The suggested itinerary is based on a five-night stay and would be led by knowledgeable, personable guides with contributions from many of Wales’ contemporary artists.
Lose yourself in the Italianate village of Portmeirion, inspiration for many writers including Noel Coward, Robin Llywelyn, Daphne du Maurier and Kingsley Martin. Then journey into the prehistoric ruins, sand dunes, mountains and moors of Ardudwy, including Harlech Castle and Dyffryn Ardudwy Burial Chamber. These places and their myths informed the world-renowned stories of 'His Dark Materials' writer Philip Pullman, who grew up locally. After dinner at Dylan’s on the Criccieth seafront, spend the night at Grade II* listed Tŷ Newydd Writing Centre, former prime minister David Lloyd George’s final home.
Trace the sandy coastline of the Llŷn Peninsula, walking Y Lôn Goed (Wood Lane) - an ancient trackway which features in the poetry of R Williams Parry – before a trip past RS Thomas’ former home to Aberdaron. This village on the tip of the Llŷn was his final parish and, according to locals, RS burned his cassock on Aberdaron beach upon retirement. After lunch at Oriel Plas Glyn y Weddw (a stunning visual art gallery), you’ll travel to the medieval castle town of Caernarfon for a literary walk with Dewi Prysor, exploring the significance of Welsh language writing to the people of Gwynedd, including the legend of Hedd Wyn.
Travel to the special island of Ynys Môn Anglesey, renowned for its prehistoric monuments and ancient myths. Starting at the Grade I listed Plas Newydd House and Garden, you’ll visit several places with local stories associated, from Santes Dwynwen (Wales’ patron saint of lovers) at her hermitage on Llanddwyn Island, to Queen Branwen who is reputedly buried near Holyhead, to the witches of Llanddona. Followed by dinner and a show at Pontio in Bangor.
No visit to North Wales is complete without taking the Snowdon Mountain Railway, tracing the battle path of the horn-locked red and white dragons. Followed by a visit to the National Slate Museum for a behind the scenes tour of their collections, focusing on the literature of Kate Roberts. Stop at Llansanffraid Glan Conwy, where Gwen ferch Elis (the first woman hanged for witchcraft in Wales) was trialled, before returning to the beautiful walled medieval town of Conwy for dinner at one of the local seafood restaurants.
Journey to the sacred monastic site of Saint Winefride’s Well in Holywell with National Poet of Wales Ifor ap Glyn for an immersive experience in the healing waters, visiting the reliquary in the shrine and the 16th century chapel. This place has inspired a millennium of literature, from the 14th century poem Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, to Gerard Manley Hopkins’ poem St. Winefride’s Well, to Daniel Defoe. Travel on to Flint for lunch and a performance of scenes from Shakespeare’s Richard II and Henry IV (Part I), which are set at Flint Castle.
Literature Wales offers:
- Free information and advice for those planning their own literary adventures;
- Bespoke literary tour curation for tour operators or private groups;
- Support, guidance and partnership for others’ literary tourism projects.
Please get in touch with Literature Wales for further information about their services, including to commission bespoke versions of the tours.