(Cardiff, Tenby, Aberaeron, Betws-y-Coed)
As the swirling waters of the River Wye rage below, the noble Chepstow Castle stands in silent sentry as it has since the 13th century when medieval warlords controlled this mystical land.
Cardiff is the vibrant capital of Wales where history meets the future via a fascinating mixture of medieval castles and innovative 21st-century architecture. You’ll explore the city’s significant sites on a private guided tour and visit its most impressive castles and Roman ruins. The golden sand beaches and sheer limestone cliffs of the Gower Peninsula will surprise and delight as you conquer its dramatic cliff-top walks; the Stone Age island of Caldey Island holds a bounty of Celtic secrets; stunning St. Govan’s Chapel boasts one of the most breathtaking coastal views in all of Europe; the Vale of Rheidol steam train snakes through a picturesque rural valley; and the eccentric cliff-top village of Portmeirion that overlooks Cardigan Bay is a unique work of art.
Wales is so rich in history that you’ll wish you had two lifetimes to explore this ancient land. Your experienced team of local guides and private drivers are well versed in the country’s tradition of colorful storytelling, and they’ll reveal all the myths and legends that bring life to the rugged natural landscape. And while you explore Bronze-Age sites by day, you’ll be treated to the finest 21st-century luxury by night at a collection of the finest hotels in the country.
Enjoy a personalized vacation that best suits your needs, developed by one of our experienced destination experts. Relax during your trip with our 24/7 support and expert local guidance.
Meet your driver for a private train station transfer.
A welcome package with a city map, train tickets (if relevant), and any other touristic information that we deem you may find useful will be waiting for you upon your arrival at your first hotel on your trip.
The bustling capital city of Wales has lots of sights of interest such as Cardiff Castle, the Civic Centre, the Millennium Centre and stadium, and the exciting new developments of Cardiff Bay, including Cardiff Bay Barrage. Throughout the city, there are a range of theatres, galleries, museums, arts and live music venues. Enjoy time at leisure discovering the sights and places that are of particular interest to you.
There are lots of restaurant options to choose from both in Cardiff city centre as well as Cardiff bay. If you like Italian cuisine, you may like to try Positano's (9-10 Church Street tel: 029 2023 5810) or Giovanni's (38 The Hayes, tel: 029 2022 0077) which has a great family atmosphere and an impressive array of Barolo’s and Chianti's. Alternatively, consider Bullys - (5 Romilly Crescent, tel: 029 2022 1905). Bully’s uses seasonal produce from Welsh providers, complemented by a unique French wine list sourced from small, passionate growers. If you feel like venturing outside of the city and to Cardiff Bay, consider Woods Brasserie - a contemporary restaurant situated within the iconic pilotage building of Cardiff Bay. The restaurant has a modern conservatory style dining room, a comfortable bar area and a balcony offering views of Cardiff Bay. (Pilotage Building, Stuart Street tel: 02920 492 400). Another option in Cardigan Bay is the Pearl of the Orient, situated in the opulent surroundings of Cardiff Bay's mermaid quay development. The restaurant offers the first Cantonese, Peking, Malaysian and Szechwan cuisine in Cardiff in a contemporary, relaxed surrounding. (Mermaid Quay, tel: 029 2049 8080). Of course, you may simply like to take a stroll through the city centre and decide what catches your fancy this evening.
Spend the day on a privately guided day tour in the company of a knowledgeable driver-guide and private vehicle. After being picked up from your accommodation, the first visit is to Chepstow Castle, which is perched above the swirling waters of the River Wye. Standing guard over a strategic crossing point into Wales, this well-preserved landmark castle was probably the first stone castle to be built in Britain and one of the few to trace the evolution of medieval military architecture from start to finish.
North of Chepstow is the Wooded Wye Valley, an 'Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty' which winds its way through Tintern to Monmouth. Tintern, dominated by the soaring ruins of its medieval abbey, has attracted poets and artists for centuries. The abbey is an outstanding example of Gothic architecture and provides a fascinating insight into monastic life in medieval times.
