Set in the verdant and picturesque river Conwy valley, this tour is focused on the famous Wynn family, who lived during the Tudor dynasty of Kings and Queens. Our first visit is to the historic village of Llanrwst and GWYDIR CASTLE & GARDENS – a fine example of a Tudor courtyard house, with Welsh history oozing out of every wall, ceiling, floor & blade of grass. The most famous dynasty to live at Gwydir, the Wynns, were founded around 1490 after the Wars of the Roses and were renowned supporters of the new Tudor King, Henry VII on his way to the throne of England and beyond. Sir Charles Barry of Houses of Parliament fame, had a hand in Gwydir in the 19th Century, but it has to be said probably one of its most famous residents in the late 1500s was “Mam Cymru” or “Mother of Wales”, Katherain de Berain – the Za Za Gabor or Elizabeth Taylor of Elizabeth I times. Other famous visitors range from royal lovers, to translators of the Welsh bible and many royals themselves, so when Judy Corbett and her husband Peter Welford took on the mammoth rescue and restoration of Gwydir Castle to the magnificent Tudor building and gardens it is today they can be rightly proud of their achievement and are delighted to open their home to visitors.
We then travel just around the corner for a bite to eat in the 14th century Tu Hwnt i’r Bont, originally a court house and now a pretty ivy-covered Welsh tea room, located right next to the river Conwy.
After lunch we continue along the river Conwy to the pretty village of Trefriw and Trefriw Woollen Mill to discover the importance of Welsh wool over so many centuries. The Williams family took over the running of the mill 50 years ago and are still there today. There’s a herb garden used for dying the wool, a small museum and also an opportunity to see Welsh blankets being woven on a loom (subject to timings). There’s also a café serving home-made scones or bara brith and a selection of woollen goods in the shop.
This tour is available as a cruise ship excursion from Holyhead or as a full day coach tour from Chester, Llandudno or Caernarfon. Note: Gwydir Castle is open Wed to Sun and Bank Holiday Mondays.