Welcome!! Slow, relaxed touring is our goal, so please don’t hesitate to speak up if you want to stop for photos, a restroom, tea or coffee. During the tour, if you decide that you want to take a day off to just sit around, all we ask is that you let us know so we aren’t waiting for you. We want you to return home feeling like you’ve “really” discovered and explored the places we’ve taken you.
Wales is a wondrous land of Myths and Legends and it is our pleasure to show you just a few of the sites that give it its deserved reputation. This is definitely not an “Academic” tour but one that entertains and also gives a little insight into the Welsh character. The tour will run from June 1st - June 10th and September 21st - September 30th.
Wed. Day 1 – After meeting up at Heathrow we will drive through England, to Powis Castle, stopping en-route for some refreshments. The world-famous garden, overhung with clipped yews, shelters rare and tender plants. Laid out under the influence of Italian and French styles, it retains its original lead statues and an orangery on the terraces. High on a rock above the terraces, the castle, originally built circa 1200, began life as a medieval fortress.
Powis Castle is home to the Clive museum, named after the legendary Robert Clive also known as Clive of India. It contains a superb collection of treasures from India.
We then travel to your accommodation for to-night.
Thurs. Day 2 – This morning, after a leisurely breakfast we will visit the world famous Pontcysyllte Aqueduct, which was built by the great English engineer Thomas Telford and finished in 1801. The towering Aqueduct, one of the most enduring wonders of the waterways, has inspired and amazed visitors for 200 years
We then move on to Eliseg’s Pillar part of a ninth-century inscribed stone erected by Cyngen, prince of Powys, in memory of his great-grandfather. The inscription is now illegible but it was copied and translated by Edward Llwyd in 1686
Translation) Pillar of Elise
+ Concenn son of Catell, Catell son of Brochmael, Brochmael son of Eliseg, Eliseg son of Guoillauc. Concenn, therefore being great-grandson of Eliseg, erected this stone to his great-grandfather Eliseg. + It is Eliseg who annexed the inheritance of Powys [--] throughout nine (years?) from the power of the Engl ish which he made into a sword-land by fire Whosoever shall read this hand-inscribed stone, let him give a blessing on the soul of Eliseg + It is Concenn who ...... with his hand .. to his own kingdom of Powys .. and which [--] the mountain one line lost, possibly more) [--] the Monarchy Maximus of Britain Concenn, Pascent ... Maun, Annan. Britu moreover son of Guarthi gern, whom Germanus blessed and whom Severa, bore to him, the daughter of Maximus the King, who slew the king of the Roman s. + Conmarch painted this writing at the command of his king Concenn. + The blessing of the Lord (be) on Con cenn and all members of his family and upon all the land of Powys until the Day of Judgement. Amen
It’s then over the Horseshoe Pass to Ruthin. Ruthin was the first town attacked by Owain Glyndwr in the last Welsh uprising against the English. Nantclwyd House in Castle Street is a Grade I listed timber-framed mansion and the oldest building in Ruthin dating from 1314. It is said to be one of the two buildings to survive the burning of the town. There are also some impressive medieval buildings and a 16th Century Inn. You can also see the stone on which King Arthur cut off his brother-in-law’s head.
This afternoon there is a visit to St. Winefride’s well. St Winefride's Well first erupted at the spot where her would-be attacker Caradog cut off her head with his sword. Restored to life at the prayers of her uncle St Beuno, Winefride lived as a nun until her second death some 22 years later. Since that time, too, her Well has been a place of pilgrimage and healing – the only such place in Britain with a continuous history of public pilgrimage for over 13 centuries. Winefride herself was real rather than legendary, and the extraordinary and enduring personality of this 7th-century Welsh woman has meant that she has been venerated as a saint ever since the moment of her death
It’s then time to move on to your accommodation for the next two nights.
Fri. Day 3 - You will start today by visiting the Welsh town which is famous for having the longest place name in the U.K. Here you will be able to take photos and pay a visit to the station gift shop. Llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwyrndrobwllllantisiliogogogoch. Here you will be able to take photos and pay a visit to the station gift shop.
Next, we travel into the heart of Snowdonia to Llanberis which stands at the foot of Mount Snowdon. The Welsh name for Snowdon is Yr Wyddfa (the burial place) and it was here that the giant Rhita Fawr, who had a cloak made of the beards of all the Welsh kings he had killed, was buried after he was slain by King Arthur.
