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North Wales offers a treasure trove of historic gems to discover, where imposing castles, magnificent stately homes and glorious gardens scatter the dramatic landscapes. From learning about the longest-running industrial dispute at Penrhyn Castle to exploring the astonishingly well-preserved Elizabethan town house Plas Mawr, we admire a range of architectural splendors and discover their fascinating stories. Combined with the beauty and tranquillity of the world-famous Bodnant Garden, this is the perfect exploration of historic north Wales.
*The round-trip transfer service from Manchester airport to the Warner Bodelwyddan Castle Hotel is included in the tour price. If you would prefer to be picked up from an alternative airport or location, please contact us for additional mileage costs.
**Applicable to double/twin rooms only.
You will be met at Manchester airport for your transfer to the Warner Bodelwyddan Castle Hotel in Bodelwyddan (journey time approximately 90 minutes). Check-in at the hotel is normally available from 2pm. Later, we enjoy a welcome drinks reception hosted by our tour manager, followed by dinner.
We head to the medieval walled town of Conwy to visit the imposing Conwy Castle. Classified as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, this medieval castle was built by Edward I during his conquest of Wales in the late 13th century and is considered to be among the finest surviving medieval fortifications in Britain with soaring curtain walls, round towers and fortified gateways.
Our next stop is Conwy’s Plas Mawr, one of the finest surviving town houses of the Elizabethan era to be found anywhere in Britain. The house was built between 1576 and 1585 for Robert Wynn, an influential Welsh merchant (look out for the many R.W initials in its crests and coats of arms around the house). The authentic period atmosphere is enhanced by the many furnishings original to the house, skilled friezes and ornamental plasterwork, fully restored to its former splendor.
Finally we visit Bodnant Garden, nestled in the Snowdonian foothills. Created over 150 years ago by scientist, businessman and politician Henry Pochin, the garden was filled with plants collected by famous global explorers such as Ernest Wilson, George Forrest and Harold Climber. Today the world famous garden is home to National Collections and Champion Trees spread across its sweeping lawns, grand terraces and verdant woodland.
Plas Newydd is a fine country house built on the banks of the Menai Strait. Its most famous past resident is the 1st Marquess of Anglesey, who commanded the cavalry at Waterloo in 1815. The elegant interior owes more to the 1930s, thanks to its associations with the artist, socialite and fallen World War II soldier Rex Whistler.
Built in the 19th century in a neo-Norman style, the magnificent Penrhyn Castle was built on a massive scale over a period of 13 years and offers outstanding views of Snowdonia. There is so much to see here, from the unique architecture, opulent interiors, outstanding collection of paintings, restored Victorian kitchens and a railway museum. We discover more of Penrhyn’s history including sugar and slate fortunes, social unrest and the longest-running industrial dispute in British history.
Please note: due to restoration work there may be some limitation to access at Plas Newydd.
We begin the day with a visit to Bodrhyddan Hall, home to Lord Langford and his ancestors for the last 500 years and set in several acres of glorious formal gardens and reclaimed woodland. Reworked in 1875 by the famous architect William Eden Nesfield, Bodrhyddan Hall is a Grade I listed house and one of the few in Wales to still be in private hands. Nesfield not only enlarged the house but also rotated its axis, making a new west-facing entrance in Queen Anne Revival style. We learn more about this splendid house on our fascinating guided tour and discover its extensive historical collection, which includes a variety of fine portraits and a 3,000-year-old Egyptian mummy and Sarcophagus.
Next we head to the 17th-century Rug Chapel, where the plain exterior hides many riches within. Created by arch-Royalist Colonel William Salesbury with high church pretensions and a zany style to counter puritanical notions of the time, almost no surface of the chapel’s interiors was left untouched, with decorative flourishes including magnificent wood carvings, rose motifs and extravagant paintings.
Afterwards we take a trip into yesteryear as we board the Llangollen Railway in the picturesque village of Carrog. Our scenic heritage rail journey winds through the Dee Valley, an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, before finishing in the pretty market town of Llangollen, situated on the River Dee.
Please note: the journey on the Llangollen Railway may not be steam hauled. The railway also runs diesel locomotive trains.
Please note: Bodrhyddan Hall is not suitable for wheelchair users.
You will be picked up from the Warner Bodelwyddan Castle Hotel and transferred to Manchester airport for your flight home.
The 4-star Warner Bodelwyddan Castle Hotel is a Grade II listed Victorian building located close to the village of Bodelwyddan in North Wales. The hotel is set within the grounds of a romantic castle but after a multi-million pound renovation, has all the amenities of a modern hotel. The rooms feature a TV and tea and coffee-making facilities, and the hotel also offers two restaurants, a variety of bars, and an indoor swimming pool. There is also plenty of entertainment at the hotel, including live music, comedy shows, ballroom and sequence dancing plus a range of hosted activities.