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Historic Castles & Stately Homes of Wales

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Departure Dates

  • Jun 20, 2018 - Jun 29, 2018

TOUR RATES FROM: $4,990

No single supplement – very limited availability!

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Historic Castles & Stately Homes of Wales

We journey west to experience the romantic landscapes and rich history of Wales, a country steeped in myth and legend, with its own distinctive language and Celtic culture. We uncover an array of fairytale castles, splendid stately homes and beautiful ruins while discovering some of Wales’ most famous artists and writers along the way.

Special extras included in your itinerary
~ Guided tour and lunch at Chavenage House ~ Guided walking tour of Cardiff  ~ Guided tour of Cardiff Castle  ~ Afternoon tea at Fonmon Castle ~ Guided tour at Number 5 Cwmdonkin Drive ~ Guided tour at Stonor Park ~ Welsh tasting menu dinner on one evening ~Themed evening talk by a guest speaker

Tour Map

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For more information or with any questions call 888-484-8785 or email info@nationaltrusttours.com

Ship Information

Night One Macdonald Windsor Hotel
The Macdonald Windsor Hotel is situated in the heart of the historic town of Windsor, opposite the famous Windsor Castle. The classic interiors, with a contemporary edge, fit perfectly with the Georgian elegance of this townhouse hotel. The luxury bedrooms are individually-designed and the hotel also offers a stylish bar and restaurant.

Nights Two to Seven St David’s Hotel & Spa
The contemporary St David’s Hotel & Spa, with its dramatic glass-fronted façade, boasts a waterfront position on Cardiff Bay. All the rooms feature luxury bathrooms, air-conditioning and floor-to-ceiling windows. The hotel also offers a bar and restaurant overlooking Cardiff Bay while the Marine Spa features an indoor swimming pool, spa pool and fully equipped gym. Spa treatments are available at an extra cost.

Night Eight Ellenborough Park Hotel, Cheltenham

Night Nine Hartwell House Hotel, near Aylesbury

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Itinerary

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

June 20: Arrival

(depart U.S. on 6/19)

On arrival at Heathrow airport, a private

transfer will take you to our overnight hotel,

the Macdonald Windsor Hotel. In the evening

you are invited to join the group for a welcome

drink, followed by dinner.

June 21: Chavenage House and

Tintern Abbey

En-route to Wales, we visit Chavenage House,

an Elizabethan era manor house largely

unchanged for 400 years, where we are treated

to an exclusive guided tour by a member of the

family. The house has a rich history and many

Civil War associations including the rooms

where Cromwell stayed and an interior packed

with period furniture, historic tapestries and

fascinating relics from the Cromwellian era.

After our tour, we enjoy lunch here.

Built by Walter de Clare, Lord of Chepstow

in 1131, Tintern Abbey was only the second

Cistercian foundation in Britain, and the first in

Wales. Falling into ruins after the Dissolution

of the Monasteries in the 16th century, these

atmospheric, romantic remains have inspired

poets and painters ever since.

Later, we check in to the St David’s Hotel &

Spa, where we spend the next six nights. The

evening is left free to make your own dinner

arrangements.

June 22: Cardiff, Cardiff Castle and

Cardiff National Museum & Art

Gallery

We begin our day with a walking tour of

historic Cardiff, the capital of Wales. We then

visit Cardiff Castle, where we enjoy a guided

tour. The castle’s history spans over 2,000

years, although the Gothic Victorian fantasy

castle we see today was created for the 3rd

Marquess of Bute. We discover the lavish and

opulent interiors, rich with murals, stained

glass, marble, gilding and elaborate wood

carvings.

After free time in the city to find lunch, we

visit Cardiff National Museum & Art Gallery.

Alongside one of Europe’s best collections of

Impressionist works, the museum houses 500

years of paintings, drawings, sculpture, silver

and ceramics from across the world, and an

important collection of Welsh art.

This evening is free for you to make your own

dinner arrangements.

June 23: Dyffryn Gardens and

Fonmon Castle

We start the morning at Dyffryn Gardens,

an exceptional example of Edwardian garden

design. Designed by eminent landscape

architect Thomas Mawson, the gardens

feature a stunning collection of intimate

garden rooms, formal lawns and an extensive

arboretum.

Next, we visit Fonmon Castle. Built in 1180,

this stunning medieval castle boasts beautiful

Georgian interiors, art and antiques. Owned

by just two families in its 800 year history, it is

one of the few medieval castles still lived in as

a family home. We enjoy afternoon tea after

our visit.

We then return to the hotel with the evening

free for your own dinner arrangements.

June 24: Dylan Thomas’ Birthplace

at Number 5 Cwmdonkin Drive and

Stradey Castle

This morning we travel to Swansea to visit the

Uplands suburb that played a huge part in

shaping the style of Welsh poet Dylan Thomas.

We begin with a short walking tour, passing

many landmarks from his life, before visiting

his birthplace. Dylan was born at Number 5

Cwmdonkin Drive in 1914 and continued to live

there until his parents moved out in 1937.

In the afternoon we visit Stradey Castle, home

to the Mansel Lewis family since it was built in

the 1850s. This stunning Victorian house has

remained virtually unchanged and contains

a fine collection of paintings by the current

owner’s great-grandfather and his artist friends.

