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Great Castles of North Wales

All tours on this holiday have now departed. Future departure dates will be confirmed in due course.

  • Talk from castles expert, Dr Marc Morris

  • Medieval fortress of Caernarfon Castle

  • Harlech Castle, inspiration for JMW Turner

In the late thirteenth century, in the course of three devastating campaigns, Wales was conquered by the English King Edward I. To cement his victory he built a string of mighty castles which became the greatest chain of fortresses in medieval Europe. Situated along the Welsh coast, against the backdrop of the mountains of Snowdonia, they are among the most beautiful and scenic buildings in Britain celebrated since the eighteenth century by diarists, poets and painters. Today their global importance is recognised by their collective designation as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

ITINERARY

Day 1: Arrive independently at the St George’s Hotel, Llandudno from 15.00. This evening there will be a welcome reception, private dinner with wine and a talk by Dr Marc Morris – ‘A great and terrible king: Edward I and the forging of Britain’.

Day 2: Rhuddlan, Conwy and Caernarfon Castles.
Our first visit is to Rhuddlan Castle, which was built during Edward’s first conquest of Wales in 1277. Engineers straightened the course of the River Clwyd, which flows next to the castle, to give Edward’s ships access to supply provisions and troops if opposing armies were a threat on land. Next we explore Conwy, a perfectly formed fortress that was constructed at record speed after the second campaign of 1282-83. Conwy is designed to accommodate the king himself – the royal residential suites are some of the best surviving in the country. Our final visit of the day is to the great Caernarfon, constructed on an imperial scale incorporating not only ingenious military features into its design but also drawing inspiration from Arthurian legend. Tonight there will be dinner in the hotel restaurant.

Day 3: Dolwyddelan, Harlech and Beaumaris Castles.
This morning we head into the mountains of Snowdonia to discover the ruins of Dolwyddelan, a castle built by the native Welsh princes which fell to Edward I in the course of his conquest. Next its onto Harlech Castle. Harlech has inspired many a Romantic painter, including Turner, due to its spectacular location on a spur of rock overlooking the Irish Sea. After lunch (not included) our final visit is to the island of Anglesey where a revolt against Edward’s rule in 1294 led to the construction of Beaumaris Castle. Work ceased on construction before the castle was completed due to spiralling costs. Return to the hotel for approximately 17.30. 

NB: Exact order of itinerary may vary according to local conditions and tour manager's discretion.  

Please note: Post tour extra nights are available at a supplement.

Please note the maximum group size on this tour is 48 passengers.  

INCLUDED

  • Two nights' bed and breakfast at the four-star St. George's Hotel, Llandudno, based on shared occupancy of a twin/double room
  • Welcome reception 
  • First night private three-course dinner with wine 
  • Second night dinner in the hotel restaurant 
  • All talks, guided tours and admissions
  • Coach transfers and tour manager throughout 

NOT INCLUDED

  • Transport to the hotel is not included
  • Single room supplement
  • Extra nights on bed and breakfast basis 
  • Holiday insurance 
  • Meals other than those stated 
  • Items of a personal nature such as drinks, laundry, telephone calls etc 
  • Porterage and gratuities 

 

HOTEL

St. George's Hotel, Llandudno
Located in the heart of the town of Llandudno, right next to the sea and promenade. the four-star St. George's Hotel is perfectly located for all of our visits. The hotel provides a restaurant, bar, and comfortable bedrooms with private bath/shower, TV, telephone, air-conditioning, hairdryer and tea/coffee making facilities. Complimentary car parking is available at the hotel on a first come, first served basis. 

St. George's Hotel Website 

MORE INFO - Please click here to see full details of this tour

This tour will take in the most spectacular of Edward's Welsh Castles with your host Dr Marc Morris. Marc is a medieval historian and broadcaster best known for his TV series on British castles. In 2008 he published a bestselling biography of Edward I, "A Great and Terrible King", to widespread critical acclaim and his new book "The Norman Conquest" is every bit as engagingly written.

Please note that all our UK tours start and finish at the relevant hotel.  

You can normally check in from 3pm onwards but hotels will always be happy to store your luggage if you arrive earlier in the day. 

For full details of how to get to the hotel, directions and the nearest train station, please click on the hotel website or call our office for details. These will also be sent automatically with your confirmation. 

The welcome reception and first evening dinner / talk will commence at about 7pm - full details will be sent with your joining instructions about 10 days prior to the arrival date. 

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Our expert guide, Dr Marc Morris was excellent making the castles we saw come alive and giving us enough information while not overloading us with facts. Quite tiring seeing 6 castles in two days but very enjoyable.

Review by Grimshaw who travelled 30-July-2018


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Very enjoyable tour. The Hotel and our Tour Manager Nick both excellent. Dr Marc Morris's superb knowledge of the castles helped to make this a memorable tour.

