Chwarel Hên Llanfair

Llanfair Slate Caverns

Useful Information

Location: On the A496 coast road 2 km south of Harlech. Look for the brown tourist signs.
Open: Easter to mid OCT daily 10-17
Fee: Adults GBP 3.10, Children GBP 2.10, Seniors GBP 2.40, Family (2+2) GBP 9.50.
Classification: MineSlate Mine
Light: LightIncandescent Electric Light System
Guided tours:
Bibliography: A Gazeteer [sic] of the Welsh Slate Industry by Alun John Richards 1991 p 150
Address: Chwarel Hên Slate Caverns, Llanfair, near Harlech, Gwynedd, LL46 2SA, Tel: +44-1766-780247. E-mail: contact
As far as we know this information was accurate when it was published (see years in brackets), but may have changed since then.
Please check rates and details directly with the companies in question if you need more recent info.


1860 opened.
1860s closed.
1900 reopened.
1914 closed by World War I.
1960s opened to the public.


Very old Precambrian rocks contain layers of slate, which is among the the oldest slates of the world.


Chwarel Hên Llanfair is a historic slate mine. The Llanfair slate is famous and was used for roofs in many industrial towns of Britain and Ireland.

The entry to this old but important slate mine is through the main tunnel, under the twin arches of the Crypt, and into the lofty Cathedral Cavern, All the tunnels and caverns were dug by hand over 100 years ago with only a candle for lighting.

The slate in this mine, found in veins between layers of Pre-Cambrian rocks, is amongst the oldest in the world, and many industrial towns of Britain and Ireland have the original roofs of Llanfair Slate.

Descending Jacob's Ladder and wandering through the tunnels and chambers, you are able to look for the old drilling holes, and the likeness of a human face in the mighty No 6 Cavern. As you emerge from the caverns you face the breathtaking view of , Cardigan Bay, from the Preseli mountains in the south to the Llên Peninsular. You are able to look down at Shell Island and the Artro Estuary, and at low tide trace the fourteen mile long natural causeway of St Patrick.

New added attraction: Children's farm yard. Cuddle baby rabbits, bottle feed a lamb, feed the goats etc.

There is also a souvenir shop with rock mineral section, and the cafeteria serves hot drinks, snacks and cream teas. Large car park, coaches welcome, special rates for parties. First Knight filmed here.

Text by Tony Oldham (JUN-2001). With kind permission.