Conwy Castle, Plas Mawr and Harlech 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.
The Victorian seaside resort of Llandudno is Wales' largest resort. It is situated between the Great and Little Ormes with two beaches, the award winning North Shore and the quiet sand duned West Shore. Take a ride on The 'San Francisco style' Great Orme Tramway (one of only three still in existence in the world today). Views from the 207 metre (679 ft) summit are fantastic, stretching as the Isle of Man.
Continue to Conwy, a medieval town with a 13th century castle and town walls by the picturesque quay with a stunning mountainous backdrop. Conwy is a classic walled town. Its circuit of walls, over 0.75 miles (1.2 km) long and guarded by no less than 22 towers, is one of the finest in the World.
Visit Conwy Castle built in the 13th century and is now a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Its gritty dark stoned fortress has the ability to evoke an authentic medieval atmosphere. Plas Mawr is one of the finest 16th century Elizabethan manor houses in Britain and well known for the colourful plasterwork. It was built by Robert Wynn, an influential merchant of great repute. Take a walk around Conwy, including a visit to the quayside and the The smallest House in Britain. It was built as a one up and one down fisherman’s cottage measuring only 1.8m (5.9 ft) wide. Also Conwy Mussel Museum, as Conwy was once the most important pearl fisheries in the country and today musseling is still carried out in the same traditional way and is still a local delicacy.
Overnight suggestions: Conwy or Llandudno
Take the A55 west and cross over the Menai Straits the tiny stretch of water that separates the island of Anglesey from the mainland of Wales. Take a photo at the look out point with great views of the Menai Suspension Bridge and Eryri.
Visit Halen Môn Anglesey Sea Salt and take a behind the scenes tour to discover how their world famous salt is made. The tour lasts 45min and ends with a tutored salt tasting. There is an on-site shop and outdoor cafe. Bespoke tours can be arranged on request. Coach parking available.
Continue north and visit South Stack Lighthouse near the port of Holyhead (the main ferry port to Ireland). Visitors can take a tour of this 28 metres (92 ft) tall lighthouse – but beware your clients will have to take 400 steps just to reach it from the main land – but the views are stunning!
There is also the RSPB nature reserve to see guillemots, razorbills and puffins all raising their young and live television pictures gives an even closer view of the nests. Rare choughs can also be seen on the reserve and your clients can enjoy a coffee and cake in their café afterwards. Limited coach parking available, please contact directly in advance.
Finish the day at Beaumaris, a small pastel coloured town with great views towards the mainland. The 13th century Beaumaris Castle is the most technically perfect castle in Britain and was built by King Edward I and today has World Heritage Status. A nearby pub is the The Bull, where Charles Dickens stayed when he came to report on the famous sinking of the Royal Charter in Moelfre – even today, almost every room is named after a Dickens character! Also in the town is the Victorian Beaumaris Gaol and Beaumaris Courthouse. Coaches can drop off/pick up opposite Spar shop in Castle Street and coach parking is 300 yards past the castle on the left.
Overnight suggestions: Beaumaris, Menai Bridge or Caernarfon
Travel through the spectacular Eryri National Park (Snowdonia National Park) famous for the rugged mountain scenery and on a clear day you may see the peak of Yr Wyddfa (Snowdon), the highest mountain in England and Wales. A good starting point is at the Eryri National Park Centre, an historic house with gardens, providing refreshments and information. Coach parking available.
Portmeirion the Italianate village built by Welsh architect Sir Clough Williams-Ellis from 1925 – 1976. 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.
Harlech Castle has a spectacular location perched on a rock overlooking the coast and is one of the castles in Wales with UNESCO World Heritage Status. The visitor centre tells the castle’s story including a weaponry exhibition, timeline and audio visual display, the centre also includes a cafe, shop, luxury holiday apartments and a 21st century bridge, making the castle accessible to many more visitors.
Aberdovey (Aberdyfi) is a pretty small fishing town with nice boutiques and restaurants to explore and take a walk along the beach with views along Cardigan Bay. Coach parking is next to Neuadd Dyfi, 500 yards from village centre and at Penhelyg when busy. Drop off possible outside St Peter's Church.
Overnight suggestion: Aberystwyth
The A487 road along the West Wales coast enjoys stunning views. Direct the journey from Aberystwyth to Gwbert is 1hr 15min and there is plenty to do en-route:
The National Library of Wales has a wealth of literature and manuscripts, images, collections and can help to trace Welsh ancestors. It also enjoys stunning views of the town and bay. A cafe is available. Tours available for groups when pre-booked.Coach designated parking is available but need to be pre-arranged.
The Vale of Rheidol Railway is one of the ‘Great Little Trains of Wales’ travelling almost 12 miles (19 km) from Aberystwyth to Devils Bridge and is approximately 1hr in each direction. Trains normally wait for 1hr at Devil’s Bridge but your clients can choose to return on a later train. At Devil's Bridge, there are walks to Mynach Falls, Devil's Punchbowl and Jacob's Ladder. The shop at Aberystwyth sell refreshments and The Two Hoots café at Devil’s Bridge station offers a wider variety of snacks. Coach parking is available.
