Disclaimer: As an affiliate I may earn a commission on any qualifying purchase at no extra cost to you – read more.
Visiting Gelert’s grave is one of the best things to do in Beddgelert, the village is even named after it (the Welsh translation of Gelert’s grave is ‘bedd Gelert’).
If you’re wondering why on Earth the grave of a dog named Gelert is such an important landmark, and how to visit it, then you came to the right place. I’ll also reveal if the story is true or not…
Where To Park?
The best place to park in Beddgelert is the car park up near the tourist information office. This costs £3 for 4 hours or £6 for the whole day.
The car park isn’t marked on Google Maps, but I’ve dropped a pin here.
How To Visit Gelert’s Grave
Here are my step-by-step directions to the grave of Gelert the faithful hound dog. The full story of Gelert the dog is found below the route.
1. Begin at the Bridge in Beddgelert
The best place to begin directions to Gelert’s grave is right in the centre of Beddgelert, at the main road bridge that crosses over the Afon Conwy here.
2. Walk Down the Side of the River
On the bridge, there is a signpost to the grave. If you cannot see this, just walk down the river on the OPPOSITE side to the Prince Llewelyn pub. You will be walking down Stryd Smith (Smith Street) past Beddgelert woodcraft (also a great place to get some gifts).
3. Turn Right Before the Green Bridge
Just before you reach the green footbridge that goes across the river, take the gate to the right so that you continue walking alongside the river. If you look carefully, the design of the gate resembles a dog paw.
4. Turn Right Before the First Row of Trees and Follow the Path
Walk down to the first hedgerow and turn right to stay on the path (you could also cut diagonally across the grass if you like).
Follow this path through the gate until you reach a tree in the middle of the path, this is where you’ll find Gelert’s grave.
Statue of Gelert The Dog
From Gelert’s grave, you can easily visit the statue of Gelert the dog.
Whilst looking at the grave from the direction you came, just 40m further along the path is a half-made stone cottage with some benches outside. Inside here, you’ll find the statue of Gelert.
What is the Story of Gelert’s Grave?
The tale of Gelert the dog dates back to the 13th century when Llywelyn Ap Iorwerth, also known as Llywelyn The Great, had a palace near Beddgelert.
One day, Llewelyn returned from a hunting trip to find his infant’s cot empty with pools of blood. His beloved hound dog, Gelert, came joyfully running towards him with blood dripping from his mouth.
Llewelyn feared the worst and hastily put his sword straight through the dog’s side.
Gelert’s final whimper was meant with the cry of an infant in the next room. Llewelyn proceeded to find the infant alive and well. Next to him lay the body of a fierce wolf that had been slain by Gelert who had saved the young prince’s life.
It is said that Llewelyn was full of regret and vowed never to kill again.
Is The Story Of Gelert The Dog True?
No, the story of Gelert the Dog is not true. It is an adaptation of an old folktale from India, originally known as The Brahmin and the Mongoose. This is one of the most travelled folktales that teaches about not acting too hastily1 (source: M. Moncrieffe, ‘Gelert’: The Identification and Reception of a Narrative Adaption, 2018).
In the Indian version of the tale, a pet mongoose protects the baby of a Brahman from a snake, whereas in the Gelert story, a pet hound protects the baby of a prince from a wolf.
The tale, broadly known as ‘‘The Animal Killed in Haste’, exists in many cultures, usually with characters, animals, and a narrative that have been adapted to that setting. Gelert the Dog is one of the more famous versions of this tale.
Another well-known adaptation of the story comes from France where the tale has been known as Saint Guinefort. In this version, a dog (Guinefort) protects the baby of a knight from a snake.
So, Who Wrote the Story of Beddgelert?
The story of Gelert the faithful hound dog was first linked to the village of Beddgelert by David Prichard, manager of the Royal Goat Hotel. The grave was erected in 1802 as a marketing ploy to attract tourism to the village2 (source: Peoples Collection Wales).
Prichard played on the fact that the village’s name translates as ‘Gelert’s grave’ to give the story a sense of authenticity.
A local guidebook suggests that the village was actually named Beddgelert after a Christian missionary and leader called Celert who settled there in the 8th century, long before Llewelyn the Great was even born3 (source: D. Marshall, Walks Around Beddgelert).
What Does Beddgelert Mean In English?
The English translation of Beddgelert is ‘Gelert’s grave’ which has been linked to the story of Gelert the dog. However, the village was actually named after a missionary called Celert who settled there.
What Breed Was Gelert The Dog?
The folk tale suggests that Gelert was a faithful hound dog. It’s generally assumed that he was an Irish Wolfhound.
Who Killed Gelert The Dog?
According to the folktale, Gelert was killed by his owner, Llywelyn Ap Iorwerth, also known as Llywelyn The Great, who was the Prince of North Wales in the 13th century.
What Is Beddgelert Famous For?
Beddgelert is famous for the story of Gelert the faithful hound dog who was killed in haste by his owner, Llewelyn the Great. The grave and statue of Gelert are some of the village’s most visited attractions to this day.
Kieren is the founder and editor-in-chief of Wales Guidebook. Originally from rural Mid-Wales, he has lived all over the country from Cardiff to Wrexham. A true Welshman, Kieren created this site to share his passion for Wales and help others discover this beautiful country.