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.
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- Trip Type
- Individual Travel Tour, International Land & Rail Voyages
- Departure Dates
- Jun 7, 2020 - Jun 16, 2020
Nights One and Nine
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
- day 1
June 7: Arrival (depart U.S. on 6/6)
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.
- day 2
June 8: Stratford-upon-Avon and Shakespeare’s Birthplace
We head to Stratford-upon-Avon, a town forever associated with England’s greatest poet and playwright, William Shakespeare. We visit
Shakespeare’s Birthplace, where we explore 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.
- day 3
June 9: Bodnant Garden and Penrhyn Castle
Today 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. Next stop is the magnificent Penrhyn Castle. Built in the 19th century in a neo-Norman style, Penrhyn was built 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.
- day 4
June 10: 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.
- day 5
June 11: 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 with soaring curtain walls, round towers and fortified gateways. This evening we enjoy dinner together at a local restaurant.
- day 6
June 12: Erddig Hall and Brynbella Garden
Erddig Hall is an atmospheric early 18th-century house that reflects the ‘upstairs, downstairs’ life of a gentry family, and we’re provided with a fascinating insight into the lives of the family and their servants on our private guided tour. Our tour extends to the 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 Brynbella Garden, nine acres of beautiful garden and woodland set below a Palladian villa. The current owners have created a modern garden while retaining as many of the original 18th-century features as possible. The garden is laid out as a series of rooms including a woodland garden, walled garden, three water gardens, a gravel garden plus formal and informal garden areas with focal points such as statuary and sculptures. This evening we enjoy a traditional fish and chip supper at a local restaurant.
- day 7
June 13: Portmeirion and Plas Brondanw Gardens
The day starts in 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. 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 garden landscape with stone walls, topiary and avenues of trees leading the eye to the dramatic mountainous backdrop.
- day 8
July 1: Waddesdon Manor & Gardens
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. This grandeur also extends outside to the garden, where 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.
- day 9
June 15: Waterperry Gardens
We start the morning with some time at leisure in Stratford-upon-Avon, before travelling to Waterperry Gardens. Here we enjoy lunch followed by a guided tour. Made famous by Beatrix Havergal who established her School of Horticulture for Ladies here from 1932 to 1971, the eight acres of beautifully landscaped gardens now include a rose and formal knot garden, water-lily canal, and riverside walk. Afterwards, we travel to the Castle Hotel Windsor – MGallery, where we enjoy a farewell dinner together.
- day 10
June 16: Departure
A private transfer will take you back to Heathrow airport for your return flight home.
Everything you need to know about the tour
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