2021 Wild Wales Tour
Untamed natural beauty, the highest mountains in Britain outside of Scotland, 641 castles, and a sometimes raging coastline. Yes, in these modest ways, Wales can definitely sometimes be wild.
We travel the length and breadth of Wales, going through areas of outstanding natural beauty and national parks, small towns and villages, around the coast, and ending in the capital city of Cardiff.
With pre and post tour options to extend your experience further, this tour gives you a depth of immersion, and time in “real” Wales that few other travelers have a chance to enjoy.
This page tells you what you need to know about the tour in general, and we also have a detailed day by day itinerary so you can understand everything that you’ll get to see and do during your lovely Wild Wales tour.
Start Date & Options
The tour starts on Friday 20 August in Chester at 9.00am.
If you prefer, you can join the tour part-way through, on the date of your choice, anywhere on our touring route.
We will meet at the Chester Railway Station at 9.00am. You can take an overnight or early morning train from elsewhere in the country to get there by that time, or perhaps you might arrive a day or two earlier, maybe taking advantage of our optional Pre-tour experience.
Optional Pre-tour Extension
Firstly, we always recommend you should arrive at least a day early when joining tours internationally. This gives you a day to unwind after the flights, and also gives you an “emergency” day in case of problems with flights en route. So, if nothing else, be sure to arrive a day early into Chester, maybe even two days early.
Secondly, if we get enough people to make it economically sensible, we’ll put on a day or two of touring in and around Chester immediately prior to the start of the main tour.
End Date & Options
The tour finishes on Thursday 26 August, in Cardiff or Shrewsbury.
If you prefer, you can leave the tour part-way through, on the date of your choice, anywhere on our touring route.
Our tour ends on Thursday, either after breakfast in Cardiff, or early afternoon in Shrewsbury.
Optional Post-tour Extension
We will be offering a post-tour extension that starts off when you arrive into Shrewsbury at the end of the magical train journey on the “Heart of Wales” line that runs through the center of the country, stopping at tiny stations along the way.
You could continue with us as we travel on up to Scotland, stopping at Gretna Green in case of any “tour romances” and sudden marriages (!), and then continuing to New Lanark or Glasgow.
On Friday you could stay at New Lanark for one or two nights, or go to Glasgow for one or two nights prior to the start of the Scotland’s Four Corners tour.
This optional extension is detailed on the day-by-day itinerary page.
Look at Everything We Include
We’ve balanced the opposing concepts of including lots of activities and also allowing you free flexible time on this tour.
We’re also reasonably flexible about adding to or varying the tour ‘real time’ as we are traveling. As long as the group as a whole agrees and the schedule allows, we’re happy to make changes to enhance the experience for all group members.
Accordingly, while including accommodation every night, breakfasts and two dinners, touring and sightseeing, we’ve left plenty of time open for you to choose exactly the experiences, meals, and other activities you personally wish.
Everything is optional, so if you want to spend a lazy day strolling around one of the lovely towns we stay in rather than an active day out and about sightseeing, that is of course totally possible too. It is all up to you.
Some of what the tour includes comprises
On the Coach
Large luxury coach so there’s always an average of at least 1.5 seats per person, giving you best views and comfort while touring
Personal travel-sized bottles of hand-sanitizer (refills available)
Bottled water, soda, and beer available for purchase at modest price
On-board rest-room, reclinable seats, and plenty of space for carry-ons and purchases
David Rowell (the ‘Travel Insider’ himself) as tour leader
Where we visit (in order including pre and post tours – see the itinerary page
Chester – One of our favorite ancient cities in England with lovely town walls, half-timbered buildings, and medieval two-levelled shopping “rows”.
Chirk and Pontcysyllte Aqueducts – We visit two of the most photographed structures in Wales, both dating to the Industrial Revolution, and designed for canal narrowboats. You’ll even have a chance (but not a need!) to walk over one of them yourself.
Langollen and Denbigh – Two attractive old market towns, Denbigh still having some of its historic town walls.
Llandudno– A coastal resort town, in Victorian times known as “the Queen of the Welsh Watering Places”. Although small it is the largest seaside resort town in Wales.
Conwy Castle – The second most visited castle in Wales, a World Heritage site, and exceptionally well preserved.
Caernarfon – Home of the most famous of all Welsh castles, a Roman settlement and one time seat of English government in northern Wales.
Llanfair PG – Or, if you prefer its full name, Llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwyrndrobwllllantysiliogogogoch, a tiny town famous for nothing much more than its name – the longest in Europe and second longest in the world (New Zealand has the longest).
