Independent Rail Tour of Wales

At a glance

12 days / 11 nights
Departing Nov 23 – Nov 24
From AUD$2599

pp

Your Itinerary

DAY 1 – Arrival and Rail to Cardiff

Departing London, validate your BritRail Passes and travel by rail to the vibrant Welsh capital city of Cardiff, your base for the next two nights. After dropping your luggage at your hotel begin by exploring the Edwardian baroque architecture of Cathays Park, home to the national museum and gallery of Wales. Then head for the Victorian market and shopping arcades or tour the famous Millennium Stadium home of the Welsh national rugby team. Not to be missed is the city’s magnificent centrepiece at Cardiff Castle, a site which boasts Roman walls, a Norman tower and a lavish Victorian mansion.

Overnight: Cardiff
Inclusions: Rail Pass, Cardiff Castle admission

Cardiff Castle

DAY 2 – Cardiff Bay and Caerphilly Castle

Take a water taxi along the river or short rail ride to the cosmopolitan Cardiff Bay; once the largest coal port in the world the redeveloped “bay” is now home to a host of sites including the seat of Welsh government, the Millennium Centre, the Victorian Pierhead building and Norwegian Church. By afternoon you may choose to take a local bus or taxi to the open-air museum at St Fagan’s which showcases Welsh life through the ages. Alternatively, a rail journey north will take you to nearby Caerphilly to see the magnificent ruins of the 13th century fortress at Caerphilly Castle complete with concentric moat and leaning tower.

Overnight: Cardiff
Inclusions: Caerphilly Castle admission
Meals: Full Welsh Breakfast

Caerphilly Castle *

DAY 3 – Rail to Fishing Town of Tenby

Today board the train and head West passing firstly through industrial South Wales then into the rolling hills of Carmarthenshire. You’ll then arrive in one of the nation’s most scenic corners, Pembrokeshire, a peninsula home to almost two hundred miles of protected coastline. Make your way to Tenby, your base for the next two nights; one of Wales’ best kept secrets, Tenby is home to a picturesque natural harbour, historic town walls and a labyrinth of cobbled streets. Flanked by far reaching, sweeping sandy bays, the town is great for long seaside walks.

Overnight: Tenby, Pembrokeshire
Inclusions: Rail Pass
Meals: Full Welsh Breakfast

Harbour Beach, Tenby

DAY 4 – Pembrokeshire Towns and Villages

With Tenby as your base today you can make some short rail journeys to visit nearby towns and villages of Pembrokeshire. Just along the coast, you’ll find the harbour village of Saundersfoot where you can sample a traditional fish ‘n’ chips lunch. Or you may choose to visit the inland village of Lamphey; home to an historic Bishop’s Palace, and continue to the town of Pembroke to visit the imposing medieval fortress at Pembroke Castle.

Overnight: Tenby, Pembrokeshire
Inclusions: Rail Pass
Meals: Full Welsh Breakfast

Saundersfoot *

DAY 5 – Rail to Historic Shrewsbury

Today embark on a rail journey to the historic border town of Shrewsbury – your rail journey will take you either through central Wales and the Brecon Beacons National Park on the Heart of Wales line or through the rolling hills of the Welsh Border Marches. Arriving in the English market town of Shrewsbury you can explore the Tudor timberwork buildings and cobbled streets. Climb to the unique red sandstone castle, home to a local museum, gallery and gardens, spot the Charles Darwin Monument or visit Shrewsbury Abbey which inspired the stories and television series of medieval monk Brother Cadfael.

Overnight: Shrewsbury
Inclusions: Rail Pass
Meals: Full Welsh Breakfast

Brecon Beacons *

DAY 6 – Rail to the Coast of West Wales

Departing Shrewsbury enjoy a beautiful rail journey right across central Wales to the West where your journey takes you along the coastline to the Victorian resort town of Aberystwyth. Here you can stroll along the elegant mile long promenade and visit the intriguing National Library of Wales. The seafront also boasts the oldest pier in Wales (built in 1864), which offers the second-best vantage point of Aberystwyth. For the best views, take Britain’s longest cliffside railway to the world’s largest obscura camera, perched above the town, where you’ll gain a bird’s eye view of more than 1000 square miles, in a 360 degree sweep around Aberystwyth.

