10 Days / 9 Nights
Explore Wales' language, history, culture and meet its people up close and personal. Idwal Jones is renowned for guiding tours that bring the beautiful country of Wales to life.
Day 1: Arrival in Wales (D)
The tour begins outside the New Blossoms Hotel, Chester at 9:30am. We then travel a few miles to the West crossing the border into Wales. Here we board a narrowboat and enjoy our morning coffee whilst crossing the world famous 200-year-old Thomas Telford Aqueduct. From here, we will journey to the small town of Llangollen where we will visit the historic Plas Newydd – Former home to the famous Ladies of Llangollen. Discover why these two aristocratic ladies eloped to Wales in 1778. We will then travel to our accommodation and will enjoy a welcome dinner at the hotel. Overnight: Seiont Manor, Caernarfon
Day 2: Special villages of North Wales (B, D)
This morning, we will journey to the Italian-style Village of Portmeirion which was created by architect Clough Williams-Ellis between 1925 and 1972. Here we will enjoy a private tour with one of the resident guides followed by time to enjoy the gardens and extensive woodlands surrounding the village. We will then travel to Porthmadog and board the Welsh Highland Railway where we will enjoy the picturesque journey to Beddgelert, a beautiful village located in Snowdonia. Discover the grave of Gelert, the faithful hound of Llywelyn the Great who was Prince of Gwynedd from 1195 – 1240. Overnight: Seiont Manor, Caernarfon
Day 3: Discover Anglesey (B, D)
The Isle of Anglesey is located off the north-west coast of Wales and access to the island is over one of two picturesque bridges. The oldest is Thomas Telford’s Suspension Bridge constructed in 1826, and this was followed in 1850 with the construction by Robert Stephenson of the Britannia Bridge. Our first visit on the island will be to Penmon, a peaceful and secluded corner on the south east of the island where we view the sombre ruins of a 13thC Augustinian Priory. Nearby is the ancient church of St Seiriol and a Holy Well that dates to pre-Christian times.
After a stop at the historic town of Beaumaris we drive the short distance to Oriel Mon (Anglesey Art Gallery). The Oriel is a show place for local artists and crafts-people and houses the works of the well-known wildlife artist C. F. Tunnicliffe and Sir Kyffin Williams the Welsh landscape painter. The Oriel is also a fascinating museum illustrating the island’s history, culture and wildlife. No visit to the Island is complete without the obligatory photo stop at Llanfairpwllgwyngychgogerychwyrndrobwyllllantysuliogogogoch – the smallest village with the longest name in the world. Overnight: Seiont Manor, Caernarfon
Day 4: Touring Llyn Peninsula (B, L, D)
Today we travel to the Llyn Peninsula which is the extreme North West of Wales. This is a particularly pretty drive and warrants several stops along the way to admire the views. Our destination is the former fishing a quarrying village of Nant Gwrtheyrn which is now a Heritage and Language Centre that specialises in providing residential Welsh courses to adults. After a light lunch, we will take a tour of the site, visit the Old Chapel which is now the Heritage Centre, and then to the classroom to enjoy taking part in a short basic ‘Welsh for beginner’s course’ with a tutor. The next part of our journey takes us to the Nantlle Valley and to the home of Richard and Iola Huws at Pant Du. This was a small sheep farm when they bought it in 2003 and set about planting several hundred vines. Pant Du Vineyard produced its first bottle of wine in 2010. They also have an extensive orchard from which they produce award winning cider and apple juice. After a tour of the vineyard and orchard we will have dinner and some wine tasting to round off the evening. Overnight: Seiont Manor, Caernarfon
Day 5: Fun filled day with the locals (B, T, D)
This morning we travel to Llanllechid, a small village in Snowdonia, to meet the staff and children of a typical Welsh village primary school, where the language of the school is entirely Welsh. On previous tours this visit has been the highlight for many of our participants. We can look forward to a warm welcome by the staff and the children who will provide us with entertainment as only children can. In the afternoon we meet the members of Llanfairfechan Bowling Club for a friendly game of Crown Green Bowling. Lots of fun and laughter is guaranteed, followed by tea and cake. We will then check in to our hotel in Llandudno, enjoy an early dinner and listen to a concert performed by Côr y Penrhyn at St John’s Methodist Church. This is one of Wales’ oldest and best-known male choirs which was formed back in the 1880s by workers in the slate industry, now the 70 strong members aged between 16 and 85 come from all walks of life. Overnight: Belmont Hotel, Llandudno
