Cadw sites:
Harlech Castle and Beaumaris Castle 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. Site Entry tickets are currently released one week in advance of visit. See Cadw Admissions for more information.

Day one

On arrival in Wales, head for the small town of Llangollen which nestles between the Berwyn Mountains and the River Dee. It has been made famous by the annual July festival ‘Llangollen International Musical Eisteddfod’ established after the Second World War to encourage peace between nations. The town has a good range of independent shops and there is a country market in the Town Hall on Friday morning and a market in the Market Street car park on Tuesdays.

Performance group in traditional clothes parading through Llangollen

Llangollen International Musical Eisteddfod

Highlights to choose from today include:- 

Look out for Castell Dinas Brân, a hill overlooking the town, with a ruined castle at the top which is rumoured that The Holy Grail is buried here. If your clients are feeling energetic they can walk to see the ruins of Castell Dinas Brȃn and enjoy lovely views. A round trip is 4 miles (6.5km) or longer if you search for the Holy Grail!. Coach parties can drop off their clients before returning to park in the designated coach spaces at Market Street car park in Llangollen.

Castle ruins.

Castell Dinas Bran

The Pontcysyllte Aqueduct is a spectacular piece of engineering, completed in the 19th century to carry the canal over the River Dee. This is the largest aqueduct in Britain and the work was undertaken by Thomas Telford. The structure is 307m long, 38m high and holds 1.5 million litres of water. It was recently included in TripAdvisor’s 10 heat-pumping places to visit. Your clients can walk across it which takes about a 45 minute round trip from the coach park at Wimbourne Gate, Queens Street, Cefn Mawr, LL14 3NP. Narrowboat trips are also offered across the aqueduct by Anglo Welsh Waterways Holidays aboard its refurbished boat 'Seren Fach.' One essential item is a camera because the views are stunning!

View of a tall aqueduct from the river.

Pontcysyllte aqueduct

Plas Newydd Llangollen is a stone built house framed in black and white timber. It was home to 'The Ladies of Llangollen' in the 18th century who received many famous visitors including The Duke of Wellington and Wordsworth. There are ten acres of ground to explore and a tea room on site. A Heritage Assistant can offer groups of 15 or more a free talk revealing the story of the house and its infamous inhabitants. To arrange a group visit, you can email them or telephone +44 (0)1978 862834. Coach parties can drop off their clients before returning to park in the designated coach spaces at Market Street car park

Approximate distance: Llangollen to Betws-y-Coed 60 miles (96km)
Approximate driving time: 1hr 40min
Overnight suggestion: Betws-y-Coed, the official 'Gateway to Snowdonia' 

Facebook URL

Perfectly picturesque 🌳 A wonderful image from @alanlennoxphotography capturing Plas Newydd in all its beauty!

Posted by Plas Newydd on Saturday, November 21, 2020

Day two

There are a lot of options at Zip World Llechwedd in Blaenau Ffestiniog which is suitable for groups of different tastes – from the adrenalin buzz seeker to those wanting a more cultural experience. And there is free coach parking too. Depending on what you choose for your clients, here will determine the time left for you to include other suggestions. 

Titan 2
Start the adventure in an ex-army truck and travel to the height of 427 metres (1,400 ft) on a 45 min tour of the slate quarry. After exploring the mills and cutting sheds, clients will be harnessed and seated in preparation to travel 0.62 miles (1 km) down Europe's first four person zip line over the slate quarry. Duration for the whole experience is 1hr 30 min.

Deep Mine Tour
Travel back to the 19th century and descend 152 metres (500 ft) underground with local guides. Learn about the history of the 16 layers, including those under water. The mine is filled with colourful lights to provide a spectacular visual display. Tours run every 30 min, duration is 1hr 15 min with a 15 min slate splitting demonstration at the end of the tour. Arrival required 30 min prior to start of tour.

Caverns
A full and challenging all-weather experience of underground caving and zipping. Deep in the slate mine, clients will spend 3 hr travelling through chasms, tunnels, nooks and crannies, walking across rope bridges and tightropes with 13 zip lines during the course.

Bounce Below
Clients will spend 1 hr rediscovering their inner child by taking on a series of huge nets inside a vast underground chamber, twice the size of St Paul’s Cathedral. The nets are all connected with slides and ladders in what was once a working slate mine.

Big Red
Ideal for anyone who would like to experience the thrill of zip lining for the first time, but are not too sure about taking on the larger zip experiences Zip World has to offer. Big Red is 9 metres (30 ft) high and 83 metres (270 ft) long and has twin zip lines if wanting to race with a friend. Allow 45 min for the experience.

Discounts are available for groups but bookings must be reserved in advance. There is plenty of parking for coaches. Check out the Zip World website as they have other sites at Bethesda and Betws-y-Coed too.

