This 7 day sample tour introduces you to some of the highlights of Wales. It can be shortened and tweaked accordingly to your own preferences.
Please note that medieval castles are NOT included in this tour so you may wish to add an extra day in North Wales or substitute part of the tour so can can visit Conwy or Caernarfon Castle and their medieval towns or the Isle of Anglesey, with its stunning suspension bridge from 1826, which connects the island to mainland Wales and is still in use today.
Met at Manchester Airport by your coach, driver and guide for the duration of your tour.
First stop: Bangor on Dee – home of coracle making for use in traditional fishing for 100s of years. After a basket weaving demonstration and entertaining talk on to Llangollen via the ancient A5 London to Holyhead mail coach route built in the early 1800s by Scottish engineer Thomas Telford.
Leaving Llangollen via the scenic Horseshoe Pass, we travel via Ruthin and Denbigh along an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, called the Vale of Clwyd and to the UK’s smallest cathedral and newest city St Asaph. We will view the statue dedicated to Bishop William Morgan who translated the bible into Welsh in 1588 with the support of Queen Elizabeth I and probably one of the most important documents in Welsh cultural development and history. A copy of this important document is kept on view in the cathedral.
First stop: Bodnant Welsh Food Centre for a Welsh cookery lesson followed by lunch in the Hayloft Restaurant at the Centre.
After lunch: Llechwedd Slate Caverns, Blaenau Ffestiniog, to learn about the life of a slate miner and the new Victorian deep underground tour.
We transfer to the station for our trip on the Ffestiniog Railway – a historic narrow gauge railway, which used to be used for transporting slate from the mines to the docks. Our journey takes us through the scenic Snowdonia National Park to Porthmadog.
Llŷn Peninsula and to the David Lloyd George Museum in Llanystumdwy to find out about the only Welshman and solicitor to become UK Prime Minister and how he introduced old age pensions.
On to Nant Gwrtheyrn, home of the Welsh Language Centre and located in an ex quarry with stunning views overlooking the Irish Sea. Our next stop is Oriel Plas Glyn y Weddw to browse around the gallery of local Welsh artists, followed by a locally sourced lunch in the café.
After lunch: Aberystwyth, which will take about two hours. We can stop off for a break along the way if wished.
On arrival we will take a tour of the National Library of Wales.
Walk around the University City of Aberystwyth for an hour, then we head 9 miles south east to Strata Florida Abbey to learn about the development of Christianity in Wales, non conformism, Quakers (William Penn) and day to day life in the Abbey. Leaving the Abbey, we drive to the village of Tregaron for lunch.
After lunch we walk across the square to Rhiannon Welsh Jewellery where we will have a talk about the classic Welsh jewellery designs which they make from rare Welsh gold. There will be time to browse the shop before heading to Lampeter for overnight.
St David’s – the UK’s smallest city and home of its patron saint with its magnificent cathedral and place of pilgrimage. After a tour we head to Laugharne, famous for its connections with Welsh poet and writer Dylan Thomas. 2014 celebrated 100 years since his birth, we will visit his grave and take a scenic walk to visit Dylan Thomas’ Boathouse and writing shed, where he penned some of his most famous works.
We head via Carmarthen to the National Wool Museum for a tour which tells the history of the woollen industry and its importance to the history and wealth of Wales for many hundreds of years.
Calling at Llandovery to see the statue which commemorates the drovers and the story of David Jones and the Bank of the Black Ox which he founded after making a fortune as a drover and which went on to become one of the UK’s best know banks – Lloyds.
Overnight: Llandeilo – a vibrant town with strong connections to the wool and drovers as well as the Cawdor family and the nearby Welsh home of Prince Charles and Camilla, Duke & Duchess of Cornwall.
Our next stop is to the former Industrial Towns of Merthyr Tydfil and Blaenafon where we can either visit the Big Pitt former coal mine or the ironworks to experience the gruelling life of a coal miner or iron worker, both of which drove the industrial revolution in the UK.
After lunch, we arrive at the National History Museum of Wales, also known as St Fagans. St Fagans comprises a huge collection of authentic buildings, saved from destruction and taken down brick by brick and rebuilt at the museum.
National Museum of Wales in Cardiff to see the important art collection donated to the Welsh people by the Davies Sisters – Gwendoline and Margaret.
Final visit to the home of Welsh political life – the Senedd building in Cardiff Bay for a tour to find out how modern day politics works in Wales and how devolution has enabled Wales to take more control of its cultural heritage and future.
End of Tour