Day 1 - Stratford-upon-Avon and the Welsh borders
See how the Tudors lived in Stratford on Avon then venture through the wondrously rolling hills of the Welsh borders.
You leave London and travel west to William Shakespeare’s birthplace and hometown, Stratford on Avon. This town’s beautiful black and white timber frame buildings are almost unchanged since Tudor times. Walk amongst them and feel as if you’ve been transported to the past.
Following lunch in Stratford, you travel west through the Welsh Marches and the borderlands between England and Wales; marked out by the ancient Offa’s Dyke. The route then leads into the heart of the Cambrian Mountains and beautiful Elan Valley.
Leaving here in the late afternoon, it’s just an hour or so to the beautiful seaside town and cultural centre of Aberystwyth, where you spend the next two nights.
On tours departing from April 2018, you visit the Cotswolds instead of Stratford-upon-Avon.
Day 2 - Snowdonia National Park, Harlech and Criccieth
Admire the crests and dips of sharp mountains and deep valleys at the Snowdonia National Park then compare the ramparts of two magnificent medieval Welsh castles, at Harlech and Criccieth.
Travel north into the spectacularly mountainous region of the Snowdonia National Park. You visit the beautiful mountain village of Beddgelert, where you can see the famous grave of ‘Gelert’, the legendary dog, or explore the nearby copper mine.
From here, it’s a short ride to the small coastal town of Criccieth. And nearby there’s an exemplary example of one of the castles of the Welsh Princes. You get stunning views from the ramparts along the coast and out into Cardigan Bay.
You travel on to Porthmadog and over the Cob causeway before reaching Harlech Castle. This mighty medieval castle sits high on a hill, and looks perfectly impenetrable.
After a fulfilling day you return to Aberystwyth in late afternoon.
On tours departing from April 2018, you visit the village of Machynlleth instead of Criccieth Castle.
Day 3 - New Quay, Dolaucothi Mine and Tenby
Wander around New Quay and wish you could move into this picturesque little town and hunt for gold in Britain’s only Roman gold mine
Leaving Aberystwyth, you travel around the coast of Cardigan Bay through the quaint town of Aberaeron, and to New Quay.
A sumptuous sandy harbour, whitewashed houses, and connections to Dylan Thomas: this town is one of the most picturesque and interesting little towns in Britain. What’s more is from the breakwater wall you may be lucky enough to spot dolphins and whales. Turning inland, you strike out for gold at the Dolaucothi mine, which dates back to Roman times.
Following this excursion you head into the foreboding Black Mountains. You may get the chance to explore a mysterious bedrock cave under a castle before you head for the coast, and visit Laugharne, where Dylan Thomas wrote the famous play “Under Milk Wood”.
From here it’s a short distance to Tenby, the small, charming seaside town that’ll be your base for two nights.
On tours departing from April 2018, you do not visit the Dolaucothi Gold Mines.
Day 4 - Pembrokeshire Coast National Park
Visit the only national park in Britain that’s dedicated to gorgeous coastline views then stumble upon the grand cathedral of Britain’s smallest city, St Davids.
Our last full day in Wales is spent exploring the extreme south-west. You see some of Britain’s most gorgeous coastlines at the Pembrokeshire Coast National Park. This region is stunning and was the birthplace of both the patron saint of Wales, and the Twdyr (anglicised to Tudor) royal dynasty.
You stop in the county town of Pembroke, where you can enter the thick medieval walls of the castle. And after this, you travel on to the tiny cathedral city of St Davids for lunch and time for exploration.
In the afternoon the tour follows the coast to Strumble Head, the site of the last invasion of Britain in 1797, and on to the Presili Hills. These hills are a place of entombment in Neolithic times and the source of the bluestones of Stonehenge.
From here we return once more to Tenby for a relaxed evening. On tours departing from April 2018, you spend more time in Tenby instead of visiting Strumble Head.
Day 5 - National History Museum and the Roman Fortress at Caerleon
Delve deep into history at the National History Museum and the Roman Fortress at Caerleon then wander around the quintessential Cotswold village of Castle Combe.
Leaving Tenby in the morning, you begin your return journey to London. You travel past the big industrial cities of South Wales to the outskirts of Cardiff, for a visit to the outdoor National History Museum (an optional drop-off for anyone wanting to end the tour in Cardiff is available).
After a quick tour through the impressively modern Cardiff Bay area, head 2000 years back in time with a stop at the remarkably well preserved Roman Fortress at Caerleon.
From here, it’s time to say goodbye to Wales. You take the Severn Bridge back into England, where you have one final break at Castle Combe. This gorgeous Cotswold village perfect for a relaxed stroll amongst 16th century ironstone cottages. From here you will head back to central London.
On tours departing from April 2018, you spend more time in St Fagan’s, Caerleon, and Castle Combe instead of visiting Cardiff Bay.