Day 01, U.S. - London
Depart the U.S. on overnight flight to London.
Day 02, London
Arrive London; Shared transfer to your hotel is included. You are free to enjoy London on your own. (Please note, hotel check-in is generally between 2:00 pm and 4:00 pm. If you are arriving into London early - the hotel should be happy to hold your luggage until your room is ready).
Day 03, London - Touring Begins - Aberystwyth
Make your own way to the the the London departure point 9:00 am (unless optional transfer was purchased at time of booking). We depart from London at 9:15 am. We travel the road north west takes we first to William Shakespeare's birthplace and home town, Stratford on Avon. Unchanged in many ways since Tudor times, black & white timber frame buildings fill the town center. Following lunch in Stratford we will travel west through the Welsh Marches - the borderlands between England and Wales marked out by the ancient Offa's Dyke. The route then leads into the heart of the Cambrian Mountains and the beautiful Elan Valley from where pure Welsh water is supplied to the distant City of Birmingham. Leaving here in the late afternoon it is just an hour or so to the beautiful seaside town and cultural center of Aberystwyth where we will spend the next two (2) nights.
Day 04, Touring
Traveling north into the mountainous region of the Snowdonia National Park, we head for the beautiful mountain village of Beddgelert, the resting place of a legendary hound, ‘Gelert', and the nearby copper mine - no longer working but open to visitors. The coast at the small town of Criccieth is a short ride away where there is a fine example of one of the castles of the Welsh Princes; with great views from the ramparts along the coast and out into Cardigan Bay. We will travel on to Porthmadog, home of the Ffestingog light railway and over the Cob causeway before reaching the castle at Harlech - one of Edward I masterpieces of medieval military architecture and part of a set of similar castles which that ring the north Wales coastline. We return to Aberystwyth in late afternoon.
Day 05, Touring
Leaving Aberystwyth we travel around the coast of Cardigan Bay through the pretty little planned town of Aberaeron to New Quay with its a charming sandy harbor containing fishing boats and its connections with Dylan Thomas. From the breakwater wall we may be lucky enough to spot dolphins or whales out in the bay. Turning inland again, we strike out for gold at the Dolaucothi mine which dates back to Roman times before heading into the foreboding Black Mountains. Having perhaps explored the mysterious bedrock cave under a castle with ancient origins we head for the coast again at Laugharne where Dylan Thomas wrote the famous play “Under Milk Wood”. From here it's a short distance to Tenby, the small, picturesque seaside town that will be our base for two (2) nights.
Day 06, Touring - Tenby
Our last full day in Wales is spent exploring the extreme south-west of the country, in the Pembrokeshire Coast National Park. This region was the birthplace of both the patron saint of Wales, St David, and the Twdyr (anglicized to Tudor) royal dynasty. After stopping in the county town of Pembroke itself with yet another fabulous castle you will travel on to the tiny cathedral city of St Davids for lunch and time to explore this magical place. In the afternoon the tour follows the coast to Strumble Head, the site of the last invasion of Britain in 1797 (by an American leading coerced Frenchmen!), and on to the Presili Hills, a place of entombment in Neolithic times and the source of the blue stones of Stonehenge, to where they were transported nearly 4,000 years ago. From here we return once more to Tenby.
Day 07, Touring - Tenby - London
Leaving Tenby in the morning, we begin our return journey to London. We pick up the motorway taking us past the big industrial cities of South Wales to the outskirts of Cardiff for a visit to the outdoor National History Museum (an optional drop-off for anyone wanting to end the tour in Cardiff is available). After a quick tour through the impressively modern Cardiff Bay area we head back in time 2000 years with a stop at the remarkably well preserved Roman Fortress at Caerleon. From here sadly it is time to leave Wales behind and head back across the Severn Estuary bridge into England. We will take one final break at Castle Combe, a quintessentially Cotswold village where you can stroll amongst ironstone cottages dating back to the 16th Century. Your driver/guide will aim to have you back in Central London by around 7.30 pm. Make your way to your prebooked hotel, where your evening is free to enjoy London independently.
Day 08, London - U.S.
After breakfast, check out of your London hotel, with a shared transfer included back to the airport.