Scenic tours through the Welsh countryside
Enjoy a fantastic tour of North Wales from our base in charming Llandudno. Ride aboard historic steam railways and visit the impressive castles found along the coastline of this beautiful and mountainous region of Wales.
Our holiday begins as you meet your Tour Manager in Llandudno, where we stay at the Dunoon Hotel. This fabulous seaside resort, sometimes referred to as the 'Queen of the Welsh Resorts', is the ideal base from which to enjoy our explorations of Wales, thanks in part to its marvellous history in welcoming travellers and guests to its delightful sandy beaches.
Tonight we meet for a drinks reception ahead of our first dinner together in the hotel's award-winning restaurant.
Today we head along the coast to Caernarfon, joining the narrow-gauge Welsh Highland Railway* for a journey into the foothills of the Snowdon Mountain Range to Beddgelert. This excellent line was opened in what is considered to be the 'Golden Age of rail travel', the roaring 20s. Although it closed only 15 years later, a marvellous effort has brought the line back to life, and in 1980 it began running again.
On arrival in Beddgelert, we transfer to Portmeirion by coach for a short guided tour. This tiny tourist village was designed by architect Clough Williams-Ellis, in 1925, who wanted to create a town that wouldn't look out of place on the Italian Riviera: something that has been achieved to a marvellous effect. Construction of Portmeririon was finished 52 years later, and now enjoys numerous visitors, who come to enjoy the calming sea views, the lovely architecture, and abundant greenery.
After some time at leisure, perhaps perusing the quaint souvenir shops, we travel to Porthmadog to join the narrow-gauge Ffestiniog Railway* to Blaenau Ffestiniog.
The second heritage railway that we travel on today is owned by the same company as the Welsh Highland Railway, and it boasts the title of being the oldest railway company in the world. This particular line is short but sweet, and has a history dating back nearly 200 years.
There are a number of locomotives that operate on this line, some of them steam, but the oldest among them are over 150 years old, and has been impeccably maintained to guarantee a marvellous experience.
*Steam-hauled where possible
We begin our day with a guided tour of the impressive Caernarfon Castle, a UNESCO World Heritage site. Marvel at the iconic polygonal towers of this famed attraction. As we wander through the sprawling ancient complex, it is easy to imagine what life must have been like for the soldiers that lived here - from the legions of Rome to the armies of Edward I.
After the tour of the castle, we then travel over the rather dramatic scenery of the Llanberis Pass to Llanberis, where we visit the National Slate Museum which outlines the history of quarrying and slate in Wales since the original quarry was opened in 1870. Later, we board the Snowdon Mountain Railway's diesel service, which climbs to the summit* of Snowdon at 3,494 feet (weather dependent).
Enjoy travelling up the rugged sides of Wales' highest mountain in the comfortable, and rather modern, carriages of this wonderful service. Mingled with the everunchanging scenery of Snowdonia National Park, it can be all to easy to lose yourself in the amazing and immersive experience of this fantastic mountain railway. Hopefully, if the weather is good, you are able to reach the summit† and marvel at the spectacular panorama that is laid out before you, as you enjoy a scene that was just this year voted 'the best view in Britain'.
This evening, we return to our hotel and enjoy a talk on the history of Llandudno ahead of dinner by special guests from the Llandudno Museum.
*April departures will not travel to the summit
Today is at leisure to explore Llandudno. The nostalgic Victorian pier is well worth a visit. Built in 1878, this charming attraction provides excellent views of the seafront promenade. It also has the lovely title of being the longest pier in Wales, taking you out into the sea and giving a delightful view of Llandudno behind you.
This morning we visit Conwy Castle, a wonderfully preserved 13th-century castle. A guided tour reveals its intriguing history, from its initial and somewhat humble beginnings as a Cistercian monastery and its part played in the War of the Roses, to its eventual ruin in the 17th century. It is now a UNESCO World Heritage site, a title which it shares with many of the castles built on the borders of King Edward that are scattered throughout Wales.
We also visit Plas Mawr, the best preserved Elizabethan townhouse in Britain. Constructed over the course of 9 years, what is perhaps most striking about this white-washed house is its lovely crow-stepped gables and the heraldry that stands out above the door. It has stood unchanged since the 16th century, and is therefore an incredible insight into how life was in the 1500s. We then continue to Bodnant Garden, which spans 80 acres and includes a beautiful wild garden, an explosion of colour and scents. This evening we enjoy a 'Taste of Wales' farewell dinner at the hotel with a harpist.
The tour concludes after breakfast this morning, and you are free to depart Llandudno at your leisure.
Please note: The itinerary order may differ dependent on departure. Please call for more details.
On many of our UK & Ireland tours, you may check in at the first hotel on your itinerary anytime after 14:00; your Tour Manager will be available between 16:00 and 18:00. You will receive a welcome drink at 18.00 just before dinner at 18.30.
An escorted experience and all travel arrangements
Comfortable accommodation in your destination
Delicious meals included
Exciting excursions and free time to explore
Enhancing your tour
Please note: This tour may be suitable for reduced mobility passengers, please call for further information.
of travellers would recommend this tour
based on 12 verified reviews
Great itinerary and accommodation. Excellent Tour Manager
An excellent holiday in all respects
Full marks for a well-organised tour. The Dunoon hotel had an exceptional chef and apart from the desserts, which were unchanged and unappetising until the last night, when the chef showed what he could do in the dessert department too. Having an optional cheese course was a real bonus.I would have awarded five stars, but our room and bathroom were very small. Other guests had much larger rooms and were very happy with them. Exceptional coach driver and interesting guides.
it did everything that brochure said but probably tried to cover too much. having a full free day could have been utilised better
Very good but bathroom was very small. Hardly room to turn round.
Everything was as specified.
Excellent itinerary, hotel, and mostly good weather.
Very enthusiastic guide who thought of everything to please the group. Amazing weather for our trip to the top of Snowdon! Loved the train journeys and obvious enjoyment of all the staff involved. Lovely hotel carefully treasuring a sense of yesteryear elegance. The chefs surpassed themselves each day, with good healthy varieties of local specialties. Excellent staff who were always available to help. Definitely would return to explore more. Thank you so much.
An interesting holiday in an unfamiliar area; a good hotel, an excellent Coach Driver and Tour manager; and a brilliant trip up Snowdon on the train.
Well organised. Great itinerary. Excellent tour manager. Lovely hotel. Great coach driver also.
This very popular tour offers such a variety of excursions from our comfortable family run hotel in carefully preserved Llandudno sea side resort. There are three heritage railway journeys, a horse drawn canal ride, Portmeirion Italian style village and Caernarfon Castle to explore. Llandudno has lots of things to do on a free day. The Great Orme tramway has to be a must for all our passengers. Tip: sit backwards going up for the best view of Llandudno Bay. The coach journeys involve lovely scenery.
Scenic tours through the Welsh countryside