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Wales and Liverpool

England
Rich in history, and steeped in myth and legend, Wales is a distinct country with over 750 miles of beautiful coastline, spectacular countryside and more castles per square mile than anywhere else in the world. 
After greeting each other by saying “Croeso’ in the ancient Welsh tongue, our tour begins in the compact, friendly capital of Cardiff. Then as we travel through South Wales we’ll visit picturesque villages, charming old manor houses and museums which bring Wales’ cultural and commercial history to life. 

As soon as we enter North Wales, expect to be awestruck by the vast and unspoiled scenery. Highlights here will include the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Conwy; the snowy peaks and dazzling lakes of Snowdonia National Park, the beautiful Llangollen Canal, a journey on one of Wales’ Great Little Trains and the timeless popular seaside town of Llandudno

Our last night is spent in Liverpool, home to the 2nd most museums and galleries in the UK. Originally home to The Fab Four, Liverpool is one of the world’s top Music Cities and home to a six-area UNESCO World Heritage Site!

Tour Highlights:

   • Cardiff, Wales capital city
   • Big Pit National Coal Museum
   • Dylan Thomas’ Boathouse
   • Snowdonia National Park 
   • Portmeirion
   • Ffestiniog and Welsh Highland Railway
   • Isle of Anglesley and 13th Century Beaumaris Castle
   • Llandudno, North Wales ‘seaside’ resort
   • Gwydir Castle and Conwy Castle 
   • Llangollen and the Pontcysyllte Aqueduct 
   • An evening Male Choir rehearsal
   • Welsh Storytelling
   • Tour of Liverpool and iconic Beatles’ sites
   • Port Sunlight

* Those joining our tours to Europe must be able to walk fairly long distances and climb stairs easily.

Itinerary / Excursions

We depart for London.
We arrive in London and transfer through the Cotswolds countryside into Wales, arriving at our hotel in the heart of Wales’ capital city for a 3-night stay. This evening is our Welcome Dinner.
Our tour of Cardiff will show us Bute Park, Cardiff Castle and Cardiff Bay - Europe's largest waterfront development project, and Cardiff's centre of culture and entertainment. Afternoon at leisure to further discover this incredible city! For dinner we will enjoy an informal evening of Welsh food and Welsh entertainment, including a selection of traditional and contemporary songs in both English and Welsh.
We first visit the Big Pit National Coal Museum, and discover Wales' rich mining heritage in this award-winning interactive museum. In the afternoon we visit the 17th century Llancaiach Fawr Manor - a superbly restored gentry manor house, and experience centuries old domestic life as the costumed ‘servants’ keep house for their master and mistress.
This morning we watch the UK’s coins being made at the Royal Mint, from a blank piece of metal to a currency. Experience the sight of thousands of glistening new coins, hot off the machines, with an opportunity to strike your very own coin. Then we visit Dylan Thomas’ Boathouse. It is here that the famous writer / poet worked in the Writing Shed with its inspiring views of three estuaries. This evening after dinner we enjoy intriguing tales of Welsh Myths and Legends told by a Welsh Storyteller.
We begin at the National Wool Museum. Wool was historically the most important of Wales's industries, and the museum is housed in the historic former Cambrian Mills which produced shirts and shawls, blankets and bedcovers, woollen stockings and socks sold throughout the world. In the afternoon we visit Cardigan Castle, where we’ll explore the medieval walls and castle remains, learn about the castle’s inhabitants throughout its history and wander through the stunning garden full of rare plant species.
We proceed into North Wales and enjoy the amazing mountainous scenery en route to the Italianate village of Portmeirion, a charming resort with winding streets, towers and woodland gardens. Then we board the Ffestiniog Railway at Porthmadog, and relax in the comfortable carriages as this award winning historic steam engine takes us on a 13-mile journey through the outstanding scenery of Snowdonia National Park. We arrive in Betws-y-Coed, the principal village of the Park, for a 3-night stay.
The Isle of Anglesey (“Mon Mam Cymru”) is considered the mother island of Wales. We cross over the Menai Straight and our first stop is the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Beaumaris Castle, located in a picturesque mountain setting. Then we proceed to Halen Môn Sea Salt for a tutored salt tasting. Dinner this evening will be hosted by Welsh families - an opportunity to learn about Welsh life and enjoy some home cooking. Don’t forget to ask for the recipes!
We travel to Llangollen and board a canal boat for a trip across the Pontcyllte Aqueduct - an engineering masterpiece, during which we’ll take in the magical sights of the beautiful Llangollen canal. The afternoon is free to enjoy Betws-y-Coed. You may want to browse the independent craft shops, or visit an art gallery displaying talented Welsh artists. Those feeling active may enjoy some of the many great walking trails around the village.
We visit an ancient Welsh house, Gwydir Castle, situated in the beautiful Conwy Valley in the foothills of Snowdonia. Considered one of the finest Tudor houses in Wales, this atmospheric castle was the ancestral home of the powerful Wynn family. Next, we enjoy a delicious Afternoon Tea at the 15th Century Hwnt I’r Bont, followed by a visit to Bodnant Gardens - one of the oldest and most visited formal gardens in Wales. Later we arrive in Llandudno for a 3-night stay.
One of Britain’s best-preserved medieval towns, Conwy has the most intact ancient walls of any castle in Europe. They enclose a town of narrow cobbled streets, nooks and crannies, chock-full of historic buildings. This UNESCO World Heritage Site was a key part of the ‘iron ring’ of fortresses built around Snowdonia in the 13th century. We will also see The Smallest House in Great Britain, nestled amongst a terrace of houses on Conwy's quayside. This evening we’ll attend one of Wales famous Male Choir rehearsals!
The Victorian resort of Llandudno is considered one of the finest places to visit in the UK. It is uniquely situated by the Orme Mountains, with two wonderful beaches, the iconic North Shore with its sweeping bay and the quiet, sand duned West Shore. You may want to wander along the immaculate seafront with its ornate pier, boutique shops and canopied streets (the original covered shopping invented in Victorian times). Dinner is on our own tonight, and the many choices include fine restaurants serving local produce, cosy Welsh pubs and homely cafes - something for everyone!
We leave Wales and head to the beautiful village of Port Sunlight - one of the best-preserved model industry villages in the country. The developer, industrialist William Lever, built homes and amenities for the workers in his soap factory. Our guided tour will include a visit to the Lady Lever Art Gallery. Then it’s off to Liverpool, and our city tour will take in some of the iconic Beatle sites, as well as the Liverpool Anglican Cathedral - Britain's largest Cathedral and the 5th largest in Europe.
Our hotel is in a perfectly central location, so all of Liverpool is at our doorstep. This World Heritage City and Capital of Culture offers , excellent galleries and museums, Football tours, no shortage of pubs and café’s, and of course Beatles tours (our hotel is only steps from the famous Cavern Club!) Our Farewell Dinner will be aboard Liverpool’s only floating restaurant - The Floating Grace, located right on Albert Dock.
We fly home from Manchester
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