Day 6: Exploring Llandudno and Conwy (B, D)
This morning, we will enjoy a walk along the wide promenade of the delightful, Victorian seaside resort of Llandudno. We will then board Britain’s only remaining cable operated street tramway taking us up 680 feet to the Great Orme Country Park. The geology, wildlife, archaeology and landscape of the Great Orme is of such importance that much of the headland has been designated a Special Area of Conservation, a Site of Special Scientific Interest and a Heritage Coast. We will enjoy the magnificent views over the Irish Sea and the town below. Conwy is one of the best examples of a medieval ‘Walled Town’ and has one of the most impressive of all the Welsh castles. We will visit the castle and then have time for lunch and explore other places of interest in the town. In the afternoon our journey will take us to the National Trust’s Gardens at Bodnant. This is one of Wales’ premier gardens, located on an 80-acre site with spectacular views across the Snowdonia Mountains. Overnight: Belmont Hotel, Llandudno
Day 7: Scenery and greenery (B, T, D)
Morning at leisure. This afternoon, we will enjoy tea at the most photographed tea room in Britain. ‘Ty Hwnt i’r Bont’ has the reputation of having the best Scones and Welsh Cakes in the area. We then walk the short distance to Gwydir Castle, a fine example of a fortified manor house dating back to the 15th C. The property is being restored by the owners Peter and Judy Welford. Gwydir is regarded as one of the finest Tudor houses in Wales and was once the ancestral home of the powerful Wynn family. The historic gardens at Gwydir Castle deserve a mention as they are amongst the very few in Wales accorded Grade 1 listed status. The Old Dutch Garden is famous for its yew avenue of 22 huge trees. The Knot Garden in the Courtyard was laid out in 1828 by Sir Charles Barry, the famous architect, in the form of a Tudor Rose. The fine wisteria, which adorns the Hall Range, was also planted in 1828, the same year that peacocks are claimed to have been introduced to the gardens. Read about the restoration in Judy’s book ‘Castles in the Air’. Overnight: Belmont Hotel, Llandudno
Day 8: Cooking and pottery (B, L, D)
This morning, we will have a cooking workshop in the fabulous Dylan’s restaurant here in Llandudno, known for their fresh local produce! After the morning of learning, we will reward ourselves with lunch there. After lunch we journey to remote woodland by Porth Llwyd Falls to meet Vicky Buxton at her pottery studio and workshop. Vicky makes a selection of ceramics, decorative stoneware and porcelain and we will see her at work and maybe get the opportunity to see if we can ‘throw a pot’. Overnight: Belmont Hotel, Llandudno
Day 9: Hill farm and hidden gardens (B, T, D)
Enjoy a morning at the Carneddau Mountain Range today with sheep farmer and local celebrity, the “tweeting Farmer”, Gareth Wyn Jones who also presents the famous Royal Welsh Agricultural Show. Explore life on a Welsh hill farm, as well as visiting the site of an ancient settlement thought to be the oldest axe factory in the world! And if that wasn’t enough, you will have the chance to catch a glimpse of the elusive Carneddau Mountain ponies, a unique breed that have been isolated for at least several hundred years. We then meet the ladies of the village of Abergwyngregyn, visit their gardens and afterwards join them for tea and homemade cake at the home of one of the ladies. These ladies are all members of the local gardening club that has raise a phenomenal amount of money for good causes over many years. Recognising this good work, and the warm welcome they extend to visitors to their village, we will give a donation on behalf of the group for their chosen charity. We will have farewell dinner at a local pub tonight. Overnight: Belmont Hotel, Llandudno
Day 10: Departure Journey
Today, you will depart Wales for your continued journey.