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Railways & Castles of Wales

(77 reviews)

Scenic tours through the Welsh countryside

You are viewing the 2020 itinerary. Select your departure year
6 days From £725 per person

2020 Tour code: WDS20

About the tour

Enjoy a fantastic tour of North Wales from our base in charming Llandudno. Ride aboard historic steam railways and visit the impressive castles found along the coastline of this beautiful and mountainous region of Wales.


What’s included


Day 1 - Meet in Llandudno

Our holiday 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 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.

  • Dinner
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. Although it closed only 15 years later, a marvellous effort has brought the line back to life, and in 1980 it began running again.

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. Construction of Portmeririon was finished 52 years later, and now enjoys numerous visitors, who come to enjoy the calming sea views, the lovely architecture, and abundant greenery.

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.

There are a number of locomotives that operate on this line, some of them steam, but the oldest among them are over 150 years old, and has been impeccably maintained to guarantee a marvellous experience.

*Steam-hauled where possible


Please Note: For departure WDS2012 Days 2, 3 and 5 have swapped around

  • Breakfast, Dinner
Welsh Highland Railway
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 everunchanging 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.

*April departures will not travel to the summit

Please Note: For departure WDS2006 Days 3, 4 and 5 have swapped around

  • Breakfast, Dinner
Caernarfon Castle
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.

  • Breakfast, Dinner
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.

  • Breakfast, Dinner
Conwy Castle
Day 6 - Homeward bound

The tour concludes after breakfast this morning, and you are free to depart Llandudno at your leisure.

  • Breakfast

Additional information

Please note

Please note: The itinerary order may differ dependent on departure. Please call for more details.

Departure times

On many of our UK & Ireland tours, you may check in at the first hotel on your itinerary anytime after  14:00; your Tour Manager will be available between  16:00 and  18:00. You will receive a welcome drink at 18.00 just before dinner at 18.30.

Mobility information

Due to the nature of our tours they are generally unsuitable for those with restricted mobility. If you’d like to discuss any particular holiday with us in this respect, then please don’t hesitate to call us.


Dunoon Hotel, Llandudno

Dunoon Hotel, Llandudno

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Ffestiniog Railway
Snowdon Mountain Railway
Welsh Highland Railway

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96% of travellers would recommend this tour

Based on 77 verified reviews

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Submitted 23/10/2019

A wonderful time with an excellent Tour Guide, good hotel and interesting trips.


Submitted 23/10/2019

Lovely hotel, lovely base town, interesting tours, beautiful scenery, friendly guide, enjoyable company.

Mr T Osborne

Submitted 20/10/2019

Good holiday again from GRJ

Mr G Purse

Submitted 17/10/2019

Apart from the weather everything was almost perfect. Super hotel, good food, good company, very good journeys and visits. The tour guide was always available and did a very good job.


Submitted 15/08/2019

Great itinerary and accommodation. Excellent Tour Manager


Submitted 15/08/2019

An excellent holiday in all respects

Europe & UK by Rail 2020

Europe & UK by Rail 2020

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Railways & Castles of Wales

Scenic tours through the Welsh countryside


Lynne Broadley
Helen Laverack
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