Castles, gardens and railways all make an appearance on this enchanting adventure to the beautiful isle of Anglesey, uncovering the sublime charm of North Wales. The small group size of this tour grants us access to another side of such a fairytale nation, granting us entrance to stately homes and gardens as well as a stay at the boutique Trearddur Bay Hotel.
We meet today at the charming seaside village of Trearddur Bay, on the beautiful island of Anglesey. Our base here is the excellent Trearddur Bay Hotel. Available only to small groups, this boutique property is one of the finest places to stay when visiting Anglesey, offering comfort and style from an enviable position looking across the water. After dinner, you may wish to head on out into the village to take a stroll along the beach, taking in the untouched beauty of North Wales at its finest.
We meet our local guide today, who joins us as we venture out across Anglesey today on an excursion which uncovers the island's magnificent stately homes. The island provides a fantastic setting for these mansions, with many built overlooking the ocean or the idyllic countryside that surrounds it. Our first stop is the enchanting Plas Newydd, which we travel to by coach via the pretty towns of Anglesey.
Built on foundations set down in the 13th century, with different sections added over the following centuries, Plas Newydd is a magnificent building, combining the preferred architectural styles of various dynasties since its construction. It sits on the north bank of the Menai Strait, and offers dramatic views of Snowdonia. The interior of the home is a step back to the exuberant luxury and refinement of times gone by, and features some beautiful artworks, including those of famed artist and muralist Rex Whistler, whose acclaimed 'Claudian Fantasy' still hangs within these walls. After some time to explore the house and extensive gardens here, we make the short journey to the cheerful little seaside town of Beaumaris where you are free for lunch.
Later we continue to the second of our stately homes, the historic country estate of Plas Cadnant. Originally a Georgian farm, the various buildings that make up the farm estate are a delight to see, and the hidden gardens offer a botanical wonderland to explore. You have free time here, so be sure to take the time to wander down through the gardens to Cadnant River. Our journey back to Trearrdur Bay takes us down the North and East parts of the island, reveal Anglesey in all it's remarkable beauty.
We cross over to mainland Wales today, making our way across the Menai Strait and passing through Bangor on our way. We are joined by a guide who accompanies us as we head to Llanberis, sat in the shadows of the awe-inspiring Snowdon. Here, we board the Snowdon Mountain Railway which opened in 1869. This nostalgic narrowgauge, rack-and-pinion railway takes us up Wales' tallest mountain, providing us with breathtaking panoramas of the mystical forests below, and the gorgeous Llanberis Pass. We arrive at the Hafod Eryri visitor centre at the top, where you have time to drink in the scenery before our return. Our guide regales us with local stories and fables.
In the afternoon we visit the fantastic Penrhyn Castle. This magnificent country house resembles an ancient Norman castle, complete with towers and spiralling staircases, but is in fact a far more recent construction, having been built in the 19th century for the Neo-Norman revival. The foundations are a great deal older, from the 15th century, and this makes for a truly spectacular stately home, combing the old with the new, the historic with the modern. Take your time to stroll through the exquisite halls and reverent chambers, and be sure to explore the wonderful exteriors which are wrapped in vines overlooking the glorious Welsh countryside before we travel back via coach through the magnificent Ogwen valley.
We cross over to the mainland today for a visit to striking Caernarfon Castle, a mighty fortress that has stood since the 13th century. It was built by the English King Edward I as a means of keeping the Welsh people in check after he conquered Wales in 1283, and has served as an impressive fortification ever since. It's impenetrable walls have seen it stand against a variety of wars including Owain Glyndwr's uprising and the English Civil War. Since then, Caernarfon Castle has been repaired and refurbished to maintain its indomitable presence in North Wales. After a guided tour, we make our way to Plas Brondanw, a beautiful mansion built by the designer responsible for the famous Italianate town of Portmeirion. The lush gardens with their enchanting horticultural sculptures are a delight to discover. Next, we travel by coach to Beddgelert where we board the fantastic Welsh Highland Railway. This steam rail journey is one of the best in the UK, travelling through the natural paradise of Snowdonia National Park, through green valleys and under ancient mountains, to Caernarfon from where we return to Trearddur Bay.
After breakfast, your time in Anglesey comes to an end, and you are free to depart. Maybe take one last walk through the village before you leave.
At Great Rail Journeys, they’ve been providing market-leading holidays for 45 years, making them true rail holiday specialists. Their itineraries combine comfortable hotels, exciting excursions, many delicious meals, leisure time, and fantastic rail experiences – from journeys on modern trains to heritage rail adventures.
Alongside their classic escorted rail holidays, they now have more choices than ever. Their European chartered cruises sail on fantastic vessels with sublime dining options and some of the largest cabin sizes in the industry, and their small groups tours give you access to unique destinations and experiences that wouldn’t be possible in a larger group.
The key elements of their holidays are quality and value. Everything you see is included in the price, and their itineraries are carefully crafted to make the most out of each destination. They use professional Tour Managers, informative local guides and convenient transport. On many tours, they include special touches such as opera visits, special meals, or farewell dinners.
As well as being the leading UK provider of escorted rail holidays, they have also won a number of awards, most recently being awarded the gold award for Best Rail Holiday Company at the 2018 British Travel Awards – a testament to their commitment to outstanding holidays.
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