Aberaeron is a 19th century 'regency' town and with its multi coloured houses, attractive harbour it is one of the few purpose built towns in Wales – it is famous for it’s honey ice cream and a good location for a lunch stop.
Llanerchaeron is a National Trust Property near Aberaeron and is an elegant Georgian villa, set in the wooded Aeron valley. Remarkably unaltered for over 200 years, this self-sufficient estate includes a farm, walled gardens and lake, designed by John Nash whose works later included London’s Regent Street and even Buckingham Palace. National Trust also offer 7 and 14 day touring passes, also available for international visitors. A cafe is available. Coach parking is available.
New Quay There are links to the Welsh poet Dylan Thomas in this pretty coastal town. Boat trips with Newquay Boat Trips to see the pod of dolphins are also popular – scientists have proved that they even have their own Welsh accent! Coach parking is available at Church Road car park with a 5min walk to the quay.
Overnight suggestions: New Quay or Gwbert
Visit St Davids, the smallest city in Britain. In medieval times, St Davids Cathedral was an important centre for pilgrimages, in fact three pilgrimages to St Davids was the equivalent of one to The Holy Land. Today it is a favourite location of artists, travellers, pilgrims and surfers. The Refectory inside the historic St Mary's Hall is licensed and offers local home-cooked food. The mezzanine level can be hired for a private function. Sitting alongside the cathedral is the remains of St Davids Bishop's Palace, a grand medieval dwelling with ornate stone carvings.
Oriel y Parc Gallery & National Park Visitor Centre houses a Class A Gallery displaying works of art from the National Museum Wales collection including works by Graham Sutherland. It is also an ideal place to learn about the national park. There is a gift shop and cafe. It is advisable for coaches to park here.
Take a wildlife spotting trip to Ramsey Island, look out for puffins, seals and of course the stunning coastal scenery. For the more adventurous, have a go at coasteering a sport invented in Wales, that involves walking and scrambling along the coastline until you have to jump into the sea! Or take a walk along the Wales Coast Path - it is particularly stunning around here.
Take a short stroll around nearby Solva a picture-perfect fishing village with its charming high street with cafes, craft shops and galleries.
Overnight suggestions: St Davids or Tenby
Tenby is a small seaside town with four beaches, lots of places to eat and independent shops to explore. Tudor Merchant's House is a testament to the town’s historic past as well as the sight of the iconic pastel coloured Victorian houses that surround the quayside. The family-run Harbwr Tenby Harbour Brewery is located by the harbour. Guided Tours Wales offer themed walking tours and Tenby Boat Trips provide a range of adventures including rib rides and seal watching.
Coach drop-off is at coach bay on Upper Park Road and coach parking available at North Beach car park.
Check to see that the road is open and if so, visit the tiny St Govan’s Chapel near Bosherton. This tiny hermit’s cell is nestled between the steep cliffs. Count the steps down and up again - legend has it that the number is never the same! Check the ranges are open before visiting by calling +44 (0)1646 662367 for an automated recording.
Or continue to the Gower Peninsula, and enjoy a 3 mile (4.8 km) walk along Rhossili Bay (and back via the cliffs behind) it has been voted many times as one of the best beaches in Europe. At low tide, visitors can see the Helvetia shipwreck dating from 1887. The private car park offers coach parking.
Continue eastwards to Swansea and visit the National Waterfront Museum - it celebrates Welsh history and culture and tells the story of Wales' industrial and maritime heritage and its role in shaping today's economy and society. Coaches are unable to park at the National Waterfront Museum’s Oystermouth Road car park. Swansea Council recommends dropping off by Swansea Museum (SA1 1SN), near Burrows Place, and then using the parking bays in the Fabian Way Park and Ride, (Fabian Way, Port Tennant, Swansea SA1 8LD), before returning for pick up.
Overnight suggestion: Swansea
Continue to the Cardiff, the capital city of Wales, it’s waterfront has been enjoying a revival over recent years. Originally a port for the major 19th century coal industry, today Cardiff Bay has a wide choice of restaurants and shops too. The Wales Millennium Centre - the international performing arts centre for Wales and is home to Welsh National Opera and often stages many ‘West End’ shows.
Go to the official website for more information about coach parking in Cardiff city centre and Cardiff Bay
Cardiff in three days itinerary includes more information and things to do in Cardiff.
Continue to onward destination.
Exploring the outdoors is fantastic fun, but please read up on the risks and make sure you are prepared.
- Find safety advice for exploring Wales' National Parks and safety tips from the RNLI for staying safe on the Welsh coast on the Visit Wales website.
- Visit AdventureSmart.uk for information on how to stay safe whilst exploring Wales.