North Wales, a land blessed with rugged mountains, beautiful beaches and picturesque villages also has some of the most striking gardens in the UK, many attached to magnificent houses with centuries of history to uncover. From world-renowned gardens to hidden gems, we encounter a remarkable array of sweeping landscapes, woodlands, valleys, walled gardens and displays of abundant flowers and shrubs which thrive in the unique climate of this region. We round off our tour with visits to two unique homes and gardens in England with their wonderfully different architectural styles, where we learn about the histories behind their often eccentric owners.
- Pricing from
No single supplement – very limited availability!
- Trip Type
- Individual Travel Tour, International Land & Rail Voyages
- Departure Dates
Jun 5, 2022 - Jun 14, 2022
Macdonald Windsor Hotel, Windsor
Nights Two to Seven
Bodysgallen Hall & Spa
One of the three Historic House Hotels of the National Trust, Bodysgallen Hall & Spa is a luxury hotel just two miles from the seaside resort of Llandudno in North Wales. This sympathetically restored, 17th century country house stands in over 200 acres of wooded parkland and beautiful formal walled gardens affording lovely views of the Snowdonia mountain range and Conwy Castle. The individually-decorated bedrooms are divided between the main hall and several cottages in the grounds and leisure facilities include a swimming pool, steam room, sauna, solarium and gym.
Mercure Stratford-upon-Avon Shakespeare Hotel
Night Nine – Castle Hotel Windsor – MGallery, Windsor
June 5: Arrival (depart U.S. on 6/4)
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.
June6: Stratford-upon-Avon and Shakespeare’s Birthplace
We head to Stratford-upon-Avon and enjoy a guided walking tour of the town, forever associated with England’s greatest poet and playwright, William Shakespeare. We also visit Shakespeare’s Birthplace, where we discover the extraordinary story of Shakespeare in the house where he was born and grew up. Later, we continue our journey to Wales, checking in to Bodysgallen Hall & Spa, one of the National Trust’s Historic House Hotels, where we spend the next six nights.
June 7: Bodnant Garden and Penrhyn Castle
This morning we first visit Bodnant Garden, nestled in the Snowdonian foothills. Created over 150 years, this world-famous garden is home to National Collections and Champion Trees and boasts sweeping lawns, grand terraces and verdant woodland. Our next stop is the magnificent Penrhyn Castle. Built in the 19th century in a Neo-Norman style, Penrhyn was constructed on a massive scale over a period of 13 years and offers superb views of Snowdonia. There is so much to see here, from the outstanding collection of paintings, restored Victorian kitchens and a railway museum.
June 8: Isle of Anglesey, Plas Newydd House & Gardens and Plas Cadnant Hidden Gardens
Today we cross the 19th-century Menai Bridge to spend the day on the Isle of Anglesey. Our first visit is to the fine country house of Plas Newydd, where we enjoy a guided tour of the house and gardens. Its most famous past resident is the 1st Marquess of Anglesey, who commanded the cavalry at Waterloo in 1815. The elegant interior owes more to the 1930s, thanks to its associations with the artist, socialite and fallen WWII soldier Rex Whistler. The garden’s climate allows extraordinary plants to flourish including tender exotics and Mediterranean plants. We continue on to Plas Cadnant Hidden Gardens, a series of historic gardens which are gradually being restored to their former glory, where we enjoy a guided tour. Three different gardens have been discovered, including an unusual walled garden with curving walls, a secret valley garden with three waterfalls and a river, and an upper woodland garden with the remains of a 19th-century folly. After dinner back at the hotel this evening, we are treated to a fascinating talk by a guest speaker.
