2021 Daily Itinerary for the Wild Wales Tour

Conwy Castle is enormous in size and well preserved.

This is the day by day itinerary for our 2021 “Wild Wales” tour and is in three parts.

1.  The blue section immediately following details the optional pre-tour extensions that connect with the Wild Wales tour.

2.  The green section in the middle is the main tour

3.  The blue section at the bottom is the optional post-tour extension to New Lanark and/or Glasgow to connect with the Scotland’s Four Corners Tour.

The main page explaining the tour and with the joining form is here.

Maybe Tuesday 17 August : Arrive Chester?

You can choose your preferred airline and flights to get to Scotland and join the tour.

There’s no right or exact day you shold plan to arrive into Chester, but if time allows, we’d recommend you target today as a good day to arrive into Chester.

If you’re coming directly from the US, that would mean leaving the US the previous day (Monday 16 August), because most flights to the UK from the US are overnight, so you’d leave yesterday afternoon and arrive today.

Of course, you can fly earlier to anywhere in Britain, and travel on to Chester today or any other day, probably by train, or get there any other way it suits you.

It is an easy 2 – 2 1/2 hour train journey to Chester from London’s Euston train station, or as little as one hour from Manchester.

Wednesday 18 August : Chester - city exploration

Chester's Foregate St and Rows.
Chester's ornate Victorian-era Eastgate Clock is the second most photographed clock in England (after Big Ben).

If you arrived into Chester yesterday, we’d recommend that today you get to know the lovely city of Chester, walking around and sightseeing as you choose.

Some of the most popular activities in Chester include strolling around the city walls, and going through the medieval “shopping rows” in the central historic shopping area.

There’s a lovely cathedral, and most days there are falconry displays in the cathedral grounds, and you can even have a falcon or other bird come and land on your own arm.

More information on how to enjoy a day in Chester can be found here and here.

Thursday 19 August : Chester - maybe some touring

The National Waterways Museum is on a working canal, with a mix of indoor and outdoor exhibits.
These imposing buildings on Liverpool's riverside are known as "The Three Graces".
One of the evaporative salt pans at the Lion Salt Works Museum.

Today is the day when we’re likely to have the largest number of pre-tour people together in Chester.  So we’ll see about organizing some special touring around the region today, depending on how large a group we have.

We’ll start off by going to the National Waterways Museum at Ellesmere Port.  This wonderful site showcases the history and heritage of England’s Industrial Revolution era canals, and is one of our favorite sites in England.

Then we go through Port Sunlight, a bizarre utopian planned town created by a Victorian era industrial magnate to nobly house his workers.

Next, we go across the Mersey, and arrive into Liverpool, where we’ll stop for lunch and time to explore this fascinating city – there’s a lot more to it than “just” the Beatles museum, although that is interesting in and of itself, too!

Then we go to a historical salt works, now a museum.  Not a salt mine, but a 19th century salt works, where salt was obtained by evaporating large open pans of salt water.  After that, we return through the lovely Cheshire countryside back to Chester.

We hope your timings will allow you to be in Chester in time to enjoy this very varied day of experiences.

Friday 20 August : Main tour starts

Another view of the medieval shopping "rows" in Chester.

This morning the main tour starts in Chester.

This is the end of the optional pre-tour.  Please now scroll down to Friday 20 August in the main tour (green) section immediately below to continue the tour itinerary.

Thursday 19 August (or sooner) : Travel to Chester

You can fly on any of the many different airlines that go to the UK.

If you are leaving from North America, and wish to arrive into Chester for the official tour start date on Friday 20 August, you should start your travels today or (probably) yesterday or even sooner.

Note that we recommend arriving into Britain and getting close to Chester a day or more ahead of the tour start so as to have spare/emergency time up your sleeve.  So you might choose to leave home a day or two prior to today.

