Tours of Excellence
Tours of Excellence
Tours of Excellence

7 Day - Wales Tour, UK

Day One – Breacon Beacon National Park – Brecon Cathedral – Hay-on-Wye -Llanthony Priory
After breakfast enjoy a full day tour of the Breacon Beacon National Park, which spans 519 square miles (1,344 square kilometres) of beautiful mid-Wales countryside and contains some of the most spectacular and diverse landscapes in . Start with a visit to Brecon, a timeless town with Georgian and Jacobean shop-fronts, narrow streets and passageways for a visit to the 12th century Cathedral, with its history of over 900 years before enjoying some free time to explore the town. Continue to Hay-on-Wye, the 'Town of Books’, with its maze of narrow ancient streets, housing over 35 bookshops with over a million books for sale for some free time for browsing. Finally take the journey through the Llanthony Valley, stopping to visit the historic Augustinian Llanthony Priory, a medieval ruin that was chosen as a monastic site because of its isolation. Check-in at your hotel for overnight.

Day Two – Caerphilly Castle – Museum of Welsh Life – Waterfalls at Aberdulais
Depart for a morning visit to Caerphilly Castle, the second largest castle in Britain. It was built in the late 13th century and the fortress is a supreme example of the concentric 'walls within walls' system of defence. Also the castle's outstanding water defences made it almost impregnable to siege warfare. Particularly noteworthy features include the gatehouse, banqueting hall and full-size working replicas of medieval siege-engines. Often threatened but, unsurprisingly, never taken, the castle's only sign of weakness is its famous leaning tower (which out-leans the tower at Pisa), possibly caused by subsidence. This will be followed by an afternoon visit to the Museum of Welsh Life, one of 's foremost open–air museums and Wales's most popular heritage attraction. It stands in the grounds of the magnificent St Fagans Castle, a late 16th-century manor house donated to the people of Wales by the Earl of Plymouth. During the last fifty years, over forty original buildings from different historical periods have been re-erected in the 100-acre parkland. The re-erected buildings include houses, a farm, a school, a chapel and a splendid Workmen's Institute. There are also workshops where craftsmen still demonstrate their traditional skills. Drive to the Vale of Neath for a visit to the waterfalls at Aberdulais, which offers a unique blend of natural beauty and social history. It has long been a favourite visiting place for artists, writers and travellers. Finally continue to Mumbles, a small fishing village situated at the Western end of Swansea Bay, at the entrance to The Gower Peninsula. Currently well known as the birthplace of Catherine Zeta Jones and Ian Hislop and was previously a frequent haunt of Dylan Thomas and his friends. Check-in at your hotel in Mumbles and this will be your base for the next 2 nights.

Day Three – Gower Peninsula – Rotherslade – Oxwich Bay – Oxwich Village – Rhossili – Swansea
Today enjoy a tour of the beautiful The Gower Peninsula, with its golden sandy beaches and limestone cliffs. The Gower Peninsula is the UK's first Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and is 19 miles by 6 miles of award winning beaches, dramatic cliff-top walks, picturesque villages, rolling countryside, valleys, woodlands and breathtaking views. The area boasts many ancient sites including castles and a human burial chamber dating back to 3500 BC. During the tour enjoy stops at;

  • Rotherslade – a small stretch of sandy beach at the eastern end of Langland Bay in the South Gower Peninsula, Wales. Also previously known as 'Little Langland' it only exists as a separate beach at high tide. At low tide it is continuous with Langland Bay.
  • Oxwich Bay - with its glorious sand dunes, towering cliffs and shady woods.
  • Oxwich Village - for a small village with a population of less than two hundred, it has a lot to offer. It boasts a number of thatched cottages, two castles and a National Nature Reserve with a wide variety of bird and plant life.
  • Rhossili - located at the most Western part of the Gower Peninsula. The most photographed part of Gower, The Worms Head, stretches out to sea and becomes an island when the tide comes in. The breathtaking view is completed by the long sandy beach and the towering cliffs.
  • Swansea - where Dylan Thomas was born and spent the first years of his life there and he famously described his birthplace as an "ugly, lovely town".

Late afternoon return to your hotel in Mumbles for overnight.