It is then a short drive over the spectacular Llanberis Pass to Beddgelert, passing on the way the site of Vortigen’s Tower. Vortigen had chosen to build a tower on this site but each time it reached a certain height it collapsed. His advisors told him that he would have to kill a young man so that the tower could be built and brought him Merlin. Merlin told Vortigen to dig down and he discovered an underground stream in which two dragons, one red which symbolised the Celts and one white that represented the Saxons fought. Merlin released the dragons and they went up into the air still fighting. Vortigen was then able to build his tower and Merlin became magician to King Arthur.
Beddgelert is the prettiest town in Snowdonia nestling in some majestic mountain scenery. It is here that Gelert the faithful hound of Prince Llewellyn lies buried. We will take the walk to Gelert’s grave and you will here the sad tale of how he was killed. It is said that Prince Llewellyn never smiled again.
This afternoon its on to Caernarfon Castle. Caernarfon Castle is possibly the most famous of all the castles in Wales. Building started in 1283 by the English King Edward 1 during his military conquest of Wales. It was built not only as a fortress but also as a seat of government and a royal palace. Edward 1 gave Wales its first Prince of Wales who was not Welsh; it was his son, who was born at Caernarfon. It was also the place, in 1969, of the investiture of Prince Charles, the present Prince of Wales.
Sat. Day 4 - Today we travel to Pembrokeshire. First you will take a trip to King Arthur’s Labyrinth. Sail underground through the great waterfall, and deep inside the spectacular caverns of the Labyrinth and far back in time. Once inside the Labyrinth, your hooded boatman guides you through tunnels and vast caverns, whilst you enjoy tales of King Arthur and other ancient Welsh legends. Stories of dragons, of giants, of battles and many more are told, complete with dramatic scenes, sound and light effects
In the afternoon you will visit Devils Bridge an area of idyllic beauty and folk legend. It is here that the Devil built a bridge for an old woman so she could go and retrieve her cattle. The condition was that the Devil would take the soul of the first person to cross the bridge. The old woman (being Welsh) threw some meat across the bridge which her dog chased and so became the first to cross the bridge. The Devil, realising he had been beaten left the dog and fled. In time another two bridges have been built on top and it is thrilling to take the steps down to the Punch Bowl to see the awesome power of the River Mynach as it thunders by.
We then move on to your hotel for the next three nights
Sun. Day 5 – Today you are free to explore the medieval walled town of Tenby. Visit the harbour; take a stroll on the magnificent beach and explore the Tudor Merchants House, which was built in the 15th century. Today would be a great opportunity to take the short boat trip over to Caldey Island and visit the old priory and the 12th century St. Illtud’s church. Tenby was also home to Robert Recorde who invented the mathematical = sign.
Mon Day 6 - This morning, after a leisurely breakfast we will drive through the Preselli Hills to Pentre Ifan. The Preselli Hills supplied the Bluestones that are part of the stone circle at Stonehenge. Pentre Ifan is a superb burial chamber dating from about 3500 B.C. The Druids used the woods below Pentre Ifan to instruct the young and their last initiation was to drink a potion and spend the night in Pentre Ifan. To this day, if you are lucky, you may see the Faerie Folk (Tilwyth Teg) dancing around the chamber in their red caps. It lies below Carn Ingli (Angel Mountain) where St. Brynach rested and experienced many Angelic dreams.
We then move on to Nevern. The church which was founded in the 6th century holds many treasures. There is an avenue of ancient Yew trees along the path to the church door. Stop at the second Yew on the right and you will see that it bleeds. It will continue bleeding until a Welsh Prince once again occupies the Llanhyfer Castle. Inside the churchyard also is a magnificent 9th or 10th century Celtic cross. The church tower itself is Norman. Inside the church are two ancient inscribed stones. The Maglocumus Stone dates from the 5th century and has both Latin and Ogham inscriptions. The Cross Stone is marked with a very early Celtic cross.
From there we move on to Fishguard where the celebrated Welsh heroine Jemima Nicholas who single-handedly captured fourteen French soldiers in the last invasion of British soil. The surrender took place in the Royal Oak Inn and you can see mementos of the event in the pub to-day. Across the street in the church hall you can see the Fishguard Tapestry which commemorates the invasion.
The afternoon is then spent in St. Davids one of the most enchanting and evocative places in Britain. Wales’ Patron Saint was born on the nearby headland and he founded the city in 550 AD. The magnificent purple and gold fleck 13th century cathedral is Wales’ spiritual and ecclesiastical centre and is totally independent of Canterbury. St. Davids has drawn pilgrims for 1500 years,including William the Conqueror and by 1120 Pope Calixtus II decreed that two journeys to St. Davids amounted to the spiritual equivalent of one pilgrimage to Rome.
Tues Day 7 - It’s time to head east this morning and visit Laugharne, once, home to Wales’ literary genius Dylan Thomas. Thomas is one of Wales’ finest poets with an extraordinary way with words.