Friday 20 August : Tour starts in Chester, touring to Caernarfon

The 1008' long, 125' high, 18 arched Pontcysyllte Aqueduct was completed in 1805. As well as boat traffic, it is possible to walk over it. A sense of its scale can be gained by noting the tiny seeming pair of canal boats crossing it.
The lovely town of Llangollen on the River Dee.
Conwy (sometimes shown as Conway) Castle.
The Victorian sea-side resort of Llandudno.

Today is the official tour start day, when we meet at 9.00am.

We’re less than five miles from the Wales border, and soon will be visiting our first two similar stops – the Chirk and Pontcysyllte aqueducts, constructed to allow canal boats to conveniently cross the valleys below.  We’ll have photo opportunities at both, and will also give you a chance to walk across the larger/higher of the two (Pontcysyllte) yourself.

Then we continue on to two lovely market towns – Llangollen on the River Dee, and Denbigh with its ruined castle towering above the small town itself.  Depending on how we’re going for time, we’ll stop at one or the other for lunch.

Then a special treat – a visit to Conwy Castle, designated a World Heritage Site, and an exceptionally well preserved castle.

There’s still more – a chance to visit “The Queen of the Welsh Watering Places”, as it was known in Victorian times, the lovely coastal resort town of Llandudno.

We then continue to Caernarfon (also called Carnarvon in English) where we’ll enjoy two nights.

One last thing for the day – a welcome drink once we get to Caernarfon.  What a great first day and start to your Wild Wales tour!

Saturday 21 August : Touring around Anglesey and Holy Island

This is the custom caption that appears associated with the picture above
Prolific and brilliant engineer Thomas Telford's Menai Suspension Bridge.
Complete this sentence if you can : And the temperature was 21° today in ......."
If time and weather allows, we might see if we can squeeze in a visit to the South Stack Lighthouse

We’ll leave the morning free for you to sightsee around Caernarfon as you choose.  You might want to visit its famous castle, the most popular/visited of all the castles in Wales.

This afternoon we go touring around the Isle of Anglesey, sometimes referred to as “the breadbasket of Wales” due to its rich soils and weather conducive to growing.

Next is visiting a town with a name we neither wish to type nor pronounce (but in case you wondered, this weather forecaster nails it perfectly)!  It is the second longest place-name in the world (after a place in New Zealand that we’ll also avoid typing if you don’t mind).

As we spend our day meandering around Anglesey, we’ll stop at interesting sites, and if you see a great place for a “Kodak Moment”, let us know, and we’ll add an stop for that too if possible.

For sure we’ll have a Kodak moment at Beaumaris Castle, at the town of Moelfre where we might possibly see a pod of dolphins, and at Amlwch, the most northerly settlement in Wales.

So where do you go after the most northerly settlement?  Yes – unavoidable south!  We go now to the Holy Island and the town of Holyhead, where ferries regularly travel to Ireland.

We visit some ancient mysterious sites, and then return back to Caernarfon via a different route, to maximize your sightseeing.

This evening we’ll have our group welcome dinner.

Sunday 22 August : From Caernarfon to Aberystwyth

Bizarre - most definitely. Beautiful - maybe. We visit the strange and unique village of Portmeirion today.
The Ffestiniog Railway is the world's oldest narrow gauge railway, and runs through the Snowdonia National Park.
We hope to have an optional tour underground into the slate mine for those who wish it.
There's a lovely waterfront promenade along the length of the beach in front of Aberystwyth.

Another day with a lot of wonderful experiences as we travel down to Aberystwyth for our next two night stay.

We go through the amazingly beautiful Snowdonia National Mark, and may get to see Mt Snowdon, the highest mountain in Britain outside of Scotland.  (It isn’t all that high – a mere 3,560 ft!)

We plan to feature a ride on a lovely historic narrow gauge steam train – the Ffestiniog Railway, and a visit/tour to and around the Llechwedd Deep Mine, a historic slate mine dating back 300 years.  We’re still waiting for post-Covid schedules for both, but will work the morning to fit both in.

We then continue on to the really strange tourist village of Portmeirion, designed in Italian style by wealthy eccentric Welsh architect Sir Clough Williams-Ellis and constructed on and off since 1925.  The Daily Telegraph described it as “the oddest holiday village on Earth”.