People playing on a series of play nets suspended in an underground cavern.
Three people sitting in a harness on parallel zip lines.
A cable car embarking on its journey into a slate cavern.

Bounce Below, Titan 2 and Deep Mine Tour at Zip World Llechwedd

Alternatively, if your clients like mountain biking, Antur Stiniog have created trails for all styles and riding abilities. Set within the mountains of Blaenau Ffestiniog, incredible views can be seen on the downhill trails. All trails are accessed by an uplift service. Mountain bike hire is available. There is also an information centre, outdoor shop, coffee house and art gallery to visit.

 

Three mountain bikers cycling down a windy mountainous trail.
A|mountain biker going down the trail with views of the mountains.

Antur Stiniog

Depending on choice of activity for the day, there may be time to take the World’s oldest narrow gauge Ffestiniog and Welsh Highland Railway from Blaenau Ffestiniog to Porthmadog (journey time approximately 45 minutes). There are two coach bays in the railway station car park (postcode LL41 3ES) to set down passengers before travelling to the chosen destination for pick up.

If designing an itinerary for a coach group, you don’t have to do the return journey and they can alight at a station stop of your choice which could include Minffordd with easy access to Portmeirion or Plas Tan y Bwlch, Snowdonia National Park’s Study Centre which also has a garden and tea room. The tea room opens from Easter through to October. Visit the website for more information on group travel and coach parties.

Portmeirion (main picture) was 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. Portmeirion was listed in Lonely Planet's 2019 edition of the top 500 experiences in the UK's Ultimate Travel List. 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.

Ffestiniog Railway steam train arriving at Tan y Bwlch Station.
Colourful architcetural houses amongst ornate gardens.

Ffestiniog steam train at Tan y Bwlch station; and Portmeirion

Alternatively you can include a visit Harlech Castle, built by King Edward I in the 13th century with UNESCO World Heritage Status a spectacular location on a rocky outcrop. The recently installed ‘floating’ connects the castle with the visitor centre. Allow at least 45 minutes to visit the castle. Coaches can park in Min y Don car park (LL46 2UG) which is less than a mile away (1.3km) from the castle.

Approximate distance: Betws-y- Coed – Blaenau Ffestiniog – Porthmadog 28 miles (38km)
Approximate driving time: 40min
Overnight suggestions: Portmeirion or Porthmadog

Two magnificent towers either side of the main entrance inside a castle.

Harlech Castle, Mid Wales

Day three

Head along A5 and the scenic Nant Ffrancon Pass to the Isle of Anglesey - who were the first country in the UK to be awarded 'plastic free' status. Cross the historic Menai Suspension Bridge designed by Thomas Telford in 1826 which opened up the historic route between London and Dublin.

The first stop today is a photo opportunity at the railway station with the longest place name. It's too long to name on our website as it is 58 characters long but it is fondly known as Llanfair PG. There are allocated coach spaces at the station car park. Afterwards, enjoy a quick shop at James Pringle Weavers next door.

A sign on a railway station which shows off the 58 character longest name.

Llanfair PG

Halen Môn Anglesey Sea Salt is a family business that specialises in sea salt from the island of Anglesey. The business was started by boiling Anglesey sea water in the family kitchen 17 years ago, and discovering that the salt that was left was a great local product. The range now includes over 11 different sea salts and is used and sold in over 22 countries and in top restaurants. The saltcote (salt house) and visitor centre offers unique behind the scenes tours which last up to an hour (12-15 people maximum). Group and Travel Trade rates are available.

Image of the outside of the Halen Môn Saltcote Visitors Centre.

Halen Môn, Anglesey, North Wales

Discover the ancestral home of the Marquess of Anglesey at Plas Newydd House & Garden (National Trust). This 18th century house with spectacular views across the Menia Strait to Snowdonia, is an interesting mixture of classical and Gothic. The comfortable interior, restyled in the 1930s, is famous for its association with Rex Whistler and his largest painting and exhibition of his work is found here. The fine gardens provide colour throughout the seasons. There is a tea room and two gift shops on-site. Discounts are available for pre-booked groups and 7 and 14 day touring passes for international visitors are available.

Plas Newydd, Anglesey

The final stop is Beaumaris Castle. It is one of the castles that make up the ‘Iron Ring’ and is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It was the last and largest of King Edward I's Welsh fortifications and is a perfect example of a concentrically planned castle. However, by 1298 money and supplies ran out before the fortifications reached their full height so, this is why it looks a bit short!

A direct aerial shot of the walls of a castle.

Beaumaris Castle

Approximate distance: Porthmadog –LlanfairPG – Beaumaris 34 miles (55km)
Approximate driving time: 58min

Be safe!

Exploring the outdoors is fantastic fun, but please read up on the risks and make sure you are prepared.

Related stories