From commercial hub to cultural icon
The historic waterfront of Caernarfon, situated on the beautiful Menai Strait, has been central to the development of the town. It was established as a key maritime trading centre in medieval times. Blessed with two rivers, the Seiont and the Cadnant, Caernarfon was the obvious location for this vital trade link to the rest of the world.
In the 19th century both of these river mouths were developed as harbours. Victoria Dock, in the Cadnant, served general coastal trade, while the mouth of the Seiont became home to the historic Slate Quay, built specifically for the export of local slate. Locally mined copper and lead ore were also exported from the quay. The compounds in which they were stored prior to export were adapted to create the so-called ‘island site’, a series of buildings behind the harbour office. Many of these structures can still be seen today. The oldest quay may have been built as early as the 18th century.
A picturesque promenade, dating to the early 19th century, runs between the Slate Quay and Victoria Dock. Today this is home to the Galeri, a prestigious, multi-award-winning cultural development incorporating an art gallery, theatre, cinema and restaurant.
With the majestic walls of the castle and town nestled snugly between the two harbours, a walk along the promenade provides a beguiling blend of old and new. Caernarfon’s renowned waterfront seems certain to continue to delight all those who visit for many years to come.
An Audio Trail and Itinerary have been created for this site. To download them, please see here
- Accessible by Public Transport
- Buggy Access
- Good Walks Nearby
- Family Walk
- Wheelchair Access
Follow signs to castle from A487
Nearest station is Bangor - 9 miles
Frequent buses from bus stop 200 yards away
On Sustrans Cycle Route 8
Walk between the two harbours along the promenade
Full Grid Reference - Victoria Dock SH 479630, Slate Quay SH 478626
OS Landranger map sheet: 115
- Caernarfon, LL55 1SQ