To go from one architectural extreme to another, our next experience will be Harlech Castle, and then from there, it is not far to the university town of Aberystwyth and our hotel for the next two nights.

Maybe go up their Cliff Railway – Britain’s longest funicular line – and watch the sunset over the Irish Sea this evening.

Monday 23 August : Touring around the Coast

Looking from the sea to the village of Aberaeron.
The cathedral at St David's, where the eponymous patron saint of Wales is buried.
Tenby is another lovely historic fishing village.

We’ve another varied day of experiences today, although of course, if you wanted to take it easy, you could spend the day in Aberystwyth.

We go first to Aberaeron, a seaside town known for its colored houses and also having a pod of bottlenose dophins who live in the harbor.

After time in this charming Regency period town, we continue on to the smallest city in Britain – St David’s.  St David is the patron saint of Wales and we’ll see the lovely cathedral where he is buried.

We then go through the Pembrokeshire Coast National Park and on to Tenby, a fishing village dating back to the 13th century and earlier, known for its medieval walls, and its lovely harbor.

Our journey back to Aberystwyth takes us through the picturesque Carmarthenshire region.

Tuesday 24 August : To Cardiff via the Brecon Beacons and Tintern Abbey

A view out over the Brecon Beacons National Park.
The ancient stone bridge at Crickhowell.
The River Wye separates Chepstow from England.
The ruins of Tintern Abbey.

Today we make our way at a leisurely and meandering pace to Cardiff, where we’ll stay two nights.

We go through the Brecon Beacons National Park, meaning we’ve now enjoyed all three of Wales’ national parks.  The Brecon Beacons are beloved by many outdoor walkers/hikers/ramblers, but hated by SAS trainees – the hardest and final part of their training involves a 40lb timed march across the hills, invariably in very bad weather.

We will go over the longest stone bridge in Wales (built in the 1700s) at Crickhowell, and continue on to Chepstow, a border town on the banks of the River Wye that is the easternmost town in Wales.

We have lunch in Chepstow, then continue on to the beautiful Tintern Abbey ruins nearby.  The setting of the abbey ruins, on the banks of the Wye, and its surrounding fields, evoked William Wordsworth’s famous ode to their beauty, “Lines composed a few miles above Tintern Abbey”, written in the summer of 1798.  Perhaps you’ll wax poetic too?

We’ll stay long enough for you too to appreciate this peaceful beauty, then we’ll continue on to the bustle and clamor of Wales’ capital and largest city, Cardiff, for the final two nights of the tour.

 

Wednesday 25 August : A Day in Cardiff

The Cardiff skyline offers a jumble of old and new.
The Cardiff sightseeing bus takes you around the city with 11 major stops for your convenience.
Looks like an abstract representation of an atomic bomb, but actually part of the Wales Senedd (parliament) building.
The National Arts Centre of Wales.

Cardiff is both the capital of Wales and also its largest city.  There’s a lot to choose from in terms of things to see and do, and so we decided the best thing is to allow you to fill your day as you choose, yourself.

We give you a sightseeing bus pass so you can get a tour of the city and its highlights, and beyond that, you’re free to see and do whatever you wish, on your own schedule.

There is one special event, however, that we hope you’ll join.  This evening, we have our group farewell dinner.

Thursday 26 August : Cardiff, Train to Shrewsbury, main tour ends

The Heart of Wales line goes over 2 viaducts, through 6 tunnels, and has more than 30 stops on its beautiful journey through Wales.
A typical tiny station, but an unusual number of passengers waiting for the approaching Heart of Wales train.
The central square in Shrewsbury.

It is the last day of our tour today.

Some of you may choose to leave the group in Cardiff.

We expect most of you will stay on for the day’s main experience – a short coach ride takes us to Llanelli, where we then board a commuter train for a slow but oh-so-lovely 3 1/2 hour journey wending its way through Wales and the across the border back into England and ending in Shrewsbury.  This journey is on what is known as “The Heart of Wales” line, and is notable for its 31 stops along the way, at tiny train stations, and the locals who use the train as part of their ordinary daily life and routines.