From here, you'll travel north through the Wye Valley to the historic Welsh border market town of Monmouth, situated at the confluence of the Rivers Wye, Monnow and Trothy. Perhaps best known as the birthplace of Henry V, Monmouth boasts a whole host of historical sites, people and buildings from the Nelson Garden to The Town Hall. It has a medieval 13th-century bridge over the River Monnow, unique in Britain as it is the only preserved bridge of its design remaining.Raglan was the last medieval fortification built in Britain. Raglan was built on the site of a former Norman motte in 1435. The design combines practical strength with ostentatious style. Raglan Castle is set amongst rolling border country. Once a sumptuous palace, with formal state apartments and a Great Tower, it was more a state of wealth and social aspiration than an intimidating military presence. It acquitted itself well however, when forced into active service, enduring in 1646 one of the longest sieges in the English Civil War, before falling to Cromwell's forces and suffering at the hands of his demolition team. Even in ruin however, noble Raglan remains the finest late-medieval fortress palace in the British Isles.
The landscape of The Marches - the Welsh border, is dominated by two rivers, the Wye and the Usk. They meander through green vales set in rolling countryside. The entire area is idyllic touring country. Scenic roads weave across hill and vale dotted with pretty little towns and villages. Discover the historic floral town of Usk which stands in the valley of the same name.
The final stop of the day is Caerleon, one of Europe's most fascinating and revealing Roman sites. To the Romans Caerleon was known as Isca or often referred to as 'City of the Legions'. Here they created not just a military camp but also an entire township, complete with amphitheatre which, in its heyday, would have seated in the region of 6,000 people and would have been the scene of many gladiatorial games against men and beasts. Dr Mortimer Wheeler extensively excavated the remains of the Amphitheatre in 1926 and they remain some of the best preserved in Britain. The variety of remains on view in Caerleon (from its amphitheatre to the excavated bathhouse complex, barracks and museum) is unparalleled within the British Isles, providing a vivid picture of life in Roman Britain almost 2,000 years ago. At days end you will be returned to your accommodation in Cardiff. (includes all entrances).
Wales is known for its male choirs. The Treorchy Male Choir is probably the best known male voice combination in the world. Please let your Sales Advisor know if you would be interested in hearing them at rehearsal in their home town in the Rhondda Valley. Rehearsals are on most Tuesday and Thursday evenings during school term.
Experience the beauty of The Gower Peninsula, with its golden sandy beaches and limestone cliffs as you enjoy a privately guided day tour in the company of a knowledeable driver-guide and private vehicle. The Gower Peninsula is the UK's first Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and is 19 miles by 6 miles of award winning beaches, dramatic cliff-top walks, picturesque villages, rolling countryside, valleys, woodlands and breathtaking views. The area boasts many ancient sites including castles and a human burial chamber dating back to 3500 BC.
After being picked up at your accommodation in Cardiff, you'll get to explore this beautiful coast line on a small group (max. 7 people) guided tour. Take in stunning views over Oystermouth Bay in Mumbles, the gateway to the Gower. Stretch your legs on a half hour walk into Langland Bay from Bracelet Bay and Limeslade Bay. The walk takes you along a steep clifftop with breathtaking views of the coast. Positioned between Three Cliffs Bay and Oxwich Bay, Penmaen Burrows has a number of archaeological remains and is both interesting and scenic. You may like to take a leisurely 40 minute walk offering spectacular cliff top views of Three Cliffs Bay's semi-secluded pristine beaches and clifftop views over the outstanding six mile stretch of sand which is Oxwich Bay.
More amazing coastal views are to be had at Rhossili Bay, where you can take a walk along the body of the sleeping dragon, towards Worms Head. The last stop of the day is Cefn Bryn, Gower's sturdy spine, which commands views of the North Gower coast, Carmarthen Bay and a distant glimpse of Pembrokeshire and the rugged interior landscape of the Gower Peninsula. here, wild ponies, cattle and sheep graze freely on common ground. The legend of King Arthur which permeates across this ancient and historical landscape is never far away. There is another opportunity to take a short walk, take in the amazing views and visit one of the Seven Wonders of Britain, Arthur's Stone.
As you continue towards Tenby, tonight's destination, you'll pass by the western tip of Carmarthenshire and the ancient town of Laugharne, with its 12th century castle once painted by Turner.
Laugharne is synonymous with the best known Welsh poet and broadcaster Dylan Thomas, who is widely regarded as one of the twentieth century's most influential lyrical poets. Follow in the great poet’s footsteps...visiting The Boat House, where Dylan lived and worked.
The drive to Tenby is a particularly scenic route, which hugs the South Pembrokeshire coastline, occasionally offering glimpses of this popular Victorian seaside resort and the island of Caldey, home to a Reformed Order of Cistercian monks who welcome visitors to their tranquil retreat. A monastic presence has existed at Caldey since it was first settled by Celtic monks in the 6th Century. At days end you will be brought to your accommodation in Tenby. (includes entrances).
