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Railways & Castles of Wales

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A great tour, great hotel, great trips out and a fantastic tour manager.
Mr P Lawrence
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You are viewing the 2019 itinerary

Itineraries and pricing may vary by departure year

(Tour code: WDS19)

Scenic tours through the Welsh countryside

Enjoy a fantastic tour of North Wales, based in charming Llandudno. From here we explore the historic steam railways and impressive castles found along the coastline of this beautiful and mountainous region of Wales.

  • Llandudno
  • Snowdon Mountain Railway
  • National Slate Museum
  • Caernarfon Castle
  • Conwy Castle
  • Bodnant Gardens
  • Welsh Highland Railway
  • Portmeirion
  • Ffestiniog Railway
What’s Included
  • Heritage Rail Excursions
  • 5 Nights' Hotel Accommodation at the Dunoon Hotel, Llandudno
  • Selected Departures Guaranteed

Railways & Castles of Wales 2019Tour Details

Print Itinerary
Day 1 Llandudno

Meet in Llandudno

Our tour 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.

  • Dinner
Day 2 Welsh Highland Railway
Welsh Highland Railway

Railways and Portmeirion

Today we head along the coast to Caernarfon, and join the narrow-gauge Welsh Highland Railway* into the foothills of the Snowdon Mountains to Porthmadog. Here we coach to Portmeirion. This excellent line was opened in what is considered to be the 'Golden Age of rail travel', the roaring 20's. Although it closed only 15 years later, a marvellous effort has come to restore the line, and in 1980 it began running again, to the great pleasure of anyone that has had the fortune of travelling on it.

The particular stretch of line that we are travelling on today was restored and re-opened in 2011, and takes us through the spectacular rolling hills and dipping valleys that are so synonymous with Wales. The windows in the marvellously restored carriages are large, perfect for watching the breathtaking views that sail past just outside them, and the seats are extremely comfortable, giving you no better way to see the countryside as it is meant to be seen.

On arrival in Porthmadog, we transfer to Portmeirion, which we get acquainted with on a short guided tour. This tiny tourist village started construction in 1925, after being designed by architect Clough Williams-Ellis in a rather successful attempt to re-create a village the likes of which you would see in the Italian Riviera: something that has been achieved to a marvellous effect. Portmeirion finished construction 52 years later, and now enjoys numerous visitors who come to enjoy the calming sea views, the lovely architecture, and verdant greenery.

After some time here at leisure, perhaps perusing the quaint souvenir shops, we return 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 of the locomotives is over 150 years old, and has been impeccably maintained to guarantee a marvellous train riding experience.

* Steam hauled where possible


Please note: For Departures WDS1902, WDS1914 & WDS1916 Day 2 and Day 5 are swapped over. For Departure WDS1901, WDS1907 & WDS1903 you will visit the National Slate Museum then the Snowden Mountain Railway.

  • Breakfast, Dinner
Day 3 Caernarfon Castle
Caernarfon Castle

Caernarfon Castle & Snowdon

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.

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.

†Please note the first two departures are unlikely to reach the summit as it is too early in the season. Reaching the summit is dependent on weather conditions.


For Departures WDS1906 & WDS1911 Day 3 and Day 5 are swapped over. For Departure WDS1901 & 1903 you will visit the Conwy Castle and Bodnant Gardens. WDS1907 will be a free day.

  • Breakfast, Dinner
Day 4 Llandudno

At leisure in Llandudno

Today you are 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. The fantastic Great Orme Tramway is another option; this excellent transport system takes passengers up to the top of the Great Orme, an impressive headland which stands watch over Llandudno and offers some striking views across the bay. Originally opened in 1905, this is the only cable operated tramway in Britain and is a wonderful way to spend an afternoon.

Please note: For Departure WDS1907 you will visit Portmeirion, the Welsh Highland Railway and Ffestiniog Railways.

  • Breakfast, Dinner
Day 5 Conwy Castle
Conwy Castle

Conwy Castle and Bodnant Garde

This morning we visit Conwy Castle, a wonderfully preserved 13th century castle that stands in majestic ruins over the town of Conwy. A guided tour reveals its intriguing history. We also visit Plas Mawr, a lovely whitewashed building that holds the title of the bestpreserved Elizabethan townhouse in Britain. We then continue to Bodnant Garden, which spans 80 acres, including a beautiful wild garden. This evening we enjoy a 'Taste of Wales' farewell dinner at the hotel.


Please note: For Departures WDS1902, WDS1914 & WDS1916 Day 2 and Day 5 are swapped over.

Please note: For Departures WDS1906 & WDS1911 Day 3 and Day 5 are swapped over. WDS1907 will visit Conwy Castle and Bodnant Gardens.

  • Breakfast, Dinner
Day 6 Llandudno

Homeward bound

The tour concludes after breakfast this morning, and you are free to depart Llandudno at your leisure.

  • Breakfast

Please note

Please note ** Diesel service in April & October Itinerary and excursions may vary on some departures.

For Departure WDS1909 the itinerary day excursions are in a different order. Day 2 is Conway and Bodant. Day 3 is Caernarfon, Portmeirion and Ffestiniog. Day 4 is a free day, Day 5 is Caernarfon Castle and the National Slate Museum.


Recommended airport

We recommend that for this tour you arrange flights to and from Manchester Airport (MAN), which is approximately 76 miles from your base in Llandudno. 

Visa Requirements

It is your responsibility to check and fulfil the passport, visa, health and immigration requirements applicable to your itinerary. We do not accept any responsibility if you cannot travel, or incur any other loss because you have not complied with any passport, visa, immigration requirements or health formalities. You agree to reimburse us in relation to any fines or other losses which we incur as a result of your failure to comply with any passport, visa, immigration requirements or health formalities.

Departure Times

Provisional departure and return times, where available, can be found together with our dates and prices by clicking on the 'Prices & Availability' button. We write to all booked customers approximately 10 weeks prior to the start of their tour to advise the exact departure and return time for their particular group.

What’s included

An escorted experience and travel during your tour

  • The services of a professional Tour Manager
  • Standard Class rail and coach travel throughout your tour

Comfortable accommodation in your destination

  • 5 nights' hotel accommodation at the Dunoon Hotel in Llandudno

Delicious meals included

  • 10 meals including 5 breakfasts and 5 dinners with a farewell 'Taste of Wales' gala dinner accompanied by a local harpist


Exciting excursions and free time to explore

  • Snowdon Mountain Railway
  • Scenic rail journeys on the Welsh Highland Railway and Ffestiniog Railway
  • Tours of Caernarfon Castle and Conwy Castle
  • Visits to Plas Mawr and Bodnant Gardens,
  • Excursion to Portmeirion
  • Visit to the National Slate Museum

Not Included

  • Flights and airport transfers


What our customers think

of travellers would recommend this tour

Tour Rating

based on 13 verified reviews

Tour Manager recommendation

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.

Kenneth Owen - Tour Manager
Vaugnel Fletcher
Dimitri Zgonis
Yung-Mei Choi
Railways & Castles of Wales

Scenic tours through the Welsh countryside


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