Castles, gardens and railways all make an appearance on this enchanting adventure to the beautiful isle of Anglesey, uncovering the sublime charm of North Wales. The small group size of this tour grants us access to another side of such a fairytale nation, granting us entrance to stately homes and gardens as well as a stay at the boutique Trearddur Bay Hotel.
We meet today at the charming seaside village of Trearddur Bay, on the beautiful island of Anglesey. Our base here is the excellent Trearddur Bay Hotel. Available only to small groups, this boutique property is one of the finest places to stay when visiting Anglesey, offering comfort and style from an enviable position looking across the water. After dinner, you may wish to head on out into the village to take a stroll along the beach, taking in the untouched beauty of North Wales at its finest.
We meet our local guide today, who joins us as we venture out across Anglesey today on an excursion which uncovers the island's magnificent stately homes. The island provides a fantastic setting for these mansions, with many built overlooking the ocean or the idyllic countryside that surrounds it. Our first stop is the enchanting Plas Newydd, which we travel to by coach via the pretty towns of Anglesey.
Built on foundations set down in the 13th century, with different sections added over the following centuries, Plas Newydd is a magnificent building, combining the preferred architectural styles of various dynasties since its construction. It sits on the north bank of the Menai Strait, and offers dramatic views of Snowdonia. The interior of the home is a step back to the exuberant luxury and refinement of times gone by, and features some beautiful artworks, including those of famed artist and muralist Rex Whistler, whose acclaimed 'Claudian Fantasy' still hangs within these walls. After some time to explore the house and extensive gardens here, we make the short journey to the cheerful little seaside town of Beaumaris where you are free for lunch.
Later we continue to the second of our stately homes, the historic country estate of Plas Cadnant. Originally a Georgian farm, the various buildings that make up the farm estate are a delight to see, and the hidden gardens offer a botanical wonderland to explore. You have free time here, so be sure to take the time to wander down through the gardens to Cadnant River. Our journey back to Trearrdur Bay takes us down the North and East parts of the island, reveal Anglesey in all it's remarkable beauty.
We cross over to mainland Wales today, making our way across the Menai Strait and passing through Bangor on our way. We are joined by a guide who accompanies us as we head to Llanberis, sat in the shadows of the awe-inspiring Snowdon. Here, we board the Snowdon Mountain Railway which opened in 1869. This nostalgic narrowgauge, rack-and-pinion railway takes us up Wales' tallest mountain, providing us with breathtaking panoramas of the mystical forests below, and the gorgeous Llanberis Pass. We arrive at the Hafod Eryri visitor centre at the top, where you have time to drink in the scenery before our return. Our guide regales us with local stories and fables.
In the afternoon we visit the fantastic Penrhyn Castle. This magnificent country house resembles an ancient Norman castle, complete with towers and spiralling staircases, but is in fact a far more recent construction, having been built in the 19th century for the Neo-Norman revival. The foundations are a great deal older, from the 15th century, and this makes for a truly spectacular stately home, combing the old with the new, the historic with the modern. Take your time to stroll through the exquisite halls and reverent chambers, and be sure to explore the wonderful exteriors which are wrapped in vines overlooking the glorious Welsh countryside before we travel back via coach through the magnificent Ogwen valley.
We cross over to the mainland today for a visit to striking Caernarfon Castle, a mighty fortress that has stood since the 13th century. It was built by the English King Edward I as a means of keeping the Welsh people in check after he conquered Wales in 1283, and has served as an impressive fortification ever since. It's impenetrable walls have seen it stand against a variety of wars including Owain Glyndŵr's uprising and the English Civil War. Since then, Caernarfon Castle has been repaired and refurbished to maintain its indomitable presence in North Wales. After a guided tour, we make our way to Plas Brondanw, a beautiful mansion built by the designer responsible for the famous Italianate town of Portmeirion. The lush gardens with their enchanting horticultural sculptures are a delight to discover. Next, we travel by coach to Beddgelert where we board the fantastic Welsh Highland Railway. This steam rail journey is one of the best in the UK, travelling through the natural paradise of Snowdonia National Park, through green valleys and under ancient mountains, to Caernarfon from where we return to Trearddur Bay.
After breakfast, your time in Anglesey comes to an end, and you are free to depart. Maybe take one last walk through the village before you leave.
All prices are per person and assume full occupancy of the room.
Please always refer to the website for up-to-date prices and availability.
The Snowdon Mountain Railway opened in April 1896 and is a narrow gauge rack and pinion railway, which carries its passengers 4.7 miles (7.6km) up the highest mountain in England and Wales.
Our journey to the summit of Snowdon begins in Llanberis. As we leave the town behind us the train starts its climb, travelling past a spectacular waterfall and through ancient forest until we emerge into the wild, open countryside above the tree line. A quarter of the way up Snowdon we pass the small ruined chapel at Hebron before continuing to Halfway Station - so named because it is situated at the half way point - and then to Rocky Valley Halt.
Immediately after leaving Rocky Valley Halt the train travels along an exposed ridge, which offers breathtaking views of the Llanberis Pass and the volcanic rockface of Clogwyn du'r Arddu. Situated on the ridge is Clogwyn Station - our last stop before the summit.
Enjoy the wonderful panoramic views as we travel towards our destination - 'Hafod Eryri' - the new railway terminus and visitor centre, opened in June 2009. An award-winning structure of granite and glass, Hafod Eryri offers visitors refreshment facilities and an interpretation of the mountain and its history - but perhaps best of all are the views over the rugged Welsh landscape and, on very clear days, the Isle of Man and the Wicklow Mountains in Ireland.
We join the Welsh Highland Railway for a wonderful journey by narrow gauge steam train* through the beautiful Snowdonia National Park. The line originally opened to passengers in 1923 but closed in 1937, having never achieved commercial success. From the early 1960s onwards a group of railway enthusiasts have been working to restore the line and in 2003 the 13-mile (20.9km) section from Caernarfon right the way through to Rhyd Ddu was opened for service once again.
* Journeys are usually by steam train and we utilise these services where available but occasionally the locomotive hauling the train may be diesel.
Our hotel on this tour is the wonderfully cosy and homely Trearddur Bay Hotel. This excellent Boutique hotel enjoys a sublime position near Trearddur Bay and offers warm Welsh hospitality and a range of amenities designed to help you make the most of your stay in Anglesey, including a swimming pool, a bar, and a restaurant. Guest rooms are comfortable with traditional decor and offer complimentary slippers, free Wi-Fi internet, a flat screen television, a seating area, and tea & coffee making facilities.
We offer a selection of upgrades and 'add-ons' designed to help you make the most of your holiday - and make it even easier!
We can book UK rail tickets from your local station to and from the starting/finishing destination of your tour, such as York, London, Edinburgh, and Harrogate. Please call one of our Tour Advisors to discuss your requirements.
Whether as an added luxury, or essential to your enjoyment of the tour, door-to-door luggage collection and delivery services can really enhance your holiday experience. Travelling across Europe by train is so much more relaxing without the burden of your suitcase, and we can help arrange for your case to be collected from home prior to the holiday and for it to be waiting for you at your first main hotel in Europe.
We are pleased to provide the services of the GRJ Luggage Concierge Service - supported by our partner The Baggage Man, offering luggage transport from as little as £50 for one suitcase and £115 for two suitcases.
Please contact us for details of this service.