Chwarel Hen Llanfair Slate CavernsHarlech, Snowdonia
Retrace the steps of our mining ancestors in the enthralling self-guided tour through Llanfair Slate Caverns in Snowdonia. Containing some of the oldest slate in the world, Chwarel Hen Llanfair Slate Caverns provides visitors with the opportunity to delve into the depths of our mining history and marvel in the achievement of the Welsh miners who once created these large caverns with only hand tools and candlelight!
Chwarel Hen Llanfair Slate Caverns is a well-known family attraction near the seaside resort that is Harlech town. Climbing down ‘Jacob’s ladder ’ you will step into an entirely new world! Children will love nothing more than racing through the tunnels while us big kids try to keep up! With a sharp eye, you may be able to see the likeliness of a face in the rock surface in the sixth cavern! There is plenty to see along the journey underground, and on the surface, there is plenty to do with the on-site cafe and Children’s farm park. Tow attractions in one!
The old mine is entered through the main tunnel underneath the twin arches of the crypt. This will lead you into the lofty cathedral cavern. When inside, it is easy to forget that these incredible underground caves were once made by man over a hundred years ago! Even now you can still see some of the old drilling holes.
There are nine main chambers to be explored, all accessed by several steps and all individually themed. Inside you will find information boards pinpointing items and sights of interest and fun facts! Torches are given to navigate the exploration and aid in reading the information so you don’t miss a single thing.
The slate caverns of Llanfair were mined between 1890 and 1910, and much of this slate was used in several towns in Britain and Ireland. Many still have the original roofs made from this slate now! Not only that, but part of the popular 1995 film ‘First Knight’ (starring Sean Connery and Richard Gere) was filmed in these same caverns! These are just some of the things you will learn along the way!
At the end of your tour, you will emerge from the main caverns where you will come across the most spectacular views of Cardigan Bay! On a clear day, you will be able to see from the Preseli mountains in the south, all the way to the Llyn Peninsula. From here you can also spot the iconic Shell Island and the Artro Estuary!
When you come up to the surface, your fun isn’t over! The Children’s Farm Park on site is another separately run attraction where you can meet all of the residents, including Floss the donkey, ducks, hens, pigs, pygmy goats, and birds. You can hand feed the animals and bottle-feed the new lambs in spring and early summer, but even on the cold and wetter days in winter, you can still enjoy the company of the animals as they are all housed in farm buildings. If this wasn’t enough already, the children will be overjoyed with the junior tractors, indoor sandpit, crazy golf and nature trail! You can make a full day of it at this ‘double-whammy’ site with one attraction in the morning and the other in the afternoon, with a picnic lunch at the cafe to charge the batteries in between!
Easter - Mid September
Daily: 10am - 5pm
Last entry is at 4pm for self-guided tours. The site reopens for October half term, then closes until the following Easter.
Phone number: 01766 780 247
There is a small car park - free of charge which can be used for the caverns and the farm.
Wheelchair/pushchair users have access to the cafe, shop and half of the mine.
The caverns are not completely suitable for wheelchair users, disabled visitors and those with restricted mobility due to the nature of the caverns - it may be difficult to explore in some parts as there are a series of steps and varied floor surfaces.
Dogs are allowed on leads on the surface of the caverns and the farm park, but not in the mines themselves or on the farm yard itself.
Other useful info
- The caverns can be slightly cold, dark and wet so please do wear suitable clothing and footwear for your visit.
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