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Railways and Castles of Wales

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You are viewing the 2024 itinerary. Select your departure year
20242025
6 days From £695 per person
4.4 stars(389 reviews)
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From incredible railways to historic castles and breathtaking mountain landscapes, discover the rugged beauty of North Wales.

No Single Supplement

No Single Supplement subject to availability on selected departures. 

Mobility Rating 2

2024 Tour code: WDS24

About the tour

Discovering the best of North Wales, we ride amazing railways, visit ancient castles and wander beautiful gardens, each one a testament to the ingenuity and creativity of the Welsh people.

Journey through stunning landscapes on the Ffestiniog Railway and ascend to new heights on the Snowdon Mountain Railway. Step into the unique village of Portmeirion losing yourself in its whimsical charm and explore the medieval Caernarfon Castle, where knights once roamed and battles raged.

Prepare to be swept away by the towering mountains, sparkling lakes, and lush green valleys of Wales that are waiting to be explored.

Unforgettable experiences

Snowdon Mountain Railway
Snowdon Mountain Railway
Enjoy panoramic views from the Snowdon Mountain Railway, travelling up the highest mountain in Wales past a spectacular waterfall, through ancient forests and into the wild, open countryside.
Portmeirion
Portmeirion
Explore the enchanting beauty of Portmeirion and the sensational colours and scents of Plas Cadnant Gardens.
Ffestiniog Railway
Ffestiniog Railway
Step back in time and journey on the Ffestiniog Railway past oak forests and majestic mountain scenery.
Caernarfon
Caernarfon
Explore beautiful castles including Caernarfon Castle, UNESCO-listed Conwy Castle and beautiful Gwydir Castle, where we are shown around by the owners.

What’s included

Itinerary

Day 1 – The coastal beauty of 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. During a drinks reception, we get to know our group and Tour Manager before a four-course dinner in our hotel's award-winning restaurant this evening - the ideal start to our holiday.

Includes
  • Dinner
Day 2 – The historic Ffestiniog Railway and The surreal and romantic atmosphere of Portmeirion

Today we journey from Caernarfon Station to Beddelgert on the Ffestiniog Railway, part of the UNESCO "Slate Landscape of North Wales" World Heritage Site. As we set off, winding from the coast into the mountains, we enjoy panoramic views from the train's large windows. Landscapes stretch as far as Anglesey, and as we draw closer to Snowdon, the incredible peak dominates the horizon. We then descend through a verdant forest, snaking towards the riverside village of Beddgelert, nestled amidst rolling hills.

There's some time to explore the charming village. You could stroll along the river and learn more about the legend of Gelert, the faithful hound of Prince Llewellyn. We then continue by coach to Portmeirion, a village that wouldn't look out of place on the Italian Riviera. There's time to discover this unusual location at leisure wandering the stunning gardens and tranquil lakes.

Our next stop is Porthmadog where we rejoin the Ffestiniog Railway for a different route to Blaenau Ffestiniog. Sitting back to relax, we enjoy the changing scenery as the narrow-gauge steam train winds its way through the mountains, passing by cascading waterfalls, rugged cliffs and panoramic views of the Snowdonia National Park. After passing through remote villages and the secluded, ancient wooded slopes of the valley, we round the spiral at Dduallt before emerging beside the picturesque Llyn Ystradau reservoir.

Includes
  • Breakfast, Dinner
Day 3 – Medieval Caernarfon Castle and the sensational Snowdon Mountain Railway

We begin our day with a guided tour of Caernarfon Castle, a UNESCO World Heritage site which dates back to 1283. One of the best examples of medieval defensive architecture in Europe, its striking polygonal towers are linked by a honeycomb of wall walks and tunnels.

Next, we join the Snowdon Mountain Railway for a journey over the dramatic scenery of the Llanberis Pass. This breathtaking experience takes us to the summit of Wales' highest mountain, Mount Snowdon. Starting from Llanberis, the journey navigates steep gradients through striking landscapes. As we ascend towards the summit, the panoramic views of the Snowdonia National Park unfold, with its rugged mountains, shimmering lakes, and lush green valleys. The train's unique design means we enjoy unobstructed views from every seat, so we don't miss any of the stunning scenery.

