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Railways and Castles of Wales

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4.4 stars(230 reviews)
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The very best of North Wales by rail

6 days From £695 per person

2022 Tour code: WDS22

About the tour

From our base in charming Llandudno, we experience the very best of North Wales. Soak up the 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 our hotel. Nestled on Wales' rugged north coast and surrounded by the backdrop 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 - Caernarfon Castle and the Welsh Highland Railway

We begin our day with a guided tour of Caernarfon Castle, a UNESCO World Heritage site that dates back to 1283. This is one of the best examples of medieval defensive architecture in Europe, with striking towers linked by a honeycomb of walls and tunnels. Next, we travel over the dramatic scenery of the Llanberis Pass to Llanberis, where we visit the National Slate Museum before a scenic coastal journey along the coast aboard the Welsh Highland Railway from Beddgelert.

Includes
  • Breakfast, Dinner
Day 3 – Conwy Castle, the Ffestiniog Railway and Portmeirion

We visit Conwy Castle, a UNESCO-protected 13th-century castle. A guided tour reveals its intriguing history, from its beginnings as a Cistercian monastery to its role in the War of the Roses. Next, we transfer to Blaenau Ffestiniog where we join the narrow-gauge Ffestiniog Railway to Porthmadog. With a 200-year-old history, we enjoy a nostalgic trip back in time during our trip. Our final port of call today is Portmeirion. You have free time in this unusual village, which 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.

Includes
  • Breakfast, Dinner
Day 4 - 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 - Plas Cadnant and the Snowdon Mountain Railway

Our first excursion is to Plas Cadnant, a quaint country estate on the isle of Anglesey boasting beautiful gardens which have been lovingly restored to the previous Georgian splendour. With free time to wander as you wish, marvel at the unusual walled garden, the secret valley garden and the shaded upper woodland garden. Afterwards, we board the Snowdon Mountain Railway for a heritage journey up Wales' highest mountain. Offering views over the panoramic scenery of Snowdonia National Park, on a clear day, keep a look out for the Isle of Man and Ireland's Wicklow Mountains. Lastly, we visit Gwydir Castle, one of the finest Tudor country houses in Wales. We discover its beguiling history with an informative guided tour from the current owners before celebrating the final evening of our holiday with a delicious 'Taste of Wales' gala dinner at our hotel.

Includes
  • Breakfast, Dinner
Day 6 – Home

Our holiday concludes, and you're free to make your way home or continue exploring at your own pace.

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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UK rail connections

Reviews

4.4 stars4.4 / 5 · 230 reviews

  1. 5 stars
    (122)
  2. 4 stars
    (84)
  3. 3 stars
    (17)
  4. 2 stars
    (2)
  5. 1 star
    (5)

Tony Mason

3 stars

Submitted 21/Jun

Trip 8 to 13 June - We had a revised timetable which we thought wouldn't matter. However - this did mean that we went up Snowdon railway on the one very wet and windy day which was a complete waste of time sadly and then next day (fine, sunny, still windy) we visited the Slate Museum practically opposite the Snowdon terminus. Not sure why these could not be arranged for the same day as it meant the same fairly long drive two days running. We found the whole trip rather rushed with little time (1 hour each) at the castles. There were excellent local guides at these and it was a shame that their talks and the tours had to be curtailed. We did have an excellent coach driver though who gave us a running commentary throughout. To be honest I am not quite sure what the Tour Manager did, maybe he coped calmly with crises behind the scenes but when we have done other similar tours with another company, the Tour Manager has given us commentary and information on the coach. We found the Dunoon Hotel adequate - rather small rooms and even smaller bathrooms - but the staff made up for this as we found them very helpful. We found the meals to be rather variable though - some were excellent others rather lacking. I was disappointed that I had to remind them each time and ask about my food allergy previously notified through the Company.

Collected by Trustpilot

Norok Designs

1 stars

Submitted 21/Jun

I have already completed my survey last week. Found trip uninteresting and did not expect to spend up to two hours a day being ferried about in a coach.

Collected by Trustpilot

Peter Harrison

4 stars

Submitted 20/Jun

We feel cheated because the original itinerary was not followed. Snowdon was done on Thursday - dreadful weather, should if been on Sunday - weather fine. Welsh Highland railway should have been Thursday but was done on Sunday. Unfortunately a road accident prevented us reaching the start destination. The other railway journey was okay. The visit to the castles were rushed and no time to look around. Considering this is advertised as Railwayd and Castles of Wales the daily excursions were disappointing. However the hotel and food was good but not outstanding .

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Mrs Anita Scargill

5 stars

Submitted 15/Jun

The whole tour was well organised. The Tour Managet, Charles White, was excellent and very knowledgeable and made the whole experience interesting. He is the best Tour Manager I have ever had and I do a lot of travelling. It was s scenical journey every day.

Collected by Trustpilot

Robert Edwards

5 stars

Submitted 30/May

Well organised tour with small group of Friendly travellers. I really enjoyed the vintage railways, Ffestiniog and Welsh Highland Railways. Conwy Castle also very interesting. Helpful and friendly tour guide.

Collected by Trustpilot

B Chard

5 stars

Submitted 30/May

I enjoyed it very much. it was well organised and thought out. The trains were the highlight but also Gwydir Castle was fascinating. I found it quite tiring and wondered if two places per day may be better.

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The very best of North Wales by rail

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