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Title: Pwllheli  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
Language: English
Subject: Llŷn Peninsula, Aberdaron, Tudweiliog, Abersoch, National Eisteddfod of Wales
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia



Housing near Pwllheli town centre
Pwllheli is located in Gwynedd
 Pwllheli shown within Gwynedd
Population 4,076 (2011)
OS grid reference
Community Pwllheli
Principal area Gwynedd
Ceremonial county Gwynedd
Country Wales
Sovereign state United Kingdom
Post town PWLLHELI
Postcode district LL53
Dialling code 01758
Police North Wales
Fire North Wales
Ambulance Welsh
EU Parliament Wales
UK Parliament Dwyfor Meirionnydd
Welsh Assembly Dwyfor Meirionnydd
List of places

Pwllheli (Welsh pronunciation: ) is a community and the main market town of the Llŷn Peninsula (Welsh: Penrhyn Llŷn) in Gwynedd, north-western Wales. It had a population of 4,076 in 2011[1] of whom a large proportion, 81 per cent, are Welsh speaking.[2] Pwllheli is the place where Plaid Cymru was founded. It is the birthplace of the Welsh poet Sir Albert Evans-Jones (bardic name Cynan).


  • Etymology 1
  • History 2
  • Education 3
  • Transport 4
    • Rail 4.1
    • Road 4.2
    • Buses 4.3
  • Attractions 5
  • Arts 6
  • Language 7
  • Sport and leisure 8
  • Notes 9
  • External links 10


The town's name means salt water basin. The pronunciation of Pwllheli includes a sound not found in the English language, the voiceless alveolar lateral fricative [ɬ], but is (very) approximately pu-HLEL-ee.


Donkeys outside a warehouse in Pwllheli, circa 1885.

The town was given its charter as a borough by Edward, the Black Prince in 1355,[3] and a market is still held each Wednesday in the centre of the town on 'Y Maes' (="the field" or "the town square" in English).

The town grew around the shipbuilding and fishing industries, and the granite quarry at Gimlet Rock (Welsh: Carreg yr Imbill).[4]

Pwllheli railway station

During the 1890s, the town was developed by Solomon Andrews, a Cardiff businessman. This work included the Promenade, roads and houses at West End. A tramway was built linking the town to Llanbedrog. The trams ran until 1927 when the section of track between Carreg-y-Defaid and Tyddyn-Caled was seriously damaged by a storm. Andrews ran the Cardiff Road section in 1928, and offered to sell the tramway to Pwllheli Corporation at the end of the season, but they did not take up his offer. He then sold the assets, and the Corporation removed the tracks during the winter of 1928/29.[5]

For many years a holiday camp run by Butlins operated a few miles from Pwllheli at Pen-y-chain. During the Second World War it became a naval camp, HMS Glendower, and it operated a hospital for wounded servicemen at Brynberyl on the Pwllheli to Caernarfon road two miles out of town. After the war, Butlins re-established the holiday camp. The camp, now renamed Hafan y Môr ("Haven of the sea"), has been redeveloped and is now run by the Haven group.[6]

Pwllheli is the main town of the Llŷn Peninsula, and has a range of shops and other services. As a local railhead with a market every Wednesday, the town is a gathering point for the population of the whole peninsula.


Ysgol Glan y Môr was formed by the merger in 1969 of the former Pwllheli Grammar School at Penrallt and the Frondeg Secondary Modern School in Upper Ala Road, to form a comprehensive school based at two separate sites in the town. The junior pupils (year 1 and year 2) were located at the Penrallt site and the senior pupils (year 3 and upwards) at a new complex in Cardiff Road. This new school was subsequently expanded to accommodate all pupils under the Ysgol Glan y Môr name.

The Penrallt site was later redeveloped as the Pwllheli campus of Coleg Meirion-Dwyfor. The façade of the main building of the old grammar school was retained and incorporated into the design of the current college buildings. Thus the 'old school' is readily seen from the town square (Y Maes) as it has been since the former Pwllheli County School moved to Penrallt in the early 20th century.



Pwllheli railway station is the terminus of the Cambrian Coast Railway running to Machynlleth with services continuing to Shrewsbury and Birmingham. The station is operated and served by Arriva Trains Wales. The rail link to Caernarfon via the Carnarvonshire Railway was axed under the Beeching cuts and closed in December 1964.



Bus services in the town are operated by Arriva Buses Wales and Nefyn Coaches and serve most of the town as well as the rest of the wider Llŷn Peninsula area. Clynnog & Trefor run services to Caernarfon where connections can be made to Bangor and the wider North Wales area. Pwllheli bus station is situated in the town centre.


Pwllheli has a large section of the Wales Coast Path along its shoreline.


Pwllheli hosted the National Eisteddfod in 1925 and 1955, as well as an unofficial National Eisteddfod event in 1875.


According to the United Kingdom Census 2001, 80% of the population speak Welsh, with the highest percentage of Welsh speakers in the 10-14 age bracket, 94%.

Sport and leisure

Pwllheli is home to association football team Pwllheli F.C., rugby union team Pwllheli RFC and Running Club Llŷn Striders.

The town has two beaches, South Beach and Glan-y-Môr. South Beach stretches from Gimlet Rock, across the Promenade and West End, towards Penrhos and Llanbedrog. Glan-y-Môr Beach is located on the eastern side of the river mouth and runs for 3 miles (5 km) from behind the marina workshops and out towards Penychain (holiday camp).


  1. ^ Census 2001 : Parish Headcounts : GwyneddOffice for National Statistics : Retrieved 14 January 2010
  2. ^ Cyngor Gwynedd
  3. ^ Davies, John; Jenkins, Nigel (2008). The Welsh Academy Encyclopaedia of Wales. Cardiff: University of Wales Press. p. 719.  
  4. ^ "A glance back at history with Luned". BBC. 2006-01-17. Retrieved 2009-02-21. Another relaxing place in Pwllheli is Gimblet Rock. It is a rock which stands on the Southerly side of the town. It was once a huge rock, but was used to make setts for the streets in England. 
  5. ^ Narrow Gauge Railways in North Caernarvonshire, Vol 1 - West, (1981), J. I. C. Boyd, pp 211-221, Oakwood Press, ISBN 978-0-85361-273-5
  6. ^ "Hafan-Y-Môr, Haven website". 2009-11-26. 
  7. ^ walesonline news

External links

  • from the Croeso Group of Websites
  • Your online guide to the Llŷn Peninsula, of which Pwllheli is the unofficial capital
  • Marina website
  • Memories of Butlin's at Pwllheli
  • : photos of Pwllheli and surrounding area
  • The Pwllheli sections of this site offer a collection of old postcards and photographs of Pwllheli and its fishing fleet
  • Contains much information on local Welsh history and development. The link takes you to the Pwllheli, Deneio and Penmaen page
  • list of ships built at Pwllheli at
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