The World's Most Scenic Railways has been a great hit and this week focused on Wales. There are some amazing sights on offer without even leaving the UK, from impressive castles found along the coastline to incredible mountainous regions.
· Snowdon mountain railway
· Conwy castle
· Welsh highland railway
· National slate museum
Day 1 - Meet in Llandudno
Our holiday begins as we meet your Tour Manager in Llandudno, where you 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 marvellous history in welcoming travellers 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.
Day 2 - Portmeirion and Ffestiniog Railway
Today we head along the coast to Caernarfon, joining the narrow-gauge Welsh Highland Railway* for a journey into the foothills of the Snowdon Mountain Range to Beddgelert. This excellent line was opened in what is considered to be the 'Golden Age of rail travel', the roaring 20s.
On arrival in Beddgelert, we transfer to Portmeirion by coach for a short guided tour. This tiny tourist village was designed by architect Clough Williams-Ellis, in 1925, who wanted to create a town that wouldn't look out of place on the Italian Riviera: something that has been achieved to a marvellous effect. After some time at leisure, perhaps perusing the quaint souvenir shops, we travel to Porthmadog to join the narrow-gauge Ffestiniog Railway* to Blaenau Ffestiniog.
The second heritage railway that we travel on today is owned by the same company as the Welsh Highland Railway, and it boasts the title of being the oldest railway company in the world. This particular line is short but sweet and has a history dating back nearly 200 years.
*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 Railway's diesel service, which climbs to the summit* of Snowdon at 3,494 feet (weather dependent).
Enjoy travelling up the rugged sides of Wales' highest mountain in the comfortable, and rather modern, carriages of this wonderful service. Mingled with the everchanging scenery of Snowdonia National Park, it can be all to easy to lose yourself in the amazing and immersive experience of this fantastic mountain railway. Hopefully, if the weather is good, you are able to reach the summit† and marvel at the spectacular panorama that is laid out before you, as you enjoy a scene that was just this year voted 'the best view in Britain'.
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.
Day 4 - At leisure in Llandudno
Today is 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 a delightful view of Llandudno behind you.
Day 5 - Conwy Castle and Bodnant Garden
This morning we visit Conwy Castle, a wonderfully preserved 13th-century castle. A guided tour reveals its intriguing history, from its initial and somewhat humble beginnings as a Cistercian monastery and its part played in the War of the Roses, to its eventual ruin in the 17th century. It is now a UNESCO World Heritage site, a title which it shares with many of the castles built on the borders of King Edward that are scattered throughout Wales. We also visit Plas Mawr, the best preserved Elizabethan townhouse in Britain. Constructed over the course of 9 years, what is perhaps most striking about this white-washed house is its lovely crow-stepped gables and the heraldry that stands out above the door. It has stood unchanged since the 16th century, and is, therefore, an incredible insight into how life was in the 1500s. We then continue to Bodnant Garden, which spans 80 acres and includes a beautiful wild garden, an explosion of colour and scents. This evening we enjoy a 'Taste of Wales' farewell dinner at the hotel with a harpist.
Day 6 - Homeward bound
The tour concludes after breakfast this morning, and you are free to depart Llandudno at your leisure.
About the hotel
This 3* superior hotel is a beautiful Georgian building located close to the town centre and promenade. The Dunoon Hotel has been awarded two AA rosettes and an AA Silver Star, plus it is Michelin Guide Listed and a former winner of Les Routiers’ UK Hotel of the Year. The hotel prides itself on impeccable service and attention to detail. Rooms are of the highest standard and are complemented by ‘understated luxuries’, fluffy white towels and complimentary Molton Brown toiletries in every bathroom.
- Standard class rail
- Heritage rail excursions
- 3* hotel accommodation
- Breakfast every day
- Evening meals
- An escorted experience and all travel arrangments
- Exciting excursions and free time to explore
When can I go?
This offer is based on departing on 15th April 2020. For alternative dates, please speak to your Personal Travel Consultant.
Ready to book your rail adventure? Get in touch with your Personal Travel Consultant today!
Terms and conditions
Subject to terms and conditions, and availability. Prices subject to change, correct at time of publishing.