Updated June 2019
The Wales Way is a family of national routes which lead you on great journeys through our country. The Coastal Way 180-mile / 290km) travels the west coast around Cardigan Bay, a road-trip between the sea and mountains. The Cambrian Way (185 miles / 300km) journeys between Llandudno and Cardiff, through National Parks and big spaces. The North Wales Way (75 miles / 120km) leads past mighty 13th century castles into the Isle of Anglesey. Travel Trade friendly itineraries highlighting these routes are available.
The Severn Bridge and The Prince of Wales Bridge, formerly known as the Second Severn Crossing abolished the tolls in December 2018. This means that all modes of transport can enter Wales from south west England (M4 and M48) free of charge.
Museum ExporAR is a new experience at National Museum Cardiff allowing the visitor to explore self-led experiences by hiring a hand held state-of-the-art device from the shop. Watch sea creatures and dinosaurs come to life and explore Monet’s waterlily garden. There is also an exciting array of new exhibitions launched for 2019-2020.
Following its redevelopment, visitors are now able to explore life in Wales from the earliest humans to present day life at St Fagans National Museum of History. There are two new galleries featuring national collections of history and archaeology in the main building. Other new editions include Gweithdy, a workshop celebrating skill makers, Bryn Eryr, an Iron Age farmsted and a reconstruction of the court of the Princes of Gwynedd. Please note that the National Roman Legion Museum will be closed from September 2019 to September 2020.
The Italianate village of Portmeirion is offering new group rates and complimentary guided tours for 2019. Situated on a private peninsula in North Wales, the village features scenic gardens, iconic architecture, woodlands cottages, spa, restaurants and two hotels. The rates are applicable to groups of 12 or more through advance booking. Their new Tree Trail is a guide to 80 trees in the woodlands including 57 champion trees with 3 coloured routes ranging from an easy access 1-hour trail to the more challenging 3-hour trail. A guide book is available from the welcome centre.
Aber Falls Distillery Visitor Centre is now open and is the first of its kind in North Wales for more than 100 years. Heralding the area and its natural beauty, the brand offers a range of award-winning, premium gins and liqueurs; made using Welsh-inspired ingredients and botanicals, including Welsh Dry, Orange Marmalade and Rhubarb & Ginger gins, and Salted Toffee, Violet and Coffee and Dark Chocolate Liqueurs. Their single-malt whisky will be available from 2020. Distillery tours are offered and include master classes, lab experiences, and an opportunity to sample and purchase from the range of premium quality spirits. A new visitor centre will be open late 2019.
Penderyn Distillery, nestled in the foothills of the Brecon Beacons National Park has taken the whisky world by storm since it first started creating its smooth single malt in 2004; since then, it has also concocted award-winning vodka, gin and a cream liqueur. Their new bespoke Gold Range bottle is their latest product and they have recently won 13 gold medals for their single malt whiskies in international awards. As well as sampling, visitors can experience the distilling, bottling process and the history of the whisky making in Wales. Whisky master-classes are also available. They have plans to open new distilleries in Swansea and Llandudno.
The Royal Mint Experience is now offering VIP tours which includes the original tour with a chance to meet the experts, see a World Famous Collection, discover how the coins are made on the factory floor and experience the Tool Room. They are offering new group benefits - groups can save up to 40% on bookings for parties of ten or more, free entry for group organiser and coach driver, complimentary parking, discouted prices for pre-booked afternoon teas / meals and discounts at selected accommodation nearby. Also, their new Mint, Mine & Vine bespoke experience includes a visit to The Royal Mint Experience, the Welsh Mining Experience and Llanerch Vineyard.
The Heart of Wales Line Trail, a new 141 walking trail that weaves along the 'Heart of Wales Line', part of Wales' national railway network is operated by Transport for Wales. Visitors can combine a walking trail and train ride. It also compliments The Cambrian Way - one of The Wales Way family of touring routes.
Caernarfon is undergoing a £15m part EU funded Tourism Attractor Destination project which includes the new recently opened Welsh Highland Railway station. A further development known as ‘The Island Site’ will add to the visitor experience by connecting the WHR terminus, the castle and town. It will include retail, catering and a spacious modern interpretation area showcasing the history of the quayside area and railway.
Surf Snowdonia has rebranded to Adventure Parc Snowdonia. New adventures are opening to visitors in summer 2019. They also have plans to open a 106 bedroom Hilton Garden Inn within the development, together with new conference facilities and Wellness Spa due to open in 2020.
Loving Welsh Food offers a variety of food tours, cookery workshops and demonstrations in Cardiff and the Vale of Glamorgan. The company recently won ‘Best Activity in Wales’ at the National Tourism Awards 2018. Tours are offered in English, Welsh, French, Italian, German and Spanish.
Hwyl Events can tailor make an experience for your group to showcase the best of Welsh entertainment and activities including storytelling, a Welsh choir or traditional dance.
The International Convention Centre Wales at Celtic Manor Resort is due to open in September 2019 and is taking bookings. It will include a 1,500-seat auditorium and separate exhibition hall which, at 4,000 square meters, will provide the largest pillar-free ballroom in Europe, capable of hosting 2,400 people for a gala dinner.
Cambria DMC’s team of Wales experts has almost doubled to 10 full-time staff & all working solely on the promotion and creation of unique products and tours for Wales. Their popular weekly guaranteed departures for FITs (Snapshot of Wales) extends in 2019, running every Monday from May to end of September. They also have a new literary tour and more bespoke tours available.
routescape creates exceptional journeys, initially focused on the best of Wales and the wider British Isles. Carefully designed tours will offer stays in a collection of handpicked luxury hotels and inns set in the most scenic locations offering unrivalled levels of food and service and a true sense of place.
Adventure Tours UK is a new tour operator (selling B2C and B2B) with a range of fully-supported adventure travel packages in North Wales including multi-activity, guided mountain biking and guided walking trips, plus more coming soon.
Celticos offers customised private tours for small groups and has created two new tours for 2019 highlighting food and drink and Great Little Trains.
Rabbie's has introduced a new 3 day tour of Wales from their Manchester Piccadilly and Manchester Airport departure points. The tour includes the opportunity to visit UNESCO World Heritage castles - Conwy and Harlech; Snowonia and Brecon Beacons National Parks and the seaside towns of Aberystwyth and Laugharne.
The Royal Victoria Hotel in Llanberis has completed an upgrade to all 104 bedrooms along with improvements to the reception and dining areas. The three star hotel stands at the foothills of Snowdon.
Twr y Felin in St Davids is a restored and extended windmill. It has 21 bedrooms and a two Rosette Blas Restaurant. There will be 20 additional bedrooms, due to open in 2020. Being part of the Retreats Group they also offer unique breaks including, foraging, wildlife and adventure breaks. Exclusive stays are possible at Penrhiw Priory and Roch Castle and helicopter landing is an option too.
The Angel Hotel Abergavenny is working with local businesses and developing new product ideas and things to do for small groups. This includes group foraging trip with Brecon Beacons Foraging, wine tasting at Ancre Hill Vineyard, baking courses with ‘The Abergavenny Baker’ and 'The Gourmet Gardener' workshop at Llanover.
Slate Mountain Lodge, a new 24 bedroom hotel at Llechwedd Slate Mine in Blaenau Ffestiniog will be open from January 2020 with bookings going live later in 2019. It has spectacular views over the historic Llechwedd site and the Moelwyn mountain range.
Giant Hospitality has recently re-branded to WHISPER Hotels, with 6 hotels in Wales suitable for individual travellers to large groups.