Start your Cambrian Way tour with free time exploring the Victorian seaside resort of Llandudno. Your clients may just want to take a stroll along the Pier. For those who like to shop, there’s plenty of big name stores and smaller independent shops and galleries including Mostyn Art Gallery, Wales’ leading contemporary gallery and visual arts centre. Visit Conwy is also a good way to discover Llandudno.
Great Orme Tramway is Britain’s only cable-hauled street tramway, with views over Llandudno and the Great Orme and even the Isle of Man on a clear day. The Tramway starts at Victoria Station which is a five minute walk from the coach drop-off point. You can disembark at the Halfway Station to either visit the Great Orme Bronze Age Copper Mines (main picture), a five minute walk away, or continue to the summit on a connecting tram. There is an exhibition, picnic areas, play area, restaurant and walks. The journey up to the summit takes up to 30 minutes. Discounts apply for groups of 10 or more.
Another way to reach the Great Orme summit is via the Llandudno Cable Car, Britain’s longest passenger cable car system. The nine minute journey takes you up 679 feet with views of the bay, Little Orme and the Conwy Estuary. Please note that this does not operate in bad weather. Local signs along the Happy Valley will direct you to the entrance.
There’s also the City Sightseeing hop-on-off tour or the vintage bus tour of the Great Orme.
Follow the Alice in Wonderland Town Trail. Alice, who inspired Lewis Carroll to write his classic Wonderland books, spent her holidays in Llandudno.
A short journey from Llandudno takes you to the Bodnant Estate. Both Bodnant Welsh Food Centre and Bodnant Garden are located within the same estate, however to transfer between the two there is a short 10 minute journey by road.
Experience Welsh food at Bodnant Welsh Food Centre with its wonderful range of stone farm buildings dating from the 18th century. There’s a farm shop selling mainly Welsh produce, a tea room and coffee shop. The Hayloft is also available for private events.
Bodnant Garden, owned by the National Trust is a must see stop for garden enthusiasts with botanical collections from around the globe. It has five Italianate terraces and formal lawns on its upper level, leading down to a wooded valley with a stream running through a secluded wild garden. Refreshments are available at the Pavilion Tea Room, Magnolia Tea Room and there are two kiosks within the grounds. There’s a gift shop and Bodnant Garden Centre & Craft Centre on-site. Booking in advance is essential for groups 15+ to which there will also be a group rate. There is adequate parking for coaches.
There’s entertainment at Venue Cymru, Llandudno’s 1,500 seat theatre offering a wide programme of events including live performances, opera, West End shows and pantomime. Discounts are available for groups depending on the show, and size of the party. Call +44 (0) 1492 872001 for group enquiries.
Overnight: Llandudno / Conwy
Start day 2 with a tour of Conwy including a visit to Conwy castle, Built for Edward I, by Master James of St George, it is amongst the finest surviving medieval fortifications in Britain. Allow at least one hour to explore the castle. Other highlights include:-
Plas Mawr, Conwy’s second most well known building and UK’s most preserved Elizabethan townhouse – complete with ornate plasterwork and fine furnishings.
Conwy Castle and Plas Mawr are in the care of Cadw. Register with the Cadw Tour Operator Scheme (CTOS) to become a member of Cadw’s online group booking scheme. Members benefit from preferential trade rates and discounts, complimentary admission for your tour leader, complimentary introductions to Cadw monuments, enhanced information for existing tours and invoicing following your visit. Alternatively, day tickets can be purchased up to three weeks in advance. Visit Cadw Admissions for more information.
Aberconwy House, a 14th century medieval merchant’s house and a National Trust property showing daily life from different times in its history. There is a gift shop available. Bookings required in advance for groups.
Conwy Mussel Museum – Located on the quay, musseling continues in the traditional way as once Conwy was an important fisher of pearls in the country. Learn about Roman times pearl fishing, the harvesting of mussels and the best way to eat them. Free entry from Easter to end of August.
Also on the quayside is The Smallest House in Great Britain. It was built as a one up and one down fisherman’s cottage measuring only 1.8m wide. Groups will not be able to fit in at once but it is a great photo-stop! However, the house can open strictly by appointment for groups outside normal opening hours. The house is closed during winter months.
Hopping back on the coach and travelling south, you will find Trefriw Woollen Mill, a family business producing traditional Welsh bedspreads, tapestries and tweeds. Visitors can take a tour of the working mill museum and turbine house. Hand spinning, weaving and craft demonstrations are available – check website for details. There is a shop and tea-room on-site. Free entry but coaches are by appointment only.