Review by Wills who travelled 30-July-2018


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food in the hotel in Durham jn the evening could have been bettter

Review by Rawlinson who travelled 30-July-2018


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The castkes are wonderful. Nick lookwed after us wittily and well. Marc was, of course, an wexpert guide to the castles.

Review by who travelled 30-July-2018


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This tour was excellently chosen and carried out. Both the tour manager, Nick Hancock, and the tour lecturer, Marc Morris, were knowledgeable, helpful and friendly. St George's Hotel was also very good indeed.

Review by who travelled 30-July-2018


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Review by who travelled 30-July-2018


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Marc Morris our tour guide was a mine of information about everything we saw. Mike our tour manager was very efficient and entertaining. Hotel room and food was of a good standard. Altogether a worthwhile tour for anybody with an interest in the history of this part of the world. .

Review by Rodwell who travelled 30-July-2018


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Expert Dr Marc Morris surpassed our expectations of how much 13th century history we would learn and tour manager Nick Hancock made sure everything went smoothly. We climbed turrets, walked battlements and admired views - mostly in the dry. Hotel was comfortable and staff very helpful.

Review by Hall who travelled 30-July-2018


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Had a great time, Marc Morris is very knowledgeable and puts it across in an extremely accessible fashion. It was brilliant to be able to visit Edward I’s castles with someone who’s an undoubted expert on the historical context, Edward I and the castles themselves.

Review by Wall who travelled 30-July-2018


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Considering this was Nick Hancock's first tour he carried out his duties admirably and came across very friendly and personable. Historian Marc Morris is as captivating to listen to as his books are to read, a truly wonderful tour! WG Warburton

Review by Mr W Wallburton who travelled 19-September-2016


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1) Nick was an excellent tour manager with a great sense of humour 2) Marc, our historian, was an authoritative and entertaining guide who gave us a memorable talk on the first evening. 3) Overall, an excellent trip. Many thanks

Review by Mr William Lawrence who travelled 19-September-2016


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Marc was really good - he pitched it just right and it was all very very interesting. Nick was very kind, helpful and looked after us very well. Not too keen on all the 'chat' over the microphone on the bus - would rather just enjoy the scenery than all the jokes/anecdotes etc. A little local knowledge from time to time from Nick would have been more helpful - realized it was his first trip but on return we googled a few things - the bridge cutting into the castle at Conwy - Thomas Telford - also Thomas Telford bridge over the Menai Straits and the Robert Louis Stephenson bridge which had awful fire in 1970's now road rail bridge which we crossed. into Anglesey. Also lovely view of Snowdonia from the island but could we see Snowdon or was the cloud too low? Also nice bit about hotel at dinner first night but Mostyns came to prominence in 17th Century and still own much of Llandudno - just a little on this might be interesting.and how they preserve the town as it is etc etc. The main thing we went for was Marc and the castles but just a little on other things by the tour manager is always appreciated.

Review by Mrs Christine Marriott who travelled 19-September-2016


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As with our experiences on other Travel Editions' tours, we have thoroughly enjoyed this expedition. The hotel location was superb, and the organisation worked extremely well in the hands of Mike and Marilyn. No other person than Marc Morris could have guided us through the complications of Edward 1st's attempts to subdue the Welsh. Each tour we have been on has left us with a fascinating series of recollections. We look forward to our next tour, that of Cathedrals and Churches of the South West Midlands in September with Mike Hope.

Review by Mr Malcolm Peach who travelled 11-July-2016


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I would like to comment on Marc Morris who was an excellent guide. Lively and interesting. Also I would like to mention the extremely high standard of the hotel staff, particularly in the restaurant Attentive, good natured with a smile.

Review by Mrs Rosemary Cross who travelled 11-July-2016


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Expert guide excellent

Review by Mrs Lacey Baxter who travelled 11-July-2016


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What a great trip this was. The organisation was first class. Marc Morris is a quality historian and shared his passion with us all. Looking forward to our next trip with travel editions in September.

Review by Mr Phillip Parkin who travelled 11-July-2016


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Louise and I both enjoyed a fascinating tour of the castles. It was inspiring to be in the company of such an informed expert as Marc Morris who also injected humour into his resumes. The overall organisation was slick and the coach driver deserved a medal for dealing with some narrow passing points!

Review by Mr Mark Beesley who travelled 11-July-2016


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Good use of time re talks, site visits, travelling, and free time. Dr Marc Marris very informative and approachable and Mike Morris organised the group well without being patronising. An extra night in the hotel should have been included as very few people went home after the 17:30 return to the hotel

Review by Mrs J Hogan who travelled 11-July-2016


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