Find a taste of bustling port life at Porthmadog’s Maritime Museum.
The history of Porthmadog was created almost by accident! In 1811 the ‘cob’, an embankment, was completed to rescue agricultural land from the sea. This diverted the River Glaslyn and created a new natural harbour. The basin was the ideal site to build the first quays in 1825, and the then port was ready for action – receiving slate from the Ffestiniog area and copper ore from mines such as Cwm Ciprwth. Railways from the quarries and mines took the precious cargo away for export around the world.
The Maritime Museum tells the story of Porthmadog’s seafaring life. Fittingly you will find it located in the last slate shed on the harbour, which was used to store slate from Oakeley Quarry in Blaenau Ffestiniog. Fascinating objects, relating to the trade, shipbuilding and seafaring life of the town, tell the story of its people.
Porthmadog’s harbour was only accessible to smaller ships, which meant that sailing ships, particularly wooden schooners, still used the harbour as recently as during the Second World War. The schooners built at Porthmadog were famous for two prized qualities – their grace in the water and their turn of speed.
As well as the export of local natural resources, the port imported all kinds of goods, including salt cod, timber, corn and phosphates. This trade connected the town to places such as Newfoundland, the Caribbean and beyond. Ships continued to call at the port until the 1980s and included the SS Florence Cooke, which served the explosives works in nearby Penrhyndeudraeth. Heavy equipment for building power stations was also brought into the harbour.
Porthmadog Maritime Museum
- Accessible by Public Transport
- Buggy Access
- Good Walks Nearby
- Wheelchair Access
April to Autumn half term
Next to the Ffestiniog Railway Station on High Street, Porthmadog
Porthmadog - 1/2 mile
Bus stops on High Street near the Ffestiniog Railway Station
On the NCN Route 8
Parking at Heol y Parc
Full Grid Reference Number: SH 569384
OS Landranger map sheet: 124
- Porthmadog Harbour and Maritime Museum, Porthmadog, LL49 9LU