Stop for a traditional Welsh afternoon tea at the award-winning Tu Hwnt i’r Bont Tea Room in the market town of Llanrwst. It is possibly the most photographed building in North Wales especially during the autumn months when the ivy turns into a spectacle of red, orange and yellow. The tea room caters for large groups of between 20 and 80 guests by appointment only.
Just a short drive south is Betws-y-Coed, a popular town and the official gateway to Snowdonia. There are outdoor shops, galleries, cafes and a flat river walk. There are designated coach spaces in the car park. Swallow Falls is located a short drive from the popular village of Betws-y-Coed, known as the gateway to Snowdonia. There is a viewing spot above the river or there are steps leading down the edge of the river. It is possible to walk from Betws-y-Coed to Swallow Falls which is 2.2 miles away (3.5 km) and takes approx. 45 minutes.
There’s a lot of options at Llechwedd in Blaenau Ffestiniog – which is suitable for groups and coach parking. A café, tavern pub and gift shop are on-site. Highlights include:-
Quarry Explorer Tour
Experience one of the most extreme landscapes in the UK for the very first time in open sided 4 x 4 military trucks to the top of Llechwedd’s formidable slate mountains which were largely created by the men and boys who dug the rock out of the mine in the 19th century. Various routes and roadways have been cut through the challenging terrain which covers an area of around 500 acres. Tour can take up to one and a half hours. Arrival required 30 minutes prior to start of tour. Each truck holds up to 20 people
The Deep Mine Tour
Travel back in time 500 feet underground with local guides. Tours run every 30 minutes, duration is one hour and a quarter with a 15 minute spitting demonstration at the end of the tour. Arrival required 30 minutes prior to start of tour.
Slate Mountain Adventure
If groups wish to combine the quarry explorer and deep mine tours, this is the ultimate experience.
Quarry Walking Tour
Launched in 2020 a walking tour around Llechwedd, takes in the historic importance of the site. Led by a qualified Mountain Leader, this is a three hour strenuous circular walk. Lunch is included. The guided tour must be booked in advance.
The Slate Workshop Tour
For groups on a tight schedule, this tour is offered. Find out how slate was distributed worldwide in the 19th century and learn how to split slate.
At Zip World Slate Caverns in Blaenau Ffestiniog, there are three options to experience adventure. They are:-
- Zip World Titan – the first 4 person zip line in Europe
- Bounce Below – a series of huge trampolines inside a vast underground chamber, twice the size of St Paul’s Cathedral, all connected with slides and ladders.
- Zip Caverns – underground all-weather adventure through the caverns on zip lines, rope bridges, via ferrata and tunnels.
Discounts are available for groups but bookings must be reserved in advance. There is plenty of parking for coaches. Visit the Zip World website as they have other sites at Bethesda and Betws-y-Coed too.
Depending on choice of activity for the day, there may be time to take the world’s oldest narrow gauge Ffestiniog and Welsh Highland Railways from Blaenau Ffestiniog to Porthmadog. The journey time is approximately 45 minutes. If designing an itinerary for a coach you don’t have to do the return journey and can alight at a station stop of your choice which could include Minffordd with easy access to Portmeirion or Tan y Bwlch, a short journey to Plas Tan y Bwlch, Snowdonia National Park’s Study Centre which also has a garden and tea room. The tea room opens between Easter and October.
Overnight: Portmeirion / Criccieth / Porthmadog
Visit Portmeirion built by Welsh architect Sir Clough Williams-Ellis from 1925 – 1976 and made famous by the TV series, The Prisoner. Surrounding the village are 70 acres of sub-tropical gardens and woodlands with lakes and miles of pathways. The village includes a hotel, self-catering cottages, restaurants, cafes and shops. Group rates are available for a party of 12 or more guests. The coach car park is close to the village entrance. Guided tours must be arranged in advance.
End your tour with a visit to one of Wales’ most historic sites, Yr Ysgwrn is a traditional 19th century farmhouse near Trawsfynydd that has recently been restored thanks to £3million lottery funding. Set in stunning countryside, it came to international prominence in 1917 as the home of the chair-winning poet Hedd Wyn. Hedd Wyn was the bardic name of Ellis Humphrey Evans, the poet-shepherd who enlisted to the 15th Battalion of the Royal Welch Fusiliers at the turn of 1917 and was killed on the first day of the Battle of Passchendaele, on 31st July 1917. Coffee bar available.