Bounded by mountain and sea, North Wales is a land of outstanding scenic beauty, with a wealth of history, architecture and ancient cultural traditions. Castles dominate the landscape and contribute to its splendour. Built by Edward 1 to crush the rebellious Welsh princes, they are amongst the finest and best preserved in Europe (UNESCO World Heritage).
We visit Beaumaris, a spectacularly beautiful symmetrical moated fortress, and magnificent Conwy Castle: built on a rocky outcrop, it dramatically dominates the old walled town of Conwy, which is still encircled by its mediaeval walls and towers. Within its heart splendid Elizabethan Plas Mawr is possibly the most complete town house of its period in Britain. The fortified manor house, Gwydir Castle, is one of the most romantic and evocative of Welsh Tudor houses. Brynkinalt, Denbighshire is the imposing Jacobean seat of the Trevors; the fine interiors, remodelled c.1808 contain important paintings and furniture. Halston Hall, built 1690, is a beautiful William and Mary house, whilst stately Plas Draw, Ruthin takes us into the Georgian period. Splendidly situated overlooking the Menai Straits is Georgian Plas Newydd, famous for Rex Whistler’s magnificent fantasy mural.
The 19th century was the age of Romanticism. New country houses were built in Picturesque mediaevalizing styles, evoking Wales’s historic past. Grwych Castle is a vast romantic castellated mansion, spectacularly located on a dramatic hillside, whilst Penrhyn Castle marks the climax of the Norman revival.
The Welsh countryside abounds in beautiful churches and chapels. At St Dyfnog, LLanrhaedr we see the magnificent C14 Jesse window, one of the very few to survive the Reformation; the C17 private chapels of Rug and Gwydir Uchaf are resplendent with carved and painted decoration, whilst the marble estate church at Bodelwyddan is the ultimate in Victorian splendour.
Our journeys will encompass much of Snowdonia’s magnificent scenery and will include many outstanding historic gardens: highlights include Gwydir, a rare Elizabethan garden; Plas Cadnant, Anglesey, a romantic early C19 valley garden; the beautiful Arts and Crafts gardens of Plas Brondanw, and world-renowned Bodnant.
The Full Programme
Download the brochure for full details of the daily schedule, visits, costs, how to book and terms and conditions.