Day Four – Laugharne – Tenby – Caldey – Manorbier – Freshwater East – St Govan’s Chapel – Castlemartin – Pembroke Castle
Depart towards the South Pembrokeshire Coast and the western tip of Carmarthenshire and the ancient town of Laugharne, with its 12th century castle once painted by Turner and is synonymous with the Welsh poet and broadcaster Dylan Thomas, who found inspiration here for one of his best known works - 'Under Milk Wood'. Dylan lived and worked at The Boat House. Continue to Tenby, which is a particularly scenic route, which hugs the South Pembrokeshire coastline, occasionally offering glimpses of this popular Victorian seaside resort and the Island of Caldey, home to a Reformed Order of Cistercian Monks, who welcomed visitors to their tranquil retreat. A monastic presence has existed at Caldey since it was first settled by Celtic Monks in the 6th Century. Tenby is steeped in ancient history with its high medieval walls which were strengthened by Jasper Tudor, uncle of the future King, Henry VII in the 15th century and is considered by many to be one of the UK's most attractive holiday resorts. It contains narrow cobbled streets packed tight with shops and places to eat, and three award-winning Blue Flag Beaches. A short drive from Tenby takes us to the small village of Manorbier built around a striking Norman castle overlooking a beautiful sandy bay. It was here in 1146 that Gerald Cambrensis was born, a well respected medieval writer, Archdeacon of Brecon, champion for an independent Welsh Church at St. David's, adviser on Irish affairs, he was an excellent orator who accompanied Archbishop Baldwin on a recruiting campaign around Wales for the Third Crusade. From this trip resulted his most famous work, 'Itinerary of Wales', where he describes Manorbier as 'the loveliest spot in all of Wales’. We then head towards this dramatic part of The South Pembrokeshire Coast, which has many special features of interest, taking in Freshwater East - a magnificent sheltered beach backed by sand dunes and grassy headlands. Photographers, birdwatchers, walkers, climbers, geologists, historians, artists and anthropologists have all been drawn to this most scenic and interesting of areas. There will be an opportunity to see St. Govan's Chapel, one of the wonders of South Pembrokeshire, a remarkable 6th Century hermit's chapel, named after the hermit and saint who lived there. A drive to Freshwater West, takes in the village of Castlemartin, whose church houses an organ once owned by Mendelssohn. The ancient borough of Pembroke, a small but charming walled town, was built around the great fortress of Pembroke Castle, the birthplace of Henry VII. Idyllically set on the banks of the River Cleddau, it is an intriguing place to explore. Soon after The Battle of Hastings, the Normans looked to Wales and in 1093 The Earl of Montgomery built the first Pembroke Castle, an earth and timber structure. In 1189, William Marshal became Earl of Pembroke and he transformed the castle into the magnificent stone fortification. The impressive condition of the castle is due to the extensive restoration programme begun when Major General Sir Ivor Philipps, of nearby Cosherston Hall, acquired the ruins in 1928. Today, the General's family and Pembroke Town Council manage the trust set up by the General to maintain it. Take the final journey to your hotel for the next 2 nights.

Day Five – Caldy Island
After breakfast enjoy an excursion to Caldy Island, which has been inhabited since the Stone Age, and has been home to various orders of monks since Celtic times. It is now owned by monks of the Cistercian Order, whose picturesque monastery overlooks the Village Green and the pretty cottages of the islanders. On arrival enjoy some free time to independently explore the Island before returning to the mainland. Return to your hotel for overnight.

Day Six – St David’s Cathedral – Bishop’s Palace – St Non’s Bay – St Non’s Well – Fishguard - Aberyswyth
Depart for the journey to St David’s, Britain’s smallest city, surrounded by some of the finest coastline in situated within the Pembrokeshire Coast National Park. With a population of around 2000 people, St David’s is really a village, and you will find the pace of life here is noticeably slower and the Welsh language playing a major part in everyday life. Enjoy a visit to St David’s Cathedral, a breathtaking example of architecture built on the site of a 6th century monastery. Much of the Cathedral's building dates back to the 12th century and was a popular pilgrimage destination throughout the middle ages. The cathedral housed the relics of the 6th century Saint, David, the patron Saint of Wales. In the Presbytery lies the tomb of Edmund Tudor, father of King Henry VII and half brother of King Henry VI. In the Cathedral Close cross over a stream to the magnificent ruins of the medieval Bishop's Palace. Most of the buildings we see today were built by 14th century Bishop Henry de Gower, little in the way of new building work seems to have been done after de Gower’s death in 1347. Royal visitors include King William in the 12th century, King Henry II, Edward III and Queen Elizabeth II. This will be followed by a brief stop at St Non’s Bay, to visit the ruins of the 6th century chapel, known traditionally as the birthplace of St David and St Non’s Well. In the late 16th-century the well was covered with a stone roof, with benches around the walls, where its popularity as a wishing well and the use of its waters to cure various ailments continued to the 18th century. Continue to Fishguard, standing on an imposing headland commanding superb views of the bay and is the main shopping centre of north Pembrokeshire. The town provides many superb walks including the Marine Walk which has outstanding coastal views. Continue to the seaside resort of Aberystwyth to check-in at your hotel for overnight.

Day Seven – Ffestiniog Railway – Snowdonia National Park – Caernarfon Castle – Conwy
Depart your hotel for the journey to Porthmadog for a journey on Ffestiniog Railway, the oldest independent railway company in the world, being founded by an Act of Parliament in 1832. It offers spectacular scenery of the Snowdonia National Park, 823 square miles of the most beautiful and unspoilt countryside in North Wales. This will be followed b a visit to Caernarfon Castle, the most famous of Wales's castles. Its sheer scale and commanding presence easily set it apart from the rest, and to this day, still trumpet in no uncertain terms the intention of its builder Edward I. Begun in 1283 as the definitive chapter in his conquest of Wales, Caernarfon was constructed not only as a military stronghold but also as a seat of Government and Royal Palace. Continue to Conwy to check-in at your hotel for overnight.

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