Restaurant suggestions in Tenby include Plantaganet - The Tudor Merchants House, Bay Tree and Blue Ball. Tenby's oldest building, tucked away in an alley, houses its most atmospheric restaurant- Plantaganet - The Tudor Merchants House, and is dominated by an immense Tudor chimney-hearth (no less than 6m wide). It's a good place for a romantic, candle-lit dinner, the menu ranging from seafood to organic beef. The lunch menu, which includes mussels, battered cod and chips, and bangers and mash, is good value. Bay Tree is a local restaurant which serves locally sourced fresh fish and shellfish and has a set menu and specials board available all week. Situated in historic Tenby, the Blue Ball (Upper Frog Street tel: 01834 843038) sources ingredients from the finest local suppliers, many of whom have won national awards for their produce. As you would expect of a seaside resort, seafood and fish is in abundance and this is used to create many imaginative and fresh dishes, which change often, according to what's in season and in the markets. Try out one of these restaurant suggestions while you are in Tenby or make your own choices during your stay here.
Spend the day exploring nearby Caldey island. This island has been inhabited since the Stone Age, and has been home to various orders of monks since Celtic times. Spend time exploring the island and enjoy a picnic lunch (included) before taking the short ferry crossing back to the mainland where your driver-guide will be waiting for you.
Today, head towards the dramatic South Pembrokeshire Coast, which has many special features of interest in the company of your private driver-guide and vehicle. Photographers, birdwatchers, walkers, climbers, geologists, historians, artists and anthropologists have all been drawn to this most scenic and interesting of areas. You may like to take a short walk to St. Govan's Chapel and view the dramatic coastline - the chasm of Huntsman's Leap, the sea stacks at Stack Rocks and the rock arch of The Green Bridge of Wales. (Access to St. Govan's Chapel and The Green Bridge of Wales is dependent on access via M.O.D. tank range)
A drive to Freshwater West, takes in the village of Castlemartin, whose church houses an organ once owned by Mendelssohn. From here you are in for a treat as you are driven along the Heritage coast which stretches 50 miles, following the rugged contours of St. David's Peninsula from St. Brides Bay to Fishguard. The peninsula blends history and scenery to better effect than just about any area of Britain. Take a scenic drive taking in Newgale Sands - a broad expanse of sand exposed to the Atlantic gales and Solva, a picturesque village built around a fine natural harbour where there was once a direct passenger service to New York!
This afternoon, visit the city of St. Davids and its cathedral - a favourite location of artists, tavellers and pilgrims, and the smallest city in the United Kingdom, with a population of just over 1600. Granted city status by Queen Elizabeth II because of the presence of the cathedral, St. Davids is in reality a small attractive village, situated within the Pembrokeshire Coast National Park and surrounded by spectacular coastal scenery renowned for its natural beauty. Davids' Cathedral is a magnificent building , situated in a grassy depression below the city. Adjacent to the cathedral stand the magnificent ruins of the medieval Bishop's Palace, built by Bishops Beck and Gower around the beginning of the fourteenth century.
The last stop of the day before being brought to your accommodation in Aberaeron is at Pentre Ifan, a Bronze-Age megalithic site dating from at least 4000 B.C.
Restaurant suggestions in Aberaeron include the Harbourmaster and Feathers. The harbourmaster restaurant has been included in the Good Food Guide since it was first established in 2002. From the open kitchen, the team of enthusiastic chefs produce a seasonal menu – with favourites being a rib of Welsh beef; locally landed lobster and spider crab; bread freshly baked on the premises daily; Antipasti platters; Fish specials; Sunday roasts; Welsh beef burgers; a Welsh cheese board; locally sourced organic vegetables and salad leaves. Food is served daily - lunch and dinner seven days a week. ( 2 Pen Cei, tel: 01545 570 755). Feathers restaurant is housed in a 200 year old traditional Coaching Inn. Wales is experiencing a renaissance in the quality of its food and drink suppliers and the menu at Feathers strives to showcase these fine ingredients from succulent seafood and fish to the best beef, lamb and game Wales has to offer. (Alban Square, tel: 01545 571 740/750).