Standing at the summit of Snowdonia, the views are truly incredible. Endless rolling hills and towering mountains rise up, while crystal-clear lakes and streams sparkle below. It's a sight that humbles and leaves an impression as we descend back down into the valley below and head back to our hotel.

Early/late season or bad weather means we may only go ¾'s of the way up Snowdon, not to the summit.

Includes
  • Breakfast, Dinner
Day 4 – Discovering timeless Llandudno

You're free to explore Llandudno at your own pace today. The town's nostalgic Victorian pier is well worth a visit and 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. The Llandudno Cable Car is another amazing way to reach the summit of the Great Orme. The leisurely journey takes about nine minutes and soars above the town offering views over the Irish Sea and the Snowdonia mountain range.

Includes
  • Breakfast, Dinner
Day 5 – Imposing Conwy Castle, beautiful Plas Cadnant Gardens, and ancient Gwydir Castle

We make the most of our final full day, exploring the treasures that lie in the shadow of Mount Snowdon. Everywhere we go today, we're accompanied by the striking views of the mountain.

Our first visit is to the 13th-century Conwy Castle, a UNESCO-protected building. A guided tour reveals its intriguing history, from its beginnings as a Cistercian monastery to its role in the War of the Roses. Exploring the dark and winding staircases, we follow the footsteps of the knights, soldiers, and monarchs who once walked these same halls.

The castle's impressive walls, towers, and battlements offer stunning views of the surrounding countryside and coastline, making it an ideal place to get some photos. On a clear day, you can even see the craggy peaks of Snowdon. We then continue to PlasCadnant, a beautiful historic garden hidden in a valley on the Isle of Anglesey. The 200-acre estate features three distinct gardens, each with its own unique character and charm. Here, you can explore the walled garden, secret valley garden, and water garden, all brimming with colourful flowers, ancient trees, and meandering streams.

Our final visit of the day is Gwydir Castle, one of the finest Tudor country houses in Wales. With a rich and illustrious history, the castle is fascinating to discover, and we're treated to an informative guided tour from the current owners. This evening, we celebrate the final evening of our holiday with a delicious 'Taste of Wales' dinner at the hotel.

Includes
  • Breakfast, Dinner
Day 6 – Homeward bound

After breakfast this morning it's time to bid farewell to Wales. Saying goodbye to new friends and fellow travellers, our holiday comes to an end and you can 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

View hotel

Trains

Ffestiniog Railway
Snowdon Mountain Railway
Welsh Highland Railway

Enhance your holiday

Upgrades

Upgrade to a Superior room
UK rail connections

Reviews

4.4 stars4.4 / 5 · 389 reviews

  1. 5 stars
    (213)
  2. 4 stars
    (143)
  3. 3 stars
    (25)
  4. 2 stars
    (3)
  5. 1 star
    (5)

Mrs P. Stockwell

5 stars

Submitted 20/May

Well-organised holiday, excellent manager (Ian Winter), pleasant hotel and wonderful food. I had always wanted to see North Wales, and this trip more than fulfilled that ambition.

Collected by Trustpilot

George Hodges

5 stars

Submitted 20/May

A well organised tour with an expert leader and staying at a well run hotel providing us with excellent meals.

Collected by Trustpilot

David Reay

5 stars

Submitted 19/May

Excellent, well organised and great value. Tour manager a pleasure and hotel a little "faded" but still very nice!

Collected by Trustpilot

Sarah Goudge

5 stars

Submitted 19/May

We had a very enjoyable holiday in North Wales. The hotel was good, the food excellent but our room was a bit small and would have been more comfortable with less furniture. The excursions were all very enjoyable and interesting, especially as we had lovely weather. The Tour Leader was one of the best. He was knowledgeable and nothing was too much trouble for him

Collected by Trustpilot

Paul

4 stars

Submitted 19/May

Very good but quite long days. I think we need a rest now! A good group of people and our tour guide and coach driver were excellent

Collected by Trustpilot

Richard Good

5 stars

Submitted 19/May

A very good tour. Good program of visits Excellent hotel with great food and company. A very caring and helpful tour manager. We will certainly go on another Great Railways holiday.

Collected by Trustpilot

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