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 Snowdonia.
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.
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.
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.
Overnight suggestions: Beaumaris, Menai Bridge or Caernarfon
Travel through the spectacular Snowdonia National Park famous for the rugged mountain scenery and on a clear day you may see the peak of Mount Snowdon, the highest mountain in England and Wales. A good starting point is at the Snowdonia National Park Centre, an historic house with gardens, providing refreshments and information.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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
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!
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.
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.
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.