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Railways and Castles of Wales

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4.4 stars(94 reviews)
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Small Group

Scenic tours through the Welsh countryside

You are viewing the 2021 itinerary. Select your departure year
20212022
6 days From £775 per person

2021 Tour code: WDS21

About the tour

From our base in charming Llandudno, we experience the very best of North Wales. Soak up scenery as we ride aboard historic steam railways, and step back in time as we visit the impressive castles dotted along the coastline of this beautiful, mountainous region.

Highlights

What’s included

Itinerary

Day 1 - Llandudno

Our holiday begins in the 'Queen of Welsh Resorts', Llandudno, where we meet at the Dunoon Hotel. Llandudno is a fabulous seaside resort which in places has remained virtually unchanged since the Victorian era. Nestled on Wales' rugged north coast and surrounded by the natural wonder of Snowdonia National Park, this is an ideal base for our explorations. We enjoy a drinks reception before dinner in the hotel's award-winning restaurant.

Includes
  • Dinner
Day 2 - Portmeirion and Ffestiniog Railway

Our journey takes us along the coast to Caernarfon, for a journey on the Welsh Highland Railway*. This narrow-gauge line was opened in what is considered the 'Golden Age of rail travel', the roaring 20s, and an effort by rail enthusiasts have since brought it back to life. We wind through scenic countryside and into the foothills of the Snowdon Mountain range to Beddgelert, admiring craggy mountain peaks, trickling streams, and lush valleys. We transfer to Portmeirion for a guided tour. This tiny tourist village was designed in 1925 by architect Clough Williams-Ellis, who wanted to create a town that wouldn't look out of place on the Italian Riviera, something that has been achieved to extraordinary effect. We continue to Porthmadog to join the narrow-gauge Ffestiniog Railway to Blaenau Ffestiniog - our second heritage rail journey of the day. Owned by the oldest railway company in the world, this particular line has a history dating back 200 years, with the oldest locomotives used being over 150 years old. *Steam-hauled where possible.

Includes
  • Breakfast, Dinner
Day 3 - Caernarfon Castle & Snowdon

We begin with a guided tour of Caernarfon Castle, a UNESCO World Heritage site which dates back to 1283. This is one of the best examples of medieval defensive architecture in Europe, with striking polygonal towers linked by a honeycomb of wall walks and tunnels. As we wander through the ancient complex, it's easy to imagine what life must have been like for the soldiers of Edward I that lived here. Next, we travel over the dramatic scenery of the Llanberis Pass to Llanberis, where we visit the National Slate Museum to learn about the history of quarrying and slate in Wales. Later, we board the Snowdon Mountain Railway for an unforgettable journey by traditional diesel service to the summit* of Snowdon at 3,494 feet. We travel up the rugged sides of Wales' highest mountain in comfortable carriages, admiring the rugged natural scenery of Snowdonia National Park. We arrive at the summit, where the view was voted as 'the best view in Britain'. On a clear day, it's possible to see the Isle of Man and Ireland's Wicklow Mountains. Back at our hotel, we're joined by guests from the Llandudno museum for a talk on the history on Llandudno before dinner.

*Departure and weather dependent.

Includes
  • Breakfast, Dinner
Day 4 - A free day in Llandudno

You're free to explore Llandudno. The town's nostalgic Victorian pier is well worth a visit. Built in 1878, it boasts the title of the longest pier in Wales. Here you'll enjoy excellent views of the seafront promenade and Llandudno behind you, as well as a number of traditional seaside attractions, food stalls, and shops. Another option is to take a trip on the Great Orme Tramway, which takes you from Llandudno through a country park up to the summit of Great Orme, where you can enjoy outstanding views of the town and coastline.

Includes
  • Breakfast, Dinner
Day 5 - Conwy Castle and Bodnant Garden

This morning we visit Conwy Castle, a wonderfully preserved and UNESCO-protected 13th-century castle. A guided tour reveals its intriguing history, from its humble beginnings as a Cistercian monastery to its role in the War of the Roses, and its eventual ruin in the 17th century. Our next visit is to Plas Mawr. The best preserved Elizabethan townhouse in Britain, it has stood unchanged since the 16th century and offers an incredible insight into life in the 1500s. Finally, we visit Bodnant Garden, an explosion of colour and scents that spans 80 acres and includes a beautiful wild garden. This evening we enjoy a 'Taste of Wales' farewell dinner at the hotel, accompanied by a harpist. 

Includes
  • Day 5 - Breakfast, Dinner
  • Day 6 - Breakfast
Day 6 - Home

On  Day 6 our holiday concludes, and you are free to depart Llandudno.

Includes
  • Breakfast

Additional information

Please note

Please note: The itinerary order may differ dependent on departure. Please call for more details.

Departure times

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.

Mobility information

Due to the nature of our tours they are generally unsuitable for those with restricted mobility. If you’d like to discuss any particular holiday with us in this respect, then please don’t hesitate to call us.

Hotel

Dunoon Hotel, Llandudno

Dunoon Hotel, Llandudno

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Trains

Ffestiniog Railway
Snowdon Mountain Railway
Welsh Highland Railway

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Upgrades

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UK rail connections

Reviews

4.4 stars4.4 / 5 · 94 reviews

  1. 5 stars
    (47)
  2. 4 stars
    (40)
  3. 3 stars
    (5)
  4. 2 stars
    (1)
  5. 1 star
    (1)

Therese Dunn

4 stars

Submitted 2/Jul

The holiday was very enjoyable, hotel was fine. Our guide Elaine was very helpful and everything was well organised.

Collected by Trustpilot

J Mckay

5 stars

Submitted 1/Jul

CONSIDERING THE COVID RESTRICTIONS EVERYTHING WENT TO PLAN

Collected by Trustpilot

Patricia Barnicott

4 stars

Submitted 30/Jun

We enjoyed this tour very much - especially the trips on the 3 little trains - the Ffestiniog Railway, the West Highland Railway and Snowdon Mountain Railway. The guided tours of Conwy and Caernarfon Castles were very good and the guides very knowledgeable. The Dunoon Hotel was excellent and the food good. Portmeiron still as magical and the Hidden Garden amazing. Our guide was courteous and always on the tours with us - we felt she could have done more.

Collected by Trustpilot

Jill

5 stars

Submitted 30/Jun

Lovely trip. It was a busy schedule but very well organised and I enjoyed being able to visit so many different places. Great food at the hotel and the staff were very helpful.

Collected by Trustpilot

Vanessa Farmer

5 stars

Submitted 29/Jun

Wonderful holiday Guide and Coach drivers excellent , there knowledge was outstanding Hotel dining exquisite Could not fault a thing Saving for our next trip with you

Collected by Trustpilot

Mr Richardson

4 stars

Submitted 24/Jun

Enjoyable tour. Tour guide was excellent and the places and journeys visited were mostly outstanding

Collected by Trustpilot

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Europe & UK by Rail 2021

Europe & UK by Rail 2021

The definitive guide to our 2021 summer & winter rail holidays to a wide range of destinations in Europe. When ordering for postal delivery, you will only receive our collection of European holidays. If you are interested in UK holidays, please download an ebrochure below.

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Railways and Castles of Wales

Scenic tours through the Welsh countryside

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