Experience the rich Celtic heritage, stunning scenery and unique culture in South, West & North Wales
8 days/7 nights from London
Croeso i Gymru! Welcome to Wales!
This tour begins and ends in London, UK.
Depart London; a rare bit of motorway driving brings us across the Severn into Wales. Our first stop is at Chepstow, on the River Wye. The town’s castle was the first Norman stone castle in Wales and it stands on the cliff top overlooking the Wye. This is the area where Harry Potter author JK Rowling grew up.
Next travel up the Wye Valley to Tintern Abbey, one of the most beautifully situated ruins in the country. William Wordsworth found inspiration here for one of his loveliest poems.
We will spend tonight in the capital city of Cardiff, with the evening free to enjoy the nightlife independently. Cardiff has a growing reputation for fine dining. As well as local Welsh flavours, here too are some of the UK’s best international restaurants. Going out in Cardiff has never been better, with a huge choice of pubs, clubs and cafes as well for those wanting a big night out on the town.
See the highlights of Cardiff, this city of Roald Dahl and Dr Who fame, on a walking tour of the Docklands area with your guide. Then enjoy some free time to visit as you choose. Dr Who fans may choose the interactive museum Dr Who Experience. Those with more traditional tastes may choose to see Cardiff Castle. The foundations of the castle date back to 50AD, and the imposing building walled with elaborate gargoyles is a 19th century gothic fantasy.
This afternoon see the open-air Museum of Welsh Life in the village of St Fagans. This fascinating mirror of hundreds of years of Welsh life embraces dozens of authentic buildings, removed from all corners of the country and painstakingly and faithfully rebuilt and refurbished here. Houses, churches and chapels, a mill, bakery, pubs and even a school, have been wonderfully preserved.
Next we travel west, exploring some of the scenery that inspired some of the finest of Welsh literature. Dylan Thomas described Laugharne as “this timeless, mild, beguiling island of a town…” Many characters from his poem Under Milk Wood were based on local people.
Our West Wales base is the picturesque resort town of Tenby. This lovely place boasts Tudor and Georgian buildings, narrow streets, beautiful, sandy beaches and original medieval walls.
Today will be a lovely and scenic drive around the wonders of Pembrokeshire Coast National Park. There are a variety of spiritual and ancient sites scattered around to explore and, it goes without saying, more amazing scenery to enjoy! Crossing the Preseli Mountains to Pentre Ifan, a striking burial chamber dating from around 3000-4000BC. This is Pembrokeshire’s flagship ancient site and is deservedly famous. The chamber is set on the side of Carn Ingli and overlooks sweeping Newport Bay.
Britain’s smallest city of St David’s is another visit today. Set in a valley below the tiny city, the splendid Cathedral and Bishops Palace have an inspiring atmosphere. Pilgrims have been welcomed here for centuries. It was here that the patron saint of Wales was born and lived.
We make our way towards North Wales today, firstly a brief stop in another ‘magical’ place, Merlin’s town of Carmarthen. Today this is a thriving market town and a centre for Welsh-speaking West Wales.
Aberglasney Gardens have been an inspiration to poets since 1477, and is perhaps the most fascinating garden restoration projects in recent times, now one of Wales’ finest attractions. A plantsman’s paradise with an Elizabethan cloister garden as its centerpiece, Aberglasney is 10 acres of ancient gardens plus a special indoor garden filled with exotic plants from around the world.
Later we will drive the mystical West Wales coastline, an area full of tales of legendary Welsh heroes, an area alternatively rugged and pretty with its quaint harbours and towns such as the Victorian resort of Aberystwyth, known for its university.
Our North Wales base will be either the lovely Victoria seaside town of Llandudno or the walled castle city of Conwy.
ON Llandudno/Conwy area
The iconic Caernarfon Castle, a fairy tale like structure built as part of Edward I domination programme of the 13th century, is our first port of call. Caernarfon is possibly the most famous of Wales’s 641 castles. The castle’s majestic persona is no architectural accident, it was designed as the dream castle, ‘the fairest that ever man saw’ of Welsh myth and legend.
This afternoon, a bit of time around the Isle of Anglesey. It is in this gorgeous environment that William and Kate chose as their first home together. This ancient and mystic island is full of prehistoric burial chambers, Celtic and Viking settlements, fabulous flora and fauna, and the village with the World’s longest name – Llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerchwyrndrobwllllandysilliogogogoch, where we can enjoy a photo opportunity!