Enjoy your day of sightseeing in the company of your knowledgeable driver-guide and private vehicle as you travel from Aberaeron to Betws-y-Coed. En route, stop off at the Vale of Rheidol railway and take the narrow gauge steam train covers a 12 mile journey through the spectacular Rheidol Valley (operates from April to October).
Pass through Machynlleth, the ancient capital of Wales and the seat of Owain Glyndwr's Welsh Parliament in 1404. Continue along to Llechwedd Slate Caverns which is set in 2000 acres of land above the town of Blaenau Ffestiniog. It has been an active, working slate mine since 1836. Gain an understanding of this industry on a unique underground experience deep into the mountain to explore the mysterious world of the Victorian slate miner.
Before reaching Betws-y-Coed, you'll get to spend some time in the beautiful National Park of Snowdonia - the first designate National Park in Wales. Covering 823 square miles, it has some of the most beautiful and unspoilt countryside in North Wales.At days end you will be brought to your accommodation for the night.
You will be picked up from your accommodation in Betws-y-Coed, and taken by private car for your full day tour today.
Begin your day on the scenic Snowdon Mountain railway (open March - October) which will take you to the summit of Snowdon (3,560ft or 1085m), the highest mountain in England and Wales. This majestic mountain dominates the dramatic ancient landscape and scenery of North Wales. This is a truly spectacular railway journey.
Next on the agenda for the day is a visit to Caernarfon Castle. King Edward I intended this castle to be a royal residence and seat of government for North Wales. In 1969, the castle gained worldwide fame as the setting for the investiture of HRH Prince Charles as Prince of Wales.
Continue onwards to Llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwyrndrobwllllantysiliogogogoch, translated as "St. Mary's Church in the hollow of white hazel near a rapid whirlpool and the church of St. Tysilio near the red cave' - the town with the longest place name in Wales.
Next, head to Bryn-celli, probably the best known and most famous Neolithic site in Anglesey. Regarded as a monument of the Bronze Age as well as the New Stone Age.
The final stop of the day is at Llandudno, Wales' most enduring archetype of a genteel Victorian seaside resort, before you are returned to Betws-y-Coed.
This morning, you will be picked up by your private driver-guide from your Betws-y-Coed accommodation and be taken to the unique Italianate village of Portmeirion. The vision of the eccentric architect Clough William-Ellis, Portmeirion stands on a rugged clifftop on its own private peninsula overlooking Cardigan Bay. It is surrounded by 145 acres of sub-tropical woodlands and miles of sandy beaches. Sir Clough Williams-Ellis wanted to prove that development did not have to mean destruction of the natural environment. Built in 1925, Portmeirion is now acknowledged as a unique architectural work of art.
En route to the Brecon Beacons, enjoy the scenic drive through the heart of Mid-Wales.
The oldest town in Mid Wales, Rhaeadr Gwy - 'The Waterfall on the Wye', is situated at a natural crossroads between east, west, north and south Wales. For centuries, Rhaeadr Gwy offered a welcome for travellers: from the Romans who had a stopover camp in the Elan Valley, Monks journeying between the Abbeys of Strata Florida and Abbeycwmhir, and Drovers taking their livestock to far off markets.
Continue on your journey to Cardiff stopping off at The Brecon Beacons National Park which spans 519 square miles of beautiful mid-Wales countryside and contains some of the most spectacular and diverse landscapes in Europe.The landscape is scattered with prehistoric monuments, Roman remains and medieval castles, spectacular waterfalls, caves and wooded gorges, along with distinctive upland formations. Stop at the National Park Visitor Centre at Libanus for a short walk providing stunning views of the Beacons, including Pen-y-Fan, the highest mountain in South Wales, with its distinctive red table top summit standing at 886 metres.
At days end, your tour will end in Cardiff.
You will be collected from your accommodation and taken to London Heathrow airport in time for check in. The journey should take approximately 2 hours and 30 minutes.
Park Plaza Hotel(4*) is located in the heart of the city centre, within walking distance of Cardiff Castle, the Millennium Stadium and the National Museum of Wales. The hotel is only five minutes walking distance from the new St Davids 2 Shopping Centre, John Lewis and the famous Victorian and Edwardian arcades of Cardiff. Park Plaza offers 129 stylish air conditioned guestrooms. With excellent location and first class comfort the Park Plaza Cardiff is the ideal base from which to explore all that Cardiff has to offer - for business or pleasure.
