Criccieth Castle 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. Travel Trade Explorer Passes can also be purchased. Please contact Cadwcommercial@gov.wales.
Travel to Plas yn Rhiw (reopens in 2024 following a roofing project), a 17th century Georgian manor house in the care of the National Trust. The ornamental garden offers coastal views beyond its trees, shrubs and hedges. There are also orchards, woodland and meadows to explore. A small, independent tea room is also on site.
Continue to Plas Glyn-y-Weddw. The arts centre in Llanbedrog contains a display of Swansea and Nantgarw porcelain. It also features its own prints and pictures collection. There is a tearoom and Welsh craft shop on site. Parking is available for one coach with a drop off and pick up point. Additional coach parking can be found at the National Trust car park in the village.
Finish the day at Nant Gwrtheyrn, a Welsh language heritage centre with wonderful views of the coast. The building contains a lot of information about the area and history of the Welsh Language. There are displays, exhibitions, radio and film clips, computer games and photographs which also chart the history of the thriving quarry lives of the people who lived and worked there.
Visit Criccieth Castle perched on the headland with stunning views of the coastline from east to west. Enter through the gateway between the twinned towers to discover the ruins of the castle built by the Welsh Prince Llywelyn the Great. Taken by the forces of Edward I some 50 years later, the castle was improved including the twin towers. The car park at Y Maes (LL52 0HS) is suitable for two coaches.
Continue 4.9 miles (7.9 km) to the harbour town of Porthmadog. There are many options to continue spending the day. Ride on a narrow-gauge steam train with Ffestiniog and Welsh Highland Railway. Contact the booking office for information for group requests.
Visit 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, cafés 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 café, shop, luxury holiday apartments and a 21st century bridge, making the castle accessible to many more visitors. Coach parking is available at Bron y Graig Uchaf. Contact Harlech Castle to receive suitable directions for coaches to reach the car park.
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.
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 café 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 café 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.
Cardigan Castle is a splendid Georgian mansion which became the birthplace of Wales’ biggest cultural festival, the Eisteddfod. Clients can learn about the history and people who lived there with the award-winning story-telling interpretation. A range of exhibitions are also on display including some which are digitally interactive. The Grade II listed gardens include a range of rare plant species. Group tours can be arranged in advance with a discount for up to 25 guests. The nearest car park for coaches can be found on Quay Street.
Take a photo stop at the 6th century St Brynach (Nevern Church) where clients will see the intricately carved Celtic Cross (and other crosses) standing tall at 4 metres (13 ft) and dating back to the 10th century. The path leading to the church is lined with trees including the famous bleeding yew tree. Various legends about it exist including sympathy with the crucifixion of Jesus, the wrongful hanging of a young man many years ago, continual bleeding until there is a Welsh prince on the seat at Nevern Castle or until the world is at peace.
Pentre Ifan Burial Chamber is a great photo-stop with scenic views of the countryside including the Preseli Hills. These hills are where the bluestone originated from to create Pentre Ifan and Stonehenge. Information boards brings this mystical 5,500 year old neolithic site to life. It is amazing to think how the big top stone was lifted all those years ago to sit on the three supporting stones. The road is very narrow and there is a lay-by for several cars to park (not suitable for coaches).
Travel to Dyffryn Fernant Garden which contains six acres of exotic, natural and stylish flora and fauna. Private guided tours can be arranged for groups of up to 20. The main house offers refreshments. Minibuses and up to 30 seater coaches can gain access to the property. The main road provides a layby for larger coaches with a minibus transfer for the remaining half a mile provided for a fee.
Continue to Fishguard. Clients can watch the workers on brewing day at Gwaun Valley Brewery and taste some of the local ales.
Alternatively, tours led by passionate, local residents for up to 15 clients in a minibus can be arranged with North Pembrokeshire Tours to explore the history and beauty of the area. Walking tours and a boat trip to Strumble Head are also offered.
An opportunity for FITs is Melin Tregwynt (not suitable for groups). The woollen mill produces Welsh products for worldwide sales including blankets, throws, cushions and bags. Clients can see the working mill from Monday to Friday between 10:00 and 16:00. There is a café on site.
Take the A487 road through Pembrokeshire. The Pembrokeshire Coast National Park is the only coastal national park in Britain. Pembrokeshire Coast Path National Trail is 186 miles (299 km) long.
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. 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 café . 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 with TYF Adventure. It is a sport invented in Wales, which involves walking and scrambling along the coastline before jumping into the sea. They operate from the high street and also offer other watersports, including kayaking and stand-up paddleboarding. 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 cafés, craft shops and galleries.
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.