Step back in time to experience the culture, history, cuisine and stunning scenery in this carefully designed small group Tour of Northern Wales.
Wales is a small country with a proud history, distinctly different from its larger neighbor. it has won and lost many battles with England. British Kings were intent on suppressing Welsh aspirations for Independence. The legacy of this warfare includes the finest group of mediaeval castles to be found anywhere in the world, and a choice variety of country houses and historic walled towns. First-time visitors will be astonished by the magnificence and fine state of preservation and splendour of so many of the historic buildings.
A Celtic nation, Wales is famous for its music, literature and language. In the 21st Century there are still nearly 500,000 men and women for whom Welsh is their first language. And they include great painters, sculptors and architects as well as superb musicians.
Meet your Tour Director at Manchester Airport and begin our tour with an easy drive into North Wales arriving in time for Lunch at Bodnant Welsh Foods
Bodnant Gardens – With expansive lawns and intimate corners, grand ponds and impressive terraces, a steep wooded valley and stream, as well as remarkable plant collections from all over the world, Bodnant Garden is one of Britain’s best gardens and a great place to relax and unwind.
May is a great time to visit the famous Laburnam Arch – a magnificent (and lengthy) arch/tunnel of Laburnam trees carefully trained over the years into the spectacle it is today. You might experience the Laburnam Arch in full bloom – usually in mid/late May
After lunch drive along the Conwy Valley passing the town of Blaenau Ffestiniog known for its slate industry reaching our destination Portmeirion.
Accommodation: Hotel Portmeirion & Castell Deudraeth Hotel – Dinner at Hotel
Breakfast at the Hotel. Private tour of Portmeirion.
Portmeirion’s creator, architect and iconoclast Sir Clough Williams-Ellis, built the “Italian” village on the Welsh coast piecemeal between 1925 and 1972.
After the tour, travel along the Aberglaslyn Pass on the way toward Beddgelert. The coach will stop for a quick photo opportunity at Pont Aberglaslyn (Pont meaning Bridge). As you stand on this bridge and look up the Aberglaslyn Pass you’re confronted with one of one of the most photographed views in Britain!
Arriving at Beddgelert a truly beautiful village at the heart of Snowdonia. A short walk to the south of the village, following the footpath along the banks of the River Glaslyn leads to Beddgelert’s most famous historical feature “Gelert’s Grave” which is where the village gets its name – the word bedd means grave. According to legend, the stone monument in the field marks the resting place of Gelert the faithful hound of the medieval Welsh Prince Llywelyn the Great.
No visit to North Wales should omit a journey on one of the region’s fabulous steam railways and the Ffestiniog and Welsh Highland Railways are probably the finest in all of the UK.
Accommodation: Hotel Portmeirion & Castell Deudraeth – Dinner at Hotel
Breakfast at the Hotel. Discover Anglesey
Separated from mainland Wales by the Menai Strait, Anglesey is far removed from the bustle of Buckingham Palace and London. HRH Prince William of Wales made this his home while he worked as a Royal Air Force pilot with the Search and Rescue Force at RAF Valley. Anglesey’s royal connection dates back to 1295 when King Edward I built his largest castle, Beaumaris. The Menai Suspension Bridge connects the island of Anglesey with the mainland of Wales. Completed in 1826, it was designed by Thomas Telford.
This morning we tour Anglesey (Ynys Mon in Welsh). Ynys Mon, also known as Mam Cymru (the Mother of Wales), is so called because its fertile lands were considered capable of providing sufficient food for the whole of Wales!
Beaumaris is situated on the banks of the Menai Straits. The town is close to the two bridges that join the mainland with Anglesey and is renowned for its castle, one of the finest medieval castles in Europe, and recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Beaumaris Castle was part of the iron ring of castles built to subdue the Welsh by the English King Edward 1. Construction of the castle began in 1295.
Visit Redboat Ice Cream Parlour voted one of the UK’s finest ice cream shops!
Then on to Plas Newydd which is the family home of the Marquis of Anglesey. The house is an elegant 18th century mansion designed by James Wyatt in a mix of Classical and Gothic styles, built around a 14th century hall. Inside the house is a massive mural painted by Rex Whistler and an exhibition about his work. The house stands in a glorious position overlooking the Menai Strait, with views to the distant peaks of Snowdonia. Surrounding the house are superb gardens based on a design by Humphry Repton. Opportunity for woodland walks above the banks of the Strait to the rhododendron gardens.
A brief stop at the village with the longest name in the world: Llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwyrndrobwllllantysiliogogogoch
Visit Caernarfon Castle, possibly the most famous of Wales’s castles. Its sheer scale and commanding presence easily set it apart from the rest. Standing at the mouth of the Seiont river, the fortress (with its unique polygonal towers, intimidating battlements and colour banded masonry) dominates the walled town also founded by Edward I.
Accommodation: Seiont Manor Country House (Snowdonia) – Dinner at Hotel
Breakfast at the Hotel.
