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Castle, Canal and Mountain Adventure: Intergenerational Wales

Program Number: 16292RJ
Start and End Dates:
7/9/2013 - 7/19/2013;
Duration: 10 nights
Location: Wales, UK:Wales
Price starting at: $2,841.00 - Price may vary based on date, departure city
Program Type: Intergenerational
Meals: 26; 9 Breakfasts, 8 Lunches, 9 Dinners    
Meal Options: Low Fat; Vegetarian; Low Salt; Gluten Free    

Program intended for grandchildren from 9 - 11 years of age.

From high in the mountains to deep underground, gain insights into the life and times of the people of Wales. Experience Roman times with centurions, life in a medieval village before the Black Death, coal miner life in a mineshaft and much more.


• Immerse yourself in history while staying in the 13th-century Ruthin Castle, complete with ancient dungeon and whipping pit.
• Savor the famous medieval banquet at Cardiff Castle.
• Journey by horse drawn barge along the Llangollen Canal followed by a walk over the famous Pontcysyllte viaduct — the waterway in the sky.

Activity Particulars

Walking up to two miles; standing; stairs in historic buildings.

All rooms are either double or single occupancy. If a family of 3 enrolls, one adult must enroll in a single and the other adult will be paired with the child. If a family of 4 enrolls, they will be provided with two rooms, one adult paired with one child in each room. We apologize, triple rooms are not available.

Date Specific Information


Enjoy the latest in hearing technology — listening devices — on this date.

Itinerary Summary

Arrival Manchester (England); coach to Ruthin (Wales); 4 nights; coach to Cardiff, 4 nights; coach to London, 1 night; departure.

Overnight flight from the U.S.A.
1 night
Arrival Manchester (England)
Coach to Ruthin (Wales)
4 nights

Step into a fairy tale within the magical stone walls of Ruthin Castle and learn about Welsh life past and present. Capture Conwy Castle, take an harp lesson and make a bronze axe head at the Great Orme Copper Mine. Marvel at the surrounding countryside below on a walk 125 feet above the valley on the Llangollen Canal. At the Victorian workshops of the Museum of Slate, observe quarry workers split slate and journey up the mountainside on the Ffestiniog railway.

Days 6-11
Coach to Cardiff
4 nights
Coach to London (England)
1 night

The legends of King Arthur come alive as a cloaked and hooded “boatman” leads an underground boat voyage through the great waterfall at Arthur’s Labyrinth. Then, join medieval villagers at Cosmeston village to see life before the coming of the Black Death. Visit the magical ruins of Tintern Abbey. At St. Fagan’s, the Museum of National History, enjoy a lesson in a Victorian schoolroom and explore the Romans’ barracks and amphitheatre at Caerleon. Join coal miners underground at the Big Pit and World Heritage Site and don a helmet and cap lamp as you journey 300 feet into the mineshaft (optional).


In 1282, Llywelyn the Last — the final leader of Wales’ Gwynedd dynasty — was defeated by the forces of England’s Edward I, an event that joined the once-independent Wales under the rule of the British monarchy. Today, Wales shares political and historical similarities with the rest of Great Britain, but maintains its own distinct culture, language and economy.

13th-century castle and modern hotel.
Meals and Lodgings
   Ruthin Castle Hotel
  Ruthin, UK:Wales 4 nights
   Maldron Hotel
  Cardiff, UK:England 4 nights
   Radisson Edwardian Heathrow Hotel.
  London, UK:England 1 night
 Ruthin Castle Hotel
Type: Four-Star Hotel
  Description: The unique Ruthin Castle dates from before 1277 and dominates the historic Welsh market town of Ruthin. The castle previously formed part of the Crown Estate until sold by Charles I in 1632 and sits in its ancient walled dry moat within acres of private landscaped gardens, parkland and woods alongside the River Clwyd. The grounds include 30 acres of gardens, parkland and woods. Pink marble monumental lions guard your entrance into the wood panelled hallway with original paintings and stone fireplaces. Medieval banquets are held here, Royalty have stayed here and there is theancient dungeon with the whipping pit and drowning pool!
  Contact info: Ruthin Castle
Denbighshire, North Wales,  LL15 2NU UK:Wales
phone: +44 1824 702664
  Room amenities: hairdryer, bath and/or shower, remote control colour television , radio, hospitality beverages , direct dial telephones with data port.
  Facility amenities: Library Bar, Cornwallis Lounge, Inner Hallway for relaxing. Bertie's Restaurant. Time for Me! Health and Beauty. Fitness equipment. Snookerl Table. Fishing (rods not provided).
  Smoking allowed: Yes
  Elevators available: Yes
  Additional nights prior:  For additional pre and post program accommodations, please contact Road Scholar Travel Services at (800) 241-1404 or via email to
  Check in time: 2:00 PM

