast AwardMarine Conservation Society Recommended

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Harlech Beach Reviews

Fabulous quiet beach!

Annie O'Brien
Aug 28th 2019

Four miles of golden sand, gently sloping for safe bathing. Not crowded because a ten minute walk through the line of sand dunes is needed for access. Clean beach, clear water, idyllic !

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