"It is Spring, moonless night in the small town, starless and bible-black, the cobble streets silent and the hunched, courter's-and-rabbits' wood limping invisible down to the sloeblack, slow, black, crowblack, fishing boat-bobbing sea. The houses are blind as moles (though moles see fine tonight in the snouting, velvet dingles) or blind as Captain Cat there in the muffled middle by
the pump and the town clock, the shops in mourning, the Welfare Hall in widows' weeds. And all the people of the lulled and dumbfound town are sleeping now."
So started Dylan Thomas in "Under Milk Wood", based on his experiences in Wales, but especially in the township of Laugharne where he spent much time, reflecting his experiences in the sleepy township that he loved so much.
This afternoon you will be treated to a journey back in time to the year 1645, a turbulent period in Britain’s history, as we go to Llancaiach Fawr built in 1530 for Dafydd ap Richard. The Manor was designed to be easily defended during the turbulent reigns of Tudor kings and queens and is one of the finest examples of a semi-fortified manor in Wales. Visitors today step into the Manor House restored and furnished as it would have been in 1645. You might the Master and Mistress of the house and will certainly encounter some of their servants.
It’s then on to your hotel in Cardiff where you will stay for the next 3 nights.
Wed Day 8 -. This morning you start the day with a visit to Tredegar House ancestral home of the legendary Morgan family for over 500 years. Set in a beautiful 90 acre park, Tredegar House is one of the best examples of a 17th century Charles II mansion in Britain. The earliest surviving part of the building dates back to the early 1500’s. You will discover what life was like for those who lived above and below stairs by touring the impressive state rooms and the intriguing servants’ quarters. Perhaps the most celebrated Morgan is Sir Henry Morgan the King of all Pirates. Morgan earned fame and respect among his friends and enemies alike thanks to his successful (and profitable) attacks on Vilahermosa (Capital of the Mexican province Tobasco), and Gran Granada (the silver mining centre of Nicaragua). Gran Granada was located 200 kilometres inland on the shores of Lake Nicaragua. Access to the town was restricted by dense wild Jungle. Henry Morgan embarked on a difficult and daring escapade involving a long and dangerous journey through the unexplored jungle. This expedition was followed by a triumphant lightning assault on Gran Granada. The attack yielded enormous spoils, and was considered a great success. Henry Morgan was one of the most ruthless of pirates, his daring, brutality, and intelligence made him the most feared, and respected buccaneer of all time. Henry Morgan really was the king of all pirates
From there it’s a short drive to The Skirrid Wales’ oldest inn. The building has stood for over 900 years and has a rich and varied history. It has witnessed many events since the Norman Conquest and was used by Judge Jeffries the notorious “Hanging Judge” in the 1600’s. It stands opposite Ysgyryd Fawr (Holy Mountain) which split in two during a violent storm at the time of the crucifixion.
The afternoon takes you on a wonderful drive down the spectacular Wye valley before you arrive at the world famous Tintern Abbey, situated in one of the most picturesque settings you can imagine. The 12th century abbey has inspired writers and painters for over two hundred years.
The final visit of the day will be to the old Roman town of Isca (Caerleon), where you will have a chance to see the remains of the Roman barracks and splendid amphitheatre of the celebrated Second Legion Augusta which was stationed there. It was here also that King Arthur held court and it is likely that Caerleon is the fabled Camelot.
Thurs. Day 9 - You will spend this morning at the Museum of Welsh Life at St. Fagans just outside Cardiff. A collection of period buildings from all parts of Wales has been carefully dismantled and rebuilt. You will see how life in Wales has changed over time in the superlative Rhyd-y-car ironworkers’ cottages, which were built in about 1800.
This afternoon you will have free time in Cardiff, Wales’ capital city, to do some last minute sightseeing and shopping. There are fascinating museums to see and you might like to take a tour of the Millennium Stadium, home of Welsh rugby. There is also a river taxi that runs down to Cardiff Bay home of the Millennium Centre and The Senedd, seat of The Welsh Assembly Government
Fri. Day 10 – Unfortunately it’s time to return to Heathrow for your flight home.
Prices start at just £1,175 per person based on 2 people sharing double/twin rooms on a bed and breakfast basis. Transport to and from Heathrow is included in the price as is entrance to the following attractions:-
Powis & Caernarfon Castles,
King Arthur’s Labyrinth
Dylan Thomas’ Boathouse in Laugharne
Also you will have a farewell dinner on your last night courtesy of Cambrian Routes Limited as a thank you for your company.
Also see tour packages in:
Europe Wales Local Culture Cultural Journey