June 9.: Plas Tan y Bwlch, Betws-y-Coed and Conwy Castle
Home to the Snowdonia National Park Environmental Studies Centre, Plas Tan y Bwlch is a 17th-century country house which was once home to slate quarry owners the Oakeley family. The 100 acre estate boasts a spectacular Victorian garden, native and exotic plants, rare trees and shrubs. We enjoy a guided tour with the Head Gardener (please note there is no access to the house itself). We then make a short stop in the picturesque village of Betws-y-Coed in the Snowdonia National Park. The backdrop of coniferous forests has earned this area the name ‘Little Switzerland’. From here we head to the medieval walled town of Conwy to visit the imposing Conwy Castle. Classified as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, this imposing castle was built by Edward I during his conquest of Wales in the late 13th century and is considered to be among the finest surviving medieval fortifications in Britain. Our next stop is Conwy’s Plas Mawr, a perfect example of an Elizabethan town house, built between 1576 and 1585. The authentic period atmosphere is enhanced by the many furnishings original to the house, skilled friezes and ornamental plasterwork, fully restored to its former glory. This evening we enjoy dinner together at a local restaurant.
June 10: Erddig Hall, Caerau Gardens and Chester
Erddig Hall is an atmospheric early 18th-century house that reflects the ‘upstairs, downstairs’ life of a gentry family, and offers a fascinating insight into the lives of the family and their servants. Here we enjoy a guided tour of the house and gardens, which include a superb walled garden, now restored to its former 18th-century formal design with rare fruit trees and a national collection of ivies. We then travel to Caerau Gardens, with their far reaching views over the Berwyn Mountains and Bala Lake. Situated at over 1,000ft above sea level, this fine example of horticultural excellence was started in 1994 by Toby and Stephanie Hickish. There is plenty to explore, including herbaceous borders, laburnum-covered pergolas, rose gardens, castellated yew topiary, spring gardens full of rhododendrons and azaleas, an arboretum with fine Japanese maples, lime walkways, woodland walks and more. Later we cross the border into England and make our way to Chester. The history of this lovely city spans the centuries, from the remains of its Roman Amphitheatre to the eye-catching medieval Rows that line its streets. Here we are treated to a fish and chip supper cruise along the picturesque River Dee, complete with an informative commentary and a few fun-filled games of bingo! Setting sail from the heart of the city, we head towards the historic Aldford Iron Bridge, built in 1824 for the 1st Marquis of Westminster.
June 11: Portmeirion, Welsh Highland Railway and Plas Brondanw Gardens
The day starts with a guided tour of Portmeirion, an Italianate village created by Sir Clough Williams-Ellis, inspired by his visits to the Mediterranean. Its unique atmosphere has been featured on camera many times, most famously in the iconic 1960s British TV series The Prisoner. Next, we board the Welsh Highland Railway and enjoy a picturesque trip to the quaint coastal town of Porthmadog, admiring the awe-inspiring scenery of the Snowdonia National Park along the way. Stunning coastlines, ancient woodlands, towering mountains, sparkling rivers and historic castles create an enchanting and memorable journey. We then visit Plas Brondanw Gardens. The house and gardens were given to Sir Clough Williams-Ellis by his father in 1902 and the gardens are regarded by some as his finest creation. Inspired by the gardens of renaissance Italy, he created a unique landscape with stone walls, topiary and avenues of trees leading the eye to the dramatic mountainous backdrop.
June 12: Tatton Park
Leaving Wales we journey east to Tatton Park, where we enjoy a guided tour followed by lunch. Built by Samuel Wyatt, Tatton Park is one of Britain’s most complete estates, with a landscaped deer park and exquisite formal gardens. The opulent interior is crammed with collections of silver, china, glass and fine furniture made by Gillows. Outside, year-round color is provided by the Rose, Italian and Japanese gardens. From here we travel south to the Mercure Stratford-upon-Avon Shakespeare Hotel, where we stay overnight.
June 13: Waterperry Gardens
Today we travel to Waterperry Gardens, where we enjoy lunch followed by a guided tour. Made famous by Beatrix Havergal who managed her School of Horticulture for Ladies here from 1932 to 1971, the eight acres of landscaped gardens now include a formal knot garden, water-lily canal and a delightful riverside walk. Afterwards, we travel to the Castle Hotel Windsor – MGallery, where we enjoy a farewell dinner together.
June 14: Departure
A private transfer will take you back to Heathrow airport for your return flight home.
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