Back at the hotel this evening you are free to

make your own dinner arrangements in Cardiff.

June 25: Dinefwr Castle, Laugharne,

Dylan Thomas’ Boathouse and

Laugharne Castle

Our first visit is to Dinefwr Castle, the ruins

of which tell the story of battling Welsh noble

families and their struggles with the English

kings, which saw this 12th-century castle

change hands across the borders many times.

Set within the National Trust owned Dinefwr

Park, we’ll also be able to visit nearby Newton

House, built in the 17th century but given a

fashionable Gothic facelift in the 1850s.

In the afternoon we visit Laugharne, best

known for its associations with Dylan Thomas

and thought to have been an inspiration for

the fictional town of Llareggub in Under Milk

Wood. We visit Dylan Thomas’ Boathouse

where the poet lived with his family from

1949 to 1953. Now a museum, it also offers

wonderful views of the Taf estuary. There

will also be a little time to explore further or

visit the romantic ruins of Laugharne Castle.

Built in the 13th century by the de Brian

family, the castle was later transformed into

an Elizabethan mansion. During the Civil War

it was partially dismantled by parliamentary

forces, but these noble ruins continued to

inspire Dylan Thomas and others.

The evening is free for you to make your own

dinner arrangements.

June 26: Castell Coch, Tredegar

House and Caerphilly Castle

We start the morning with a visit to Castell

Coch, a 19th-century Gothic Revival castle

built on the site of an original 13th-century

castle. The castle’s fairytale appearance,

with its towers, turrets and elaborately

decorated interiors, comes courtesy of the

architect William Burgess, employed by the

3rd Marquess of Bute to create a rural retreat

to complement the opulence of his main

residence, Cardiff Castle.

Our next stop is Tredegar House, a late 17thcentury

restoration house surrounded by 90

acres of beautiful gardens and parkland. For

more than 500 years it was home to one of

the greatest Welsh families, the Morgans, later

Lords Tredegar, and their fascinating narrative

is told throughout the house.

We end the day with a visit to Caerphilly

Castle, built by Gilbert de Clare in the 13th

century. The second largest castle in Britain,

the rings of stone and extensive water

defences are formidable even today.

In the evening we enjoy a traditional Welsh

tasting menu at our hotel, featuring many local

specialities, followed by an interesting themed

talk from a guest speaker.

June 27: Llancaiach Fawr Manor

and Hay-on-Wye

Before leaving Wales, we stop to visit

Llancaiach Fawr Manor. Designed during the

turbulent reigns of Tudor kings and queens,

it is one of the finest examples of a semifortified

manor in Wales today. The manor is

best known as the home of Colonel Edward

Prichard who hosted a visit by King Charles I

of England in 1645 and has now been restored

and furnished as it would have been during

Prichard’s tenure.

Our next stop is at a pretty little town which

promises to be a treat for bibliophiles: Hayon-

Wye. Often described as “the town of

books”, it is the National Book Town of Wales

and home to over 20 independent bookshops

selling second hand, antiquarian and rare

books.

We continue on to our overnight hotel, the

Ellenborough Park Hotel. Later, we enjoy

dinner together at the hotel.

June 28: Cheltenham, Wilson

Gallery and Stonor Park

We spend time in Cheltenham this morning,

with time to admire the Regency town

houses, intricate ironwork balconies and

painted stucco facades that line the historic

promenade, squares and terraces. We also pay

a visit to the Wilson Gallery, an outstanding

museum and art gallery with an important

collection of Arts & Crafts movement furniture.

As we travel east we visit Stonor Park, where

we enjoy a guided tour. Home to the Stonor

family for 850 years, it is one of the oldest

family homes still inhabited today. The house

contains an impressive collection of art and

artifacts amassed from across the globe.

June 20 to 29, 2018 from $4,990 per person

Your Hotels

Night One

Macdonald Windsor Hotel, Windsor

Nights Two to Seven

St David’s Hotel & Spa

The contemporary St David’s Hotel & Spa,

with its dramatic glass-fronted façade,

boasts a waterfront position on Cardiff Bay.

All the rooms feature luxury bathrooms,

air-conditioning and floor-to-ceiling windows.

The hotel also offers a bar and restaurant

overlooking Cardiff Bay while the Marine Spa

features an indoor swimming pool, spa pool

and fully equipped gym. Spa treatments are

available at an extra cost.

Night Eight

Ellenborough Park Hotel,

Cheltenham

Night Nine

Hartwell House Hotel, near

Aylesbury

No single supplement – very limited availability

Dyffryn Gardens

Chavenage House

Tredegar House

Caerphilly Castle Stradey Castle

Highlights of the house include the Gothic

revival hall, 17th-century library and dramatic

long gallery opening on to beautiful Italianate

gardens. Within the sweeping grounds sits a

perfectly preserved prehistoric stone circle!

We continue on to Hartwell House Hotel, one

of the National Trust’s Historic Hotels, where

we enjoy a farewell dinner together.

June 29: Departure

A private transfer will take you back to

Heathrow airport for your return flight home.