 Maldron Hotel
Type: Three-Star Hotel
  Description: The Maldron Hotel in Cardiff City Centre opened on the 16th of May 2011. Located in the heart of the city on St Mary Street, the Maldron Hotel is one of the most conveniently located hotels in Cardiff City Centre adjacent to Cardiff Central Railway Station. Millennium Stadium is only a short walk from the hotel.
  Contact info: St. Mary Street
Cardiff,  CF10 1GD UK:Wales
phone: +44 2920 668866
  Room amenities: Kaymed beds by Kingcoyle in all bedrooms, Rooms can accommodate up to 3 adults in twin and double beds, Air-conditioning, Tea/Coffee making facilities, Lap-top safes, Complimentary Wi-Fi, Flat-screen TV, Iron/Ironing Board, Ice Machines on all floors. .
  Facility amenities: 216 air-conditioned guest rooms, Broadband & wireless internet access, Cardiff city centre Hotel, Stir Restaurant & Bar.
  Smoking allowed: No
  Elevators available: Yes

 Radisson Edwardian Heathrow Hotel.
Type: Four-Star Hotel
  Description: Close to Heathrow Airport.
  Contact info: 140 Bath Road.
Hayes, Middlesex.,  UB3 5AW UK:England
phone: +44 20 8759 6311
  Room amenities: Air-conditioning. Direct dial telephone with personal number and voicemail, satllite TV and pay movies, in room safe. In room bar, iron and ironing board, tea and coffee making facilities.
  Facility amenities: Restaurant and bar. Complimentary wireless internet access, business centre, newsagents, health spa and fitness centre.
  Smoking allowed: No
  Elevators available: Yes
  Additional nights after:  For additional pre and post program accommodations, please contact Road Scholar Travel Services at (800) 241-1404 or via email to
  Check out time: 11:00 AM

Travel Details
  Start of Program:
At Manchester airport hotel for coach transfer to Ruthin.The welcome meeting is held in the Ruthin Castle hotel at 5:00pm before dinner. You will be staying at Ruthin Castle Hotel that night.
  End of Program:
After breakfast in the hotel. Breakfast ends at 10:00am and check-out is by 11:00am. You will be staying at Radisson Edwardian Heathrow Hotel. the night before.
  Required documents:
The Participant Information Form is required.
  Parking availability:
No parking.
Transportation (For Independent Travelers)
  Train or bus availability: Trains available.
To Start of Program
  Location:  Ruthin
  Nearest city or town:  Ruthin
  Nearest airport:  Manchester
  Transportation to site: Buses, trains to Manchester Airport from the city centre. We recommend meeting at the Manchester Airport Bewley's Hotel for lunch and a coach transfer to Ruthin. Public transport to Ruthin is limited.
  From End of Program
  Location:  London
  Nearest city or town:  London
  Nearest airport:  London Heathrow
  Transportation from site: Shuttle "Hoppa" bus to Heathrow Airport for buses, coaches, trains including the Heathrow Express to Paddington. The GL will give you the fare for the Hoppa.
The prices listed for commercial services and facilities that are not included in the program cost, such as airport shuttles or extra nights lodging, are subject to change without notice. Since Road Scholar cannot guarantee the accuracy of these prices, we strongly suggest contacting the companies directly for the most up-to-date information.

Daily Schedule

Day 1:
(Tuesday, July 9)
 Depart From: North America for overnight flight.

Day 2:
(Wednesday, July 10)
 Arrive To: Manchester Airport. Transfer to Ruthin.
 Lunch: Lunch in Bewley's Hotel Manchester Airport. Make your own way there where the group leader will meet you. Bewley’s Hotel Manchester Airport operates a free shuttle bus to/from all 3 terminals. This service runs 24 hours. Manchester Airport terminal 1 and terminal 3 are both located less than a 5 minute walk away from the hotel.
 Afternoon: Transfer continues. Check-in and free time before a welcome meeting at 5:00pm with Conway Davies, Course Director.
 Dinner: In the hotel.
 Evening: Introductory lecture.
Accommodations: Ruthin Castle Hotel
Meals Included: Lunch, Dinner

