Wales: From North to South

Holiday Highlights

  • Journey on many of the ‘great little trains of Wales’
  • Explore some of Wales' most iconic and interesting castles - Powis, Caerphilly and Cardiff
  • Time to enjoy the pretty seaside town of Aberystwyth
  • Discover Welsh heritage at the National Slate Museum, Big Pit National Coal Museum and St Fagans
  • Aqueduct Cruise through a UNESCO World Heritage Site
  • Ascend to the top of Snowdon on board the Snowdon Mountain Railway (weather permitting)
  • 13 days from £2,450pp
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Tour Dates:
Thursday 14 September to Tuesday 26 September 2023

Travel by road and rail from Caernarfon to Cardiff, through the stunning Snowdonia National Park and down the west coast of Wales. We visit many of Wales' famous heritage railways, castles and museums along the way.


Day 1 – Welcome to Caernarfon

Meet at the Celtic Royal Hotel for a welcome dinner and a 2-night stay in this historic port town. Why not arrive early and independently visit Edward I's famous castle with its polygonal towers? Ffestiniog Travel can arrange rail travel to join this tour, please ask for a quotation.

Day 2 – Snowdon Mountain Railway

We travel by coach to Llanberis this morning to take the diesel service to the summit of Snowdon (weather permitting). After a buffet lunch at the National Slate Museum, we round off the day with some narrow gauge steam on the Llanberis Lake Railway.

Day 3 – Welsh Highland Railway (WHR)

Ride the full length of the WHR line from Caernarfon to Porthmadog. On arrival, we take the short walk down the High Street to visit the Welsh Highland Heritage Railway. Here we have a buffet lunch, train ride and shed visit before transferring to our hotel in Porthmadog for a 2-night stay.

Day 4 – Ffestiniog Railway (FR)

This morning we depart Harbour Station on the FR to Boston Lodge Halt for a tour of the Engineering Workshops, the world's oldest railway workshop complex. Our journey on the FR continues to Blaenau Ffestiniog where we have lunch (included). Return to Porthmadog and enjoy some time at leisure.

Day 5 – Portmeirion & Bala Lake Railway

Morning transfer to the Italianate village of Portmeirion. Famous as the setting for the 1960s series 'The Prisoner', the village was the life-work of architect Clough Williams-Ellis. A packed lunch will be provided by a local delicatessen. Later we travel by coach to Llangollen for a 2-night stay, stopping en route at the Bala Lake Railway. Evening meal at the hotel (included).

Day 6 – Aqueduct Cruise & Llangollen Railway

Enjoy a trip on the Thomas Telford motor boat along a five mile stretch of the Llangollen Canal UNESCO World Heritage Site, which runs along the picturesque Dee Valley and crosses the famous Pontcysyllte Aqueduct. Lunch will be served onboard. This afternoon, we board the Llangollen Railway for a return trip. Once again, dinner is at the hotel (included).

Day 7 – Powis Castle & Welshpool & Llanfair Light Railway (WLLR)

Today we visit Powis Castle & Gardens where lunch will be provided. Later we ride the WLLR through the Powis Estate before continuing by road to Aberystwyth, our home for the next 2 nights. We stay on the seafront within walking distance of the mainline railway station and the Cliff Railway - the longest electric funicular railway in Britain.

Day 8 – Tywyn for the Talyllyn

Travel by mainline rail to Tywyn for a return journey on the Talyllyn Railway. Lunch is included and there will be a little free time to visit the Narrow Gauge Railway Museum before we return to Aberystwyth for an afternoon at leisure.

Day 9 – Vale of Rheidol Railway 

Today we ride the Vale of Rheidol Railway from Aberystwyth, reaching a height of over 600ft. Enjoy breathtaking views as you journey through ancient woodland and rugged mountain scenery to Devil's Bridge, home of the famous waterfalls. Later on, we drive south to Cardiff for a 4-night stay.

Day 10 – Brecon Mountain Railway & Caerphilly Castle

Morning transfer to the Brecon Mountain Railway where we travel behind a vintage steam locomotive following part of the route of the original Brecon & Merthyr Railway. The journey takes us into the Brecon Beacons National Park and along the full length of the Taf Fechan Reservior before climbing to Torpantau, the summit of the original line. On our return to the capital, we visit Caerphilly Castle. Lunch is included again today.

Day 11 – Pontypool & Blaenavon Railway & Cardiff Castle

This morning we visit our last heritage railway, the Pontypool & Blaenavon, which runs to Big Pit Halt, Coed Avon and Blaenavon. We will have lunch (included) and visit the Big Pit National Coal Museum before returning to Cardiff for a guided tour of the city's impressive castle.

Day 12 – St Fagans National Museum of History

Today we visit St Fagans which is one of Europe's leading open-air museums. There is plenty to see here, from the castle and gardens, to over 40 historic buildings, which have been re-erected in the 100-acre parkland, and workshops where craftsmen demonstrate their traditional skills. We anticipate there will be some free time to explore Cardiff Bay before returning to the hotel for a farewell dinner (included).

Day 13 – Homeward Bound

After breakfast we say our goodbyes before departing for the journey home. Why not book your homebound travel through us?

Tour Route

Tour route map

Selected Hotels

Celtic Royal Hotel, Caernarfon

The Royal Sportsman Hotel, Porthmadog

Wild Pheasant Hotel, Llangollen

Marine Hotel, Aberystwyth

Clayton Hotel, Cardiff

Please note - hotels can be subject to change

Price Includes

  • Accommodation in good quality hotels on a bed and breakfast basis
  • 4 dinners, 11 lunches
  • All rail travel (mainline and heritage) as stated in standard class
  • All transfers as stated
  • All excursions as stated
  • Services of a tour leader from Caernarfon and throughout the tour

Price per person

Escorted holiday: £2,450
Single room supplement: £595
Deposit for this holiday: £100

Booking form

Download your tour booking form here.


Why Choose Ffestiniog Travel?

  • UK's first rail tour operator to run an overseas escorted rail holiday in 1974
  • Created for people who love rail holidays and exploring the world’s heritage railways
  • Dedicated rail holiday specialist - great destinations, sightseeing and unparalled railway content
  • Train ticket supplier for worldwide rail operators - we can plan and arrange your rail journey to anywhere
  • Knowledge of the world’s rail routes makes us leading specialists in escorted and Tailor Made rail holidays
  • Over 60% of our existing rail tour travellers return to holiday with us year after year
  • Committed to supporting rail travel and heritage railways around the world
  • Our profits support the continued preservation of the famous Ffestiniog and Welsh Highland Railways
  • Small, dedicated rail holiday travel team offering an award winning personal service

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