Isle of Anglesey – While on (in?) Anglesey, we go by Beaumaris Castle, hope to see some dolphins at Moelfre, visit the most northerly settlement in Wales at Amlwch, then continue on to Holy Island and the town of Holyhead, and will see some of their standing stones and other prehistoric items.
Llechwedd Slate Mine – Wales is perhaps best known for its coal mining, but it has many other types of mining as well and was formerly the most important slate mining region in the world. We’ve a fascinating chance to see a slate mine, and to tour into the mine too if you wish.
Ffestiniog Railway – A narrow gauge railway that goes through the Snowdonia Natl Park. It is the oldest surviving rail company in the world, originally established to take slate from the slate mines to the harbor at Porthmadog. Operates a 40 mile line.
Snowdonia National Park – Full of stunningly beautiful scenery, and home of the highest mountains outside of Scotland, this was the first national park established in Wales. Traces of settlements within the park date back 6,000 years.
Portmeirion – A truly bizarre tourist village designed and build in the style of an Italian village over a 50 year period. Many know it as “The Village” featured in the 1960s enigmatic tv show, “The Prisoner”.
Harlech Castle – Another of Wales’ best known castles, and immortalized in the country’s unofficial anthem (often sung at sports games), telling of the siege during the Wars of the Roses.
Aberystwyth – An ancient market town, nowadays primarily a nice university town on the shores of Cardigan Bay.
Aberaeron – Known for its colored houses, this charming Regency town, also on the seaside, has a pod of bottlenose dolphins that make their home in the harbor.
St David’s – The smallest city in Britain (both population and area), with a lovely cathedral, and the resting place of Wales’ patron saint.
Tenby – A beautiful fishing town located on a lovely harbor, known for its 13th century walls.
Brecon Beacons National Park – One of the three national parks in Wales, although peaceful and beautiful, it is also well known as a training ground for the SAS regiment.
Chepstow – The first settlements here date back 7,000 years, so there’s more history here than almost anywhere else in Wales.
Tintern Abbey – These beautiful ruins in a lovely setting are of course the inspiration for Wordsworth’s poem. The Abbey was founded in 1131, and suffered the usual fate during the Dissolution of the Monasteries in the 1500s.
Cardiff – The largest city in and capital of Wales, also the most popular tourist destination in Wales.
Heart of Wales Train Journey – A lovely train journey on a slow “stopping train” that wends its way through the heart of Wales from Llanelli to Shrewsbury (the brown line on the map, below).
And of course – beautiful and dramatic scenery showcasing Wild Wales in abundance
Food and Drink inclusions
Cooked breakfasts every morning
Welcome drinks the first night
A group welcome dinner on the second night in Caernarfon to accelerate the getting to know each other process, with a drink or two also included
Group farewell dinner in Cardiff – a sad experience for sure, but we try to make it as convivial as possible, and, yes, of course there’ll again be a drink or two on offer
Possible an additional libation when you least expect it
Maybe a traditional Welsh snack when we’re all feeling peckish
Of perhaps equal importance in understanding the distinctive and special nature of this tour is not just what the tour includes, but also what it omits.
What the tour proudly does NOT include!
NO Early starts
NO Crowded coaches (maximum group size 24 people on a 40+ seater coach)
NO Characterless hotels on the outskirts of cities
NO Checking in and out of hotels every day
NO Series of long days of endless travel on a bus
NO Huge groups being rushed through tourist trap after tourist trap
NO ‘Shopping opportunities’ at over-priced trashy souvenir shops
NO Group meals, at fixed times, with limited fixed menus, in generic cafeterias
NO Regimented inflexible schedules and mandatory events
NO Obnoxious inexperienced ‘out of their depth’ first time travelers
NO Crowded schedules leaving no flexible free time
Responding to Covid-19
At present (we will update this section any time there are significant changes) we can not yet confirm and guarantee this tour will operate, because we don’t know what will happen with the virus and how Britain will continue to respond and open-up or lock-down.
We will make a go/no-go decision as soon as we can, but this depends on Britain (and the virus). We hope to be in a position to confirm with a high degree of confidence (or cancel) by early June.
We discuss these complexities in detail in this article, but for now, there are two essential elements needed before we will operate the tour.
1. The UK must allow vaccinated visitors from the US to enter without needing to be quarantined upon arrival.
2. The UK must allow reasonable opening hours and operating conditions and internal travel for hotels, restaurants, bars, shops, and tourist attractions such that we can enjoy a relatively normal vacation experience.
For our part, we have adopted four strategies :
1. We will not ask for your deposit until we are reasonably certain the tour can proceed, at which stage we need deposits as a show of participation by people who have registered interest.
2. You must be able to show that you have had the two vaccinations (or one in the case of Johnson & Johnson) at least two weeks prior to departure.
