Wonderful mountain railways and castles of Wales are an integral part of this adventure as we explore the highlights.
About the Tour
Enjoy a fantastic tour of North Wales, based in charming Llandudno. From here we explore the historic steam railways and impressive castles found along the coastline of this beautiful and mountainous region of Wales.
Your vacation start or end can be tailored to meet your travel needs.
- Standard Class rail and coach travel throughout your tour
- Scenic rail journeys on the Welsh Highland Railroad, Ffestiniog Railroad, and Snowdon Mountain Railroad
- 5 nights' hotel accommodation
- 10 meals including 5 breakfasts and 5 dinners with a farewell 'Taste of Wales' gala dinner accompanied by a local harpist
- Tours of Caernarfon Castle and Conway Castle
- Visit Plas Mawr and Bodnant Gardens, Portmeirion and the National Slate Museum
- The services of a professional Tour Manager from start to finish
Day 1 - Meet in Llandudno
Our tour begins as you meet your Tour Manager in Llandudno, where we stay at the Dunoon Hotel. This fabulous seaside resort sometimes referred to as the 'Queen of the Welsh Resorts', is the ideal base from which to enjoy our explorations of Wales, thanks in part to its marvelous history in welcoming travelers and guests to its delightful sandy beaches. Tonight we meet for a drinks reception ahead of our first dinner together in the hotel's award-winning restaurant. Overnight Llandudno 5 nights. (D)
Day 2 - Railroads & Portmeirion
Today we head along the coast to Caernarfon and join the narrow-gauge Welsh Highland Railroad* into the foothills of the Snowdon Mountains to Porthmadog. Here we transfer to Portmeirion, which we get acquainted with on a short guided tour. After some time here at leisure, perhaps perusing the quaint souvenir shops, we return to Porthmadog to join the narrow-gauge Ffestiniog Railroad* to Blaenau Ffestiniog. (B, D)
*Steam hauled where possible
Day 3 - Caernarfon Castle & Snowdon
We begin our day with a guided tour of the impressive Caernarfon Castle, a UNESCO World Heritage site. Marvel at the iconic polygonal towers of this famed attraction. As we wander through the sprawling ancient complex, it is easy to imagine what life must have been like for the soldiers that lived here - from the legions of Rome to the armies of Edward I. After the tour of the castle, we then travel over the rather dramatic scenery of the Llanberis Pass to Llanberis, where we visit the National Slate Museum which outlines the history of quarrying and slate in Wales since the original quarry was opened in 1870. Later, we board the Snowdon Mountain Railroad's diesel service**, which climbs to the summit of Snowdon at 3,494 feet. This evening, we return to our hotel and enjoy a talk on the history of Llandudno ahead of dinner by special guests from the Llandudno Museum. (B, D)
**Please note the first two departures are unlikely to reach the summit as it is too early in the season. Reaching the summit is dependent on weather conditions.
Day 4 - At leisure in Llandudno
Today you are at leisure to explore Llandudno. The nostalgic Victorian pier is well worth a visit. Built in 1878, this charming attraction provides excellent views of the seafront promenade. It also has the lovely title of being the longest pier in Wales, taking you out into the sea and giving you a delightful view of Llandudno behind you. (B, D)
Day 5 - Conwy Castle & Bodnant Garden
This morning we visit Conwy Castle, a wonderfully preserved 13th-century castle that stands in majestic ruins over the town of Conwy. A guided tour reveals its intriguing history. We also visit Plas Mawr, a lovely whitewashed building that holds the title of the best preserved Elizabethan townhouse in Britain. We then continue to Bodnant Garden, which spans 80 acres, including a beautiful wild garden. This evening we enjoy a 'Taste of Wales' farewell dinner at the hotel. (B, D)
Day 6 - Homeward Bound
The tour concludes after breakfast this morning, and you are free to depart Llandudno at your leisure. (B)
Dunoon Hotel, Llandudno
The 3-Star Superior Dunoon Hotel is a beautiful Georgian building located close to Llandudno town center and promenade. The hotel prides itself on impeccable service and attention to detail. Rooms have been finished to the highest standard and are complemented by "understated luxuries" including Egyptian-cotton sheets and pillowcases, fluffy white towels and complimentary Molton Brown toiletries in every bathroom.
Founded by an Act of Parliament in 1832, the narrow gauge Ffestiniog Railway is the oldest surviving railway company in the world. The railway was constructed between 1833 and 1836 to transport slate quarried from the mountains around Blaenau Ffestiniog to the coastal town of Porthmadog where it was loaded onto ships for export. In 1865 the Ffestiniog Railway became the first narrow gauge railway in Britain to carry passengers. We join the train in Minfford, just a few miles inland from Porthmadog. From Minfford the train climbs to Penrhyn and as it leaves the village, we enjoy wonderful views across the valley down the Dwyryd Estuary to Harlech Castle. A little further along, the train enters the beautiful Snowdonia National Park and continues around a hanging valley to Tan-y-Bwlch station, a passing point for the trains traveling in the opposite direction. The train continues its climb through an area of slate quarries and mines to the town of Blaenau Ffestiniog. Once the center of the Welsh slate industry, Blaenau Ffestiniog is the final stop on the Ffestiniog Railway and it is here that we leave the train.
Snowdon Mountain Railroad
The Snowdon Mountain Railroad opened in April 1896 and is a narrow gauge rack and pinion railroad, which carries its passengers 4.7 miles (7.6km) up the highest mountain in England and Wales. Our journey to the summit of Snowdon begins in Llanberis. As we leave the town behind us, the train starts its climb, traveling past a spectacular waterfall and through ancient forest until we emerge into the wild, open countryside above the tree line. A quarter of the way up Snowdon we pass the small ruined chapel at Hebron before continuing to Halfway Station - so named because it is situated at the halfway point - and then to Rocky Valley Halt.
Welsh Highland Railroad
We join the Welsh Highland Railroad for a wonderful journey by narrow gauge steam train* through the beautiful Snowdonia National Park. The line originally opened to passengers in 1923 but closed in 1937, having never achieved commercial success. From the early 1960s onwards a group of railroad enthusiasts have been working to restore the line and in 2003 the 13-mile (20.9km) section from Caernarfon right the way through to Rhyd Ddu was opened for service once again.
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