These tour ideas are just the thing for groups who like to be flexible. Now here’s the hard bit – coast of mountain? Heritage or sightseeing?
Down the Valley and Beyond
Travel through the picturesque Conwy Valley to the nearby Bodnant Garden, one of the most beautiful gardens in the UK, spanning some 80 acres situated above the River Conwy and famous for its amazing plant collection and spring flowers. Stroll around the garden at your leisure and why not visit the onsite Welsh Craft Studios and gift shop en-route. Travel approx. 5 minutes to Bodnant Welsh Food Centre at Tal-y-Cafn, set in the heart of the Conwy Valley and surrounded by the stunning scenery of Snowdonia. Bodnant’s multi-award-winning Welsh Food Centre provides a memorable visit since being established in 2012.
Following your visit to Bodnant Welsh Food continue along the A470 towards Tal y Cafn crossing over the bridge on the right hand side to Surf Snowdonia the World’s first-inland surfing lagoon, the size of 6 football pitches which has been built on a derelict industrial site which was once home to an aluminium factory. Surf Snowdonia sits just a few metres away from the banks of the River Conwy and is close to a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI). It’s also a focal point for the village of Dolgarrog. Here you can try one of the activities on offer and enjoy a light lunch whilst enjoying the scenery and taking in the fabulous views of this man made lagoon.
Why not finish your day with a visit to the picturesque village of Trefriw to visit Trefriw Woollen Mill, manufacturers of traditional Welsh woven bedspreads/blankets and tweeds. The water driven turbine which generates their electricity can be viewed all year within shop hours. Weaving demonstrations are also available with shop and tearoom.
Heritage in North East Wales
Visit the picturesque town of Llangollen, on the river Dee and the famous venue of the International Musical Eisteddfod (1st week July). A must ‘do’ is a 10 mile journey on the Llangollen Steam Railway through an area of outstanding natural beauty.
Another must visit is Plas Newydd – the famous home of the ‘Ladies of Llangollen’ who eloped from Ireland to this unpretentious little cottage in 1778 and transformed it into a gothic fantasy entertaining the rich and famous including the Duke of Wellington.
Experience the beauty of the Dee Valley and learn about its industrial heritage on a canal boat trip across the 126 ft high Pontcysyllte Aqueduct now a designated World Heritage Site.
The scenic Horseshoe Pass will lead you to the historic market town of Ruthin with its Victorian Gaol, the only Pentonville style prison now open in the UK followed by a tour of Nantclwyd y Dre built in 1435 and probably the oldest timbered town house in Wales.
The heritage in the County of Flintshire can be experienced by visiting the Greenfield Valley Heritage Park and Museum as well at St Winefride’s Well, a place of pilgrimage and one of the 7 wonders of Wales. A visit to the Gladstone’ Residential Library founded in 1889 by Prime Minister Sir William Gladstone, is a fascinating end to a tour of historic North East Wales.
A Blast from the Past
Travel through the village of Betws y Coed in the Conwy Valley and head to Capel Curig which lies in the heart of Snowdonia on the river Lugwy taking in the stunning views along the picturesque pass to Llanberis. Visit the National Slate Museum situated under towering slate mountains. The Victorian engineering workshops of Dinorwig Slate Quarry is a living, working museum that tells the story of the North Wales’ slate Industry. Enjoy a stunning introductory film show, slate-splitting demonstrations, explore the furnished quarryman’s houses and marvel at the giant waterwheel on-site.
Just beyond the Museum is a variety of independent shops/workshops selling hand-made Padarn pottery as well as slate gifts and souvenirs. Take a short coach journey to the Royal Victoria Hotel, Llanberis for lunch, set in 30 acres of garden and woodland that include Dolbadarn Castle.
A visit to The Slate Caverns at Blaenau Ffestiniog is a must it’s here that your group can experience the story of the men who built this incredible industry which literally helped to ’roof the world’. This new tour uses cutting-edge enhanced reality technology to tell the story of the miner’s determination and resilience as they worked. It’s a real insight as to how our mining forefathers lived, the importance to them of family, friendship and community, and how their lives have shaped our own – and still do.
Evening meal at the hotel will be a real ‘Taste of Wales’ as the main ingredients are locally sourced followed by an evening with a local choir rehearsal – a unique and moving experience.