ON Llandudno/Conwy area, same property as above
Today, you will have the whole day to relax and explore your surroundings at your leisure. Your guide will be on hand for an optional walking tour and advice for the day’s options but what you do today is totally up to you!
Llandudno is an elegant Victorian seaside resort. What’s to see and do? Plenty! The pier is a lovely place for a walk, dotted with cafes and a nice place to watch the boats go by. Then there’s a pier-side theatre, the wide, flower-filled promenade, the imposing Victorian buildings that face the sea and the covered shopping streets are all reminiscent of a bygone age. The town also boasts a funicular railway that you may choose to ride to the top of the Great Orme, where you’ll get splendid views of the Snowdonia countryside.
If you prefer to go a bit further afield, it’s just a short distance to the charming town of Conwy. Conwy’s wall was erected in the 12th century by Norman conquerors and with the massive castle dominating one corner, it makes this harbour town one of the most interesting in the UK.
Alternatively, you can hop on a train and spend the day in the English town of Chester, another walled city, founded by the Romans along the River Dee. There’s plenty to enjoy here such as a fine cathedral, Roman remains including part of an amphitheatre and shopping opportunities in the unique mediaeval ‘rows.’
ON Llandudno/Conwy area, same property as above
Visit Bodnant Welsh Food to sample the best of local Welsh food specialties. Within the centre, our group can visit the award-winning farm shop and sample Bodnant’s own produce, local cheeses and treats such as Welsh cakes.
This afternoon, some driving through the amazing scenery of Snowdonia National Park. This is one of dominating peaks, the highest in England and Wales, featuring narrow mountain passes, flowing streams, cascading waterfalls, sheep-covered uplands and verdant, hidden valleys. Certainly, an ancient Welsh culture and language still thrives here! Our day will include a steam train journey through the mountains.
ON Hay on Wye/Brecon area
The most famous used-book capital of the World, Hay-on-Wye, is on today’s agenda. Even the castle dungeon has been turned into a book store!
Also today, time around Brecon Beacon National Park, exploring the highlights. The once gray and hard world of the Welsh mining valley, now transformed, but a time so memorably captured in the great novel of industrial Wales, How Green Was My Valley and inspiration for many of Alexander Cordell’s terrific historical novels. Here there are many higlights to consider, religious and ancient sites, quaint market towns and yet even more stunning scenery. Depending on group interest, we could visit Big Pit Coal Mine Museum – plunge down into the earth in the company of a former miner. Another afternoon where we are spoilt for choice and will decide our final agenda based on soundings from our group, in consultation with your driver/guide.
Later we turn our direction back to London, traveling via the scenery and villages of the Black Mountains and the Cotswolds. This is possibly the prettiest drive on the whole tour!
Our Welsh tour adventure concludes back in London this evening.
Please note: All attraction opening times are correct at time of printing this website. While we will do our utmost to include all of the properties mentioned as central visits, we reserve the right to change an attraction should it become impossible to deliver a planned visit due to changes in opening days or times beyond our control.
Oft imitated, never duplicated! This is an original SGT itinerary, property of Special Group Tours and to be used only with express permission/in conjunction with SGT.
The services of a driver/guide/companion for 8 touring days, accommodation in 3 – 4 star properties for 7 nights while on the tour with breakfast daily, 3 dinners, entrance fees to listed attractions, all taxes and tips other than those you may wish to give your guide.
Pre and/or post tour accommodation, transfers, day tours and other optional add-ons available for the appropriate supplemental cost. Please discuss your needs with us, SGT is at your service!
The Special Group Tours Advantage is our unique and intimate understanding of what you expect traveling in the UK and Europe. We have not only visited but have spent many years living in and loving the cultures you will experience down the ‘B’ Roads and off the beaten track. We have worked with local suppliers and our guide/companion team for over a decade, creating unique special interest itineraries. Special Group Tours offers our “insider” knowledge to you.
The SGT Small Group Touring Concept is traveling with just 4 - 14 guests per departure. It is our aim to introduce you to the 'real' country and its people, not just ticking the boxes of a standardized route and treating you as an individual and not a number. Our concept allows for a leisurely touring pace and flexibility to get off the beaten track to discover hidden gems. Of course you'll see the major sites but so much more too!
At Special Group Tours, it is our priority that you have the most enjoyable holiday possible. You deserve it!