Overnight: Aberystwyth
Inclusions: Rail Pass
Meals: Full Welsh Breakfast

Aberystwyth

DAY 7 – Day to explore Aberystwyth & surrounds

Today, you have the option of boarding the restored Edwardian steam train for a countryside rail ride through beautiful landscapes of the Cambrian Mountains (seasonal timetable). From open fields and meadows to woodlands and rugged hillside vistas you’ll hear the sound of the powerful narrow-gauge steam locomotive as it climbs over 700ft to Devils Bridge a village steeped in myth. Alternatively, take the Cliff Railway for spectacular and uninterrupted views of the Aberystwyth and Cardigan Bay and be sure to visit the National Library of Wales to learn about Welsh history.

Overnight: Aberystwyth
Meals: Full Welsh Breakfast

Vale of Rheidol Railway *

DAY 8 – Rail to the Italian Portmeirion

Today embark on another scenic rail journey hugging the coast of West Wales from Aberystwyth to Portmeirion or Porthmadog. Visit Portmeirion Villages; designed by Sir Clough Williams-Ellis in the early 20th century, the Riviera inspired houses, colourful buildings, ornamental gardens and picturesque Piazza make it a beautiful corner of Wales. Be sure to explore its shops and cafes or get lost in the 70 acres of exotic woodlands and forest trails, secret spaces and coastal coves. No visit to Portmeirion Village would be complete without making it down to see the Amis Reunis, or “Friends Reunited”, the famous “Stone Boat” of Portmeirion.

Overnight: Portmeirion Village or nearby Porthmadog
Inclusions: Rail Pass
Meals: Full Welsh Breakfast

Portmeirion

DAY 9 – Historic Harlech

A short rail journey will transport you to Harlech a charming town with stretching beaches and dunes, artisan ice cream shops and the steepest street in the world; Ffordd Pen Llech. From Harlech you will find beautiful coastal walks with views of the Snowdonia National Park to one side and the crashing waves of the Irish sea to the other. The highlight of this town, however, is undoubtedly the UNESCO World Heritage Site at Harlech Castle. Perhaps one of Edward I’s mightiest fortress, it stands atop the craggy cliffside and for the first time in over 600 years you can now cross the ‘floating’ bridge to take you inside its defences.

Overnight: Portmeirion Village or nearby Porthmadog
Inclusions: Rail Pass, Harlech Castle admission
Meals: Full Welsh Breakfast

Porthmadog Station

DAY 10 – Ffestiniog Railway and Llandudno

Today, board the Ffestiniog Welsh Highland Railway, the world’s oldest narrow gauge trainline, to climb climbing over 700 feet from sea level in to the heart of the Snowdonia National Park, providing unique views as you pass tranquil pastures, magnificent forests, glassy lakes and tumbling waterfalls. Reaching Blaenau Ffestiniog, change onto the mainline and head north along the Conwy Valley line to the beautiful Victorian resort town of Llandudno, home to elegant architecture, a Victorian pier and the oldest working cable tramway in Britain which offers trips to the summit of the Great Orme.

Overnight: Llandudno
Inclusions: Ffestiniog Welsh Highland Railway, Rail Pass
Meals: Full Welsh Breakfast

Llandudno *

DAY 11 – Conwy and Conwy Castle

Today, take the short rail journey to the historic market town of Conwy; a true hidden gem that has been granted UNESCO World Heritage Site status, Conwy is seemingly frozen in time with its cobbled streets, picturesque harbour and stunningly preserved medieval town walls, not to mention the imposing 13th century fortress. Thanks to restored spiral staircases in its great towers you can walk a complete circuit around the battlements of Conwy Castle, regarded as one of the most impressive medieval fortresses in Europe.

Overnight: Llandudno
Inclusions: Rail Pass, Conwy Castle admission
Meals: Full Welsh Breakfast

Conwy Castle *

DAY 12 – Return to London

Today enjoy breakfast at your hotel and any final sightseeing or souvenir shopping in Wales before boarding the train in Llandudno to head back to London. Your pleasant journey takes you along the North Wales coastline before crossing the border in to England and turning South through the heart of England. Your tour ends upon arrival in the English capital. Let us know if you need post tour accommodation in London.

Meals: Full Welsh Breakfast
Inclusions: Rail Pass

Tower Bridge, London
Prices are per person, sharing a double/twin room based on 18 Mar 2024 departure.  A single supplement applies for solo travellers, provided on request.
Terms & Conditions apply.  Click to view
Exclusions:
Travel Insurance – we ask that our guests purchase suitable cover in case planned travel is affected or disrupted due to unforeseen circumstances
Flights – all tours are land only within the UK
Meals and/or sightseeing other than that outlined above.
* Image credit: © Hawlfraint y Goron / © Crown copyright (2021) Cymru Wales
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