Some of you may then leave us in Shrewbury.  And some of you might extend on with us, either for a day or two, or perhaps on to enjoy the Scotland’s Four Corners Tour and maybe the Overlooked England Tour too.

Please click here to return to the main page for more information about our 2021 Wild Wales tour, or continue reading for the optional post-tour extension that takes us up to Scotland, or click the golden up arrow on the right to jump to the top of this page.

Thursday 26 August : Continue north to New Lanark or Glasgow

Glasgow's cathedral and other buildings in the city center.

Today is the end of the Wild Wales tour, and the start of the extension up to New Lanark and/or Glasgow, in Scotland.

When we get off the train in Shrewsbury, we’ll be met by our coach and travel north from there.

We’ll make a stop just north of the Scottish/English border in Gretna Green, formerly a traditional site where English people eloped to take advantage of the younger marriage age in Scotland.

After conducting any necessary weddings, we’ll continue on to New Lanark (described below) for people who wish to spend one or two nights there, and then complete our journey on up to Glasgow.

Friday 27 August : Either/Or/Or/Or :
(1) A day at New Lanark and second overnight (2) A day at New Lanark then transfer to Glasgow
(3) A day in Glasgow
(4) Touring from Glasgow to New Lanark

The amazing Falkirk Wheel and Visitor Center connects two canals.
The distinctive and enormous Kelpies sculpture depicts mythical Scottish water beasts.
Stirling city with the castle in the foreground.
Part of the New Lanark World Heritage site.

You’ve lots of choices today.

Options (1) and (2) :  If you chose to stay at New Lanark  New Lanark, then you’ve a lovely lazy day to walk around this beautiful and tranquil World Heritage site.  Enjoy the wonderful preserved Mill, go through the other restored buildings, wander by the river and around the grounds, and enjoy great food at the several eating choices.

At the end of the day, you can either transfer back to Glasgow or spend a second night in New Lanark.

Note :  If you are not continuing onto the Scotland tour tomorrow, this afternoon will be when we offer you a coach transfer from New Lanark to Glasgow.

Options (3) and (4) :  If you travelled on to Glasgow yesterday, you can either spend today in Glasgow and join the tour tomorrow morning at the Glasgow Central train station, or you can experience a lovely day of sightseeing, ending up at New Lanark for a night’s stay there, too.

The day of sightseeing goes first to the Falkirk Wheel, a rotating boat lift and the only such creation in the entire world.  We’ll actually go for a boat ride up the Wheel, through the tunnel to the canal at the other end, then back through the tunnel and down the Wheel again.

After that we move on to see the enormous (100 ft tall) twin statues of two “Kelpies” on the outskirts of Falkirk.

Then we travel to Stirling for lunch.

Stirling is the smallest of Scotland’s five official cities, and in an area steeped in Scottish history.  Its castle dominates the city, not altogether unlike the way Edinburgh Castle does to Edinburgh.

After lunch we continue on to New Lanark, an industrial revolution era mill that pioneered social rights and benefits.

The mill has been restored and now is a World Heritage site.  Part has been converted into a lovely hotel where we’ll spend the night.

We’ll get there in time for you to spend some time this afternoon exploring around this fascinating site.  We include admission to the historic sites and restored mills.

Saturday 28 August : Main tour starts

Another view of New Lanark.

This morning the main Scotland’s Four Corners tour starts in Glasgow.

After collecting people joining in Glasgow, it will then travel south and collect us from New Lanark.

Meanwhile, you have some extra time this morning to enjoy New Lanark prior to the coach arriving.

Please click here to return to the main page for more information about our 2021 Wild Wales tour, or click the golden up arrow on the right to jump to the top of this page.

Wales is renowned for its all-male voice choirs. One of the best known is the Treorchy Male Choir. Click the image to hear them singing one of Wales' most famous songs - Men of Harlech.

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