A tour focusing on the medieval history of Wales that happens to travel through some of the most beautiful scenery North Wales has to offer.
The Castles and Town Walls of King Edward 1st in Gwynedd were granted UNESCO status in 1986 and consist of the 4 great castles of Caernarfon, Conwy, Harlech and Beaumaris. Considered by UNESCO to be the “finest examples of late 13th century and early 14th-century military architecture in Europe” they have been jointly described as ‘’some of the most powerful castles of any age or country’’ and ‘’ the zenith of English castle building’.
Towering over the town’s quaint quayside and with a backdrop of Snowdonia’s high mountains, Conwy Castle enjoys a spectacular setting. After Edward 1st conquered Wales, his stonemasons built Conwy castle and its town walls in barely 4 years. An important Welsh palace and monastery originally occupied the site overlooking the Conwy estuary and the building of the new English town and castle on top of such a high-status Welsh site was the supreme demonstration of power and domination by Edward 1st. Today, Conwy Castle houses the most complete remains of medieval royal apartments anywhere in Britain.
Harlech Castle is perched atop an inaccessible cliff looking out over the Irish sea. With the Llyn Peninsula stretching out to the west and the high mountains of Snowdonia to the north, it enjoys perhaps the most spectacular setting of any of Edward 1st’s coastal fortresses. Harlech Castle played an important part in a number of Welsh revolts and civil wars through the centuries and it was here that Owain Glyndwr was crowned King of Wales during the last great Welsh uprising in the early 1400s. During the War of the Roses, 50 Lancastrian defenders held the castle for over a month against 7000 besieging Yorkists – they are honoured in modern times in Wales’s alternative national anthem – the rousing ‘Men of Harlech’
Caernarfon Castle is one of the most impressive of Edward 1st’s medieval castles and occupies a commanding position at the southern end of the beautiful Menai Straits. The castle was the main seat of Edward 1st during his early conquest of Wales and its royal connections continue into modern times with it being the site of the investiture of Prince Charles, the current Prince of Wales. Right from its inception, Caernarfon was built on a grand scale to be the home of Edward in Wales.
Edward 1st commissioned Beaumaris Castle in 1295 to further stamp his authority on the Welsh. Located at the northern entrance to the Menai Strait, it is recognised as the most technically perfect castle in Europe. Known as the castle that was never finished, construction slowed during Edward’s invasion of Scotland in 1300 and then continued until 1306 before stalling again with England under further threat of invasion by the Scots. The castle was described by 20th century Historian Arnold Taylor as ‘’the most perfect example of symmetrical concentric planning’’ even though it was still incomplete when work ceased for the last time in 1330.
Your personal guided tour timetable
Your touring day starts at your accommodation at 9:30 am. Your day will include rest, coffee and a lunch stop in addition to stops for the listed sites, attractions and activities. Along the way, your driver will tell you all about Wales’ history, culture and myths and legends whilst pointing out places of interest and recommending the best stops for food, refreshments and photos. We aim to have you back at your accommodation at about 6:00 pm.
We will endeavor to visit all locations listed on this tour however, Start/Finish times, order of itinerary and places we visit may change depending on your pickup and drop-off location, weather, road conditions or other events out of our control. Therefore, all tour timings are approximate, and we reserve the right to change the tour itinerary at any time.
What is Included in your tour
Pick up and drop off at your hotel or cruise berth within North Wales.
The services of your professional driver/guide throughout your tour.
The use of our luxury Mercedes people carrier to suit your party size
All fuel, parking and road tolls.
What is excluded from your tour
Food and drink and admission fees to sites, attractions and activities where payable.
Personal travel insurance
What to bring with you.
Please bring a wind or waterproof coat and sensible footwear for some light walking. Whilst rare, Wales can have 4 seasons in one day!