Hotel Panorama (4*) overlooks Tenby’s golden South Beach and has magnificent sea views towards Caldey Island. With free Wi-Fi, the hotel also offers delicious breakfasts and cosy bedrooms. Set in a Victorian terrace, the traditional bedrooms at Panorama are individually decorated. All eight rooms feature tea and coffee facilities, a hairdryer and digital TV. All have a private bathroom with free toiletries.
Castle Hotel (4*) is situated in a Grade II Listed Building in the Georgian Harbour Town of Aberaeron. The hotel has been designed by Interior designer Ann Hughes and is perfectly placed in the town centre near both the river walk up to Llanerchaeron Trail and Harbour Beach - New Quay Trail or Aberarth / Llannon Trail. Castle Hotel has 6 guest rooms, restaurant and bar.
Glyntwrog House (4*) is a charming Victorian property set on a wooded hillside overlooking the Waterloo Bridge and the beautiful Conwy Valley. This comfortable bed and breakfast accommodation nestles at the edge of the popular village of Betws-y-Coed in the Snowdonia National Park. Close enough to enjoy all of the village amenities within easy strolling distance but secluded enough to escape the crowds.
Vanessa Oquendo ,
April 21, 2014
"Melissa Field was extremely helpful! She was courteous, professional, knowledgeable, and friendly! She kept me updated on the status of everything and provided timely correspondence. She took ownership for any problems I had and remedied them. I had the most amazing time of my life in Iceland and Paris! I would not have experienced everything without the help of Kensington Tours."
Marilynn Weaver ,
April 21, 2014
"All of our guides were beyond fabulous! Our time in Dublin was much too short, would have loved to stay there at least one more full day. Would recommend extending this package to 15 days for any future visits. The train to Edinburgh was super! Beautiful scenery and great steak pies!"
Ann Saxon ,
November 06, 2013
"Our trip was fantastic!!! I cannot say enough good things. Lianne worked with our exact dates and time frame beautifully.Our drivers were prompt and friendly. The private guides were so knowledgeable. We left with an appreciation of the history, the culture, and the beauty of Andulasia. We were very pleased and will certainly recommend your company to friends and family."
Coby Scherr ,
November 05, 2013
"Everyone involved in our Portugal trip made it terrific. Exactly as advertised. Every event on time and most pleasant. Guides were well-informed, courteous and friendly. Really made for a great journey every time. Each hotel was clean, upgraded and staffed with knowledgeable and friendly folks. Breakfasts were complete -- almost too much to eat. It will always be a wonderful memory thanks to Kensington Tours."
Couples Dellinger & Hubbell ,
November 06, 2013
"We've been raving to everyone about the food, the friendliness of the people and the amazing history and sites in Turkey. Yes, we want to go back."
John Edstrom ,
October 22, 2013
"Overall, our tour in Spain was very enjoyable, and well planned and executed. Our private tour of the Alhambra was excellent. Virginia, tour guide for royal palace ruins outside of Cordoba, was also excellent. In Seville, we went to the Flamenco Show/dinner, and the Flamenco was outstanding!"
Kevin Wilshere ,
October 19, 2013
"Great trip to Spain! Thanks again for all your help, Lianne. The destinations, hotels, guides and everything were all top notch."
Chery Westlund ,
November 07, 2013
"My husband and I took a 3 week vacation to southern Europe and North Africa and had a great time. All the guides were very knowledgeable and bent over backwards to accommodate us. The arrangements made by Kensington went off without a hitch. This is our second trip with Kensington (we went to Peru in 2009) and we will certainly book with them again."
Randy Gramlich ,
October 07, 2013
"Thank you for your follow up, we both loved our time in Croatia. It’s really a beautiful place, especially the coast. Your choice of hotels was great. It was an incredible view from the Bellevue hotel in Dubrovnik and the Vestibule in Split was in the best possible location. We were able to relax in our room listening to the wonderful singers in the courtyard and its central location made it so easy to walk anywhere we wanted to see with ease. "
Jay Steffan ,
September 24, 2013
"We just returned from a 10 day trip to Paris and Normandy. We spent three nights in Paris and then enjoyed a seven night cruise on the Seine to Normandy with AMA Waterways. The time in Paris was well spent and has piqued our interest to return for a more thorough visit. Guide Wafaa Lankey was superb in our visit to Versailles. The Seine cruise was relaxing and beautiful. So many wonderful little towns and we wished we had more time in each one to explore and enjoy.
We traveled to Croatia and Slovenia using Kensington earlier this year which was a fantastic trip."
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