3. If you display symptoms of Covid while on the tour, you agree to leave the tour and not rejoin until obtaining a negative “no Covid infection” test result.
4. Our hired coaches will have at least 50% more seats than people in our group, and group size will be restricted to a maximum of 24 participants.
Please ask if you have additional questions or concerns.
As we generally do with our tours, we’ve created variable pricing depending on how many people come on the tour. With the small-sized groups we offer, but with full-sized coaches, the cost per person is quite sensitive depending on the people traveling, so rather than set a price that is unfairly high or unrealistically low, we set it fairly based on how many people are traveling.
The price for the main tour is shown immediately below. Note that if you choose a second or all three of our 2021 Britain tours, we subtract a “quantity discount” from the total sum. We will not operate the tour with fewer than ten people, and will not accept more than 24 in total.
So encourage your friends to come, and not only get the special savings (mentioned next) but the growth in numbers also brings the tour price down for you, for them, and for everyone else, too.
To give you an indication for possible total tour numbers and therefore cost, our last few British tours each had in the high teens or low twenties of people participating. Hopefully we’ll get somewhere in that range again for this tour.
|Main Tour Price per person
|less than 12
|to be determined
We offer this tour to you with a choice of three accommodation levels. In addition to the regular prices above, you can :
Add $199 for one level of upgrade
Add a further $100 for a second level of upgrade
Rates are per person, share twin. Upgrades are not always available, and we only charge you for the actual upgrades we can secure on your behalf.
We will help to match together singles if you’d like to share with a compatible fellow single traveler but can not guarantee this.
No Hidden Extras
There are no extra charges.
While you are free to tip our coach driver as you might wish, there are no envelopes passed around at the end of the tour nor ‘recommended’ tips that you are asked/expected to pay.
Other Price Comments
All these prices reflect a 3% discount for cash/check.
A $500 per person non-refundable deposit will be required to confirm your place on this tour once the tour is guaranteed to proceed.
Tour does not include the costs of travel to and from the tour start and end points, nor anything not specified as included.
Why not bring a friend or two with you, for more shared fun and fellowship.
To encourage you to do this, and your friends to travel with you, we’ll offer a 1% discount for each extra person you bring with you (other than anyone you are sharing your room with to start with).
Bring another couple, and they get a 2% discount – and you get the same 2% discount too! Bring two couples and all of you get a 4% discount, and so on (up to a maximum of 10%).
Singles Save Too!
Travel Insider tours always have a large number of singles – our groups are friendly, inclusive, and welcoming, making them ideal for singles as well as couples and larger groups.
We do our best to make our tours not only as friendly as possible, but also affordable and fair for singles, too.
We have managed to cut the single supplement down to $495, only about one-quarter of the per person price.
More Helpful Information
You will save money and gain flexible convenience if you arrange your own air travel. These days airlines seldom give discounts to groups, and sometimes even charge more, while also adding extra restrictions to the tickets.
You can choose whichever carrier has the best fare and the best schedules for you, and you can also choose your preferred carrier that you wish to earn miles with. You can even cash in miles and fly on frequent flier awards.
We’ll be pleased to answer any questions you might have about arranging your air transportation, of course. We’re here to help, every which way.
Join and Leave at Any Time
We always design our tours around you, not vice versa. If you have other commitments so that you need to arrive after the tour has started, or leave before its official end, that’s fine. We’ll work with you to meet you somewhere on the way.
Tell us when you’d like to arrive and leave and we’ll work out an adjusted price to reflect this. Typically expect about a $200/day credit for days you miss.
See the itinerary page for details of where we are each day.
Register Your Interest Now
As soon as your application is received, we will advise you of your position on the list of potential participants, and keep you regularly updated between then and the tour’s go/no-go decision.
Tour Terms and Conditions
Our standard terms and conditions apply to this tour.
In addition, please note these extra terms :
1. Deposit will be required within seven days once the tour is officially confirmed. Full payment is due on or before Thursday, 1 July, 2021.
2. US, Canadian, and many other citizens require a current passport that will not expire until after the date of their planned return from Britain in order to be admitted to the UK, but do not require a visa. Citizens of other countries should check with the airline that will transport them to the UK to determine what passport and visa requirements may apply. Note that if you’re including Europe, the EU requires a passport to be valid for at least three months after your planned departure from the EU.
3. Tour price is based on a wholesale Pound/Dollar exchange rate in the range of 1.35 – 1.41 (as shown, eg, in Yahoo Finance/Money – on 4 May 2021 it is showing a rate of 1.39). If the exchange rate moves outside this range, and prior to full payment having been received by you, we will adjust the price up or down to reflect the change in underlying tour costs. We will advise you if the exchange rate is materially changing and you can always lock in the price by sending in early full payment.