Highlights of The Cambrian Way - North Wales
This itinerary includes some of the main places to visit and things to see along the North parts of The Cambrian Way. The itinerary is designed for you to include and exclude some trips and days to make it work for your clients.
Visit the Conwy Council website for details about coach parking in Llandudno, Colwyn Bay, Conwy and Betws-y-Coed.
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 Llandudno is also a good way to discover Llandudno.
Great Orme Tramway – Britain’s only cable-hauled street tramway with views over Llandudno and the Great Orme and the Isle of Man on a clear day. The Tramway starts at Victoria Station which is a 5 minute walk from the coach drop-off point. You can disembark at the Halfway Station to either visit the Bronze Age Copper Mine, a 5 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 9 minute journey takes you up 679 ft with views of the bay, Little Orme and the Conwy Estuary. Please note that this won’t 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 digital E tour and 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.
Bodnant Welsh Food Centre
Experience Welsh food at this 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 restaurant, a cookery school and it's also home to the National Beekeeping Centre for Wales. Bespoke packages are tailor made to suit needs of the group and the centre provides plenty of parking for coaches. Drivers even receive a voucher to use in the tea room or restaurant.
Bodnant Garden (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.
Overnight: Llandudno / Conwy
There’s entertainment at Venue Cymru, Llandudno’s 1500 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.
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.
Explorer passes are available for the travel trade, click here to find out more.
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. If travelling as part of a group you won’t all be able to fit in at once but it’s a great photo-stop! However, the house can open strictly by appointment for groups outside normal opening hours.
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 Slate Caverns in Blaenau Ffestiniog – which is suitable for groups and coach parking.
The Slate Caverns
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 Workshop Tour
Find out how slate was distributed worldwide in the 19th century and learn how to split slate.
Café, Tavern pub and gift shop on-site.
Adventure experiences at Zip World include:-
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 me 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.
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 (journey time approx. 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. (Tea room open Easter – 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.