Visit Conwy Castle, located in the medieval town of Conwy a medieval fortification on the north coast of Wales. Along side the castle is the Thomas Telford Suspension Bridge, one of the first road suspension bridges in the world, is now only passable on foot and is in the care of the National Trust.
UNESCO considers Conwy to be one of the finest examples of late 13th and early 14th century military architecture in Europe and is classed as a World Heritage Site.
Must do things in Conwy:
Climb to the top of one of Conwy Castle’s 8 towers to get a stunning view of Conwy and then explore the inner and outer wards with their many rooms. Or explore the castle walls and their 21 towers that enclose Conwy town.
Smallest House in Britain: Known as the Quay House, this red painted one up and one down measures only 10ft x 6ft and and was last lived in by Robert Jones who was 6ft 3inches tall. Squeeze in and see what it would be like to live in Britain’s smallest house.
Plas Mawr: This Magnificent 16th century town house which stands in the heart of Conwy on the High Street is said to be the finest standing house of its era
Enjoy Lunch at the Castle Hotel – time for Fish and Chips in this atmospheric former coaching inn.
After lunch a short drive to the seaside resort town of Llandudno where you will have free time for shopping or sightseeing in the afternoon.
Early dinner at leisure
Male Voice Choir in Llandudno
Experience the unique pleasure of a Welsh Male Voice Choir in rehearsal, surely one of the highlights of any visit to Wales, known throughout the world as the land of song – you will see why!
Accommodation: Seiont Manor Country House (Snowdonia)
Breakfast at the Hotel. Depart for a day in the Snowdonia National Park.
Snowdonia National Park covers 823 square miles of North Wales. This is twice the size of Anglesey. Of the population of nearly 26,000, 89% speak Welsh. Snowdon is the tallest mountain in Snowdonia, standing 3,740 feet about sea level.
Llanberis Slate Museum is sited in the Victorian workshops built in the shadow of Elidir mountain, site of the vast Dinorwig quarry. Here you can travel into the past of an industry and a way of life that has chiselled itself into the very being of this country. The Workshops and Buildings are designed as though quarrymen and engineers have just put down their tools and left the courtyard for home, while an array of Talks and Demonstrations including slate-splitting give you a real insight into quarry life. You’ll hear the gripping Story of Slate, encompassing such great events as industrial unrest on the one hand, and the small details of everyday life on the other.
Lunch at leisure
Betws-y-Coed is a stunning village in the heart of the Snowdonia National Park, and is a place where, with plenty of shops and stores, you can buy everything you need to take back home as a reminder of Wales – Welsh quilts, blankets, crafts and gifts.
Accommodation: Seiont Manor Country House (Snowdonia) – Dinner at hotel
Breakfast at the Hotel.
Visit Yr Ysgwrn, the former home of Hedd Wyn, self taught poet and icon of Welsh culture in the early 20th Century. He mastered the cynghanedd, perhaps the hardest lines of Welsh poetry at the age of 12 before going on to win the biggest prize in Welsh literature, the National Eisteddfod Chair.
A Welsh lesson over a “paned” or a cuppa tea!
Lunch *(Dylanwad) at the charming market town of Dolgellau nestling at the foot of Cader Idris mountain.
*Dylanwad – Welsh Tapas and Welsh Wine Tasting
See the natural beauty of the Southern Snowdonia and the patchwork countryside which makes Wales’ famous, delightful towns and villages that characterize this region. Arrive at a hill farm and experience for yourself what makes Welsh sheep farming unique in the world!
A short drive to our destination, the border market town of Oswestry.
Accommodation: Wynnstay Hotel Oswestry – Dinner at leisure
Breakfast at the Hotel.
This morning we take a scenic drive down the Horseshoe Pass with a short visit to ruins of Valle Crucis Abbey founded in the 13th century.
A hidden gem, a treasure locked away in the Welsh countryside Rug Chapel, was built as a private chapel – a feast of colourful decoration and carved woodwork. Llangollen, a charming little town on the banks of the river Dee.
Visit UNESCO World Heritage site Pontcysyllte Aqueduct built by Thomas Telford, the country’s biggest navigable aqueduct towers a massive 126ft above the river Dee supported by 18 stone piers.
Lunch will be at leisure before our visit to Plas Newydd where Lady Eleanor Butler and Miss Sarah Ponsonby captured the imagination of Regency society. They received a stream of visitors to the unpretentious little cottage which, over the years, they transformed into a Gothic fantasy of projecting stained glass and elaborately carved oak. You can stroll through their gardens and along their riverside walk as William Wordsworth, Sir Walter Scott and the Duke of Wellington have done!
Accommodation: Wynnstay Hotel Oswestry – Farewell Dinner at hotel
Breakfast at the Hotel. Depart for Manchester Airport
Per person based on double occupancy
Not Included: Gratuities, Beverages, other than those served on the included meals & Items of a personal nature.
Book before February 7th to guarantee your space.