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
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
June 22: Cardiff, Cardiff Castle and
Cardiff National Museum & Art
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
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
June 23: Dyffryn Gardens and
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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.
Ellenborough Park Hotel,
Hartwell House Hotel, near
No single supplement – very limited availability
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.