Day 3: Conwy Castle.
(Thursday, July 11)
 Breakfast: Full Welsh breakfast in the hotel.
 Morning: Field trip to the World Heritage Site Conwy and to Conwy Castle where grandchildren will learn how to attack and defend a castle while the grandparents take a tour of the Castle and town. Conway Castle is one of the best medieval fortresses in Europe built for King Edward I as one of his "iron ring" of castles built to contain the Welsh. From the battlements look out across stunning mountains and Snowdonia countryside and the harbour and walled town.
 Lunch: In the Castle Hotel, one of the most photgraphed locations in Conwy. An old coaching inn, stands on the site of a Cistercian abbey and used to consist of two famous hostelries, The Castle and the 15th Century King's Head. Local granite and brick gave it a facelift in the 19th century and many famous people such a William Wordsworth, Thomas Telford and the Queen of Romania stayed here. Serves local Welsh produce.
 Afternoon: Walk around the medieval town wall. The field trip continues to Plas Mawr where you see a 16th century Welsh merchant's house and hear about everyday life of Tudor gentry and their servants in an historic house.
 Dinner: In the hotel.
 Evening: Enjoy a historical and humorous illustrated talk on the Ancient Laws of Hywel Dda.
Accommodations: Ruthin Castle Hotel
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 4: Pontcyssyllte viaduct and Llangollen barge ride. Great Orme Copper Mine. Unique views from above and below!
(Friday, July 12)
 Breakfast: Full Welsh breakfast in the hotel.
 Morning: Field trip to Llangollen. Take a horse drawn barge from Llangollen to the Pontcysyllte viaduct. The aqueduct, taking the Llangollen Canal over the beautiful River Dee valley, is 1000 feet long and 125 feet high. Such distances had never before been conquered, until Telford's decision to build it by laying an iron water-carrying trough on stone piers. To this day, the joints are effectively sealed using a mixture of flannel and lead dipped in liquid sugar. We will be crossing on foot.
 Lunch: Excluded so that you can explore local fare in Llangollen.
 Afternoon: Field trip to Great Orme Bronze Age Copper Mine, Llandudno. Travel back 4000 years and tour of the works and activities such as smelting copper and tin to make a bronze axe-head, dying and weaving and then travel on the vehicular railway. Take a helmet and make your way down to the mines. Although the tunnels you walk through are large enough to stand in, many tunnels leading off are so small that they could only have been mined by children, as young as 5 or 6 years.
 Dinner: In the hotel.
 Evening: Walk historic Ruthin.
Accommodations: Ruthin Castle Hotel
Meals Included: Breakfast, Dinner

Day 5: Museum of Slate and narrow gauge railway ride
(Saturday, July 13)
 Breakfast: Full Welsh breakfast in the hotel.
 Morning: Field trip to the Museum of Slate at Llanberis to see slate splitting by skilled cratfsmen and take a tour of the works. Explore the history of the industry so important to Welsh communities since the 19th century is brought to life with workshops, a foundry, forges and waterpowered machinery. The museum houses the largest working waterwheel in the UK. The Museum building is sited in the Victorian workshops built in the shadow of Elidir mountain, site of the vast Dinorwig quarry.
 Lunch: Packed lunch.
 Afternoon: Travel on the narrow gauge railway from Caernarfon to Porthmadog (opening 2009) or between Blaenau Ffestiniog and Porthmadog. Visit Caernarfon.
 Dinner: In the hotel.
 Evening: Enjoy a harpist performance and learn how to play a simple tune on the harp.
Accommodations: Ruthin Castle Hotel
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 6: Arthur's Labyrinth.
(Sunday, July 14)
 Breakfast: Full Welsh breakfast in the hotel.
 Morning: Coach transfer to Cardiff via Arthur's Labyrinth. An underground adventure unfolds as you sail along a subterranean river, through the great waterfall, deep inside the spectacular Labyrinth and far into the past and a world of myths, legends and storytelling. Hear stories of dragons and giants, treachery,battles and floods in a sound and light display.
 Lunch: Lunch out in Coris.
 Afternoon: Transfer continues. Check-in to hotel.
 Dinner: In the hotel.
 Evening: Introduction to the locality.
Accommodations: Maldron Hotel
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 7: Victorian school lesson at Museum of National History at St Fagans and medieval village complete with peasants.
(Monday, July 15)
 Breakfast: Full Welsh breakfast in the hotel.
 Morning: Field trip to the Museum of National History at St Fagans where the children take a Victorian lesson in a schoolroom with adults viewing if they wish. This is followed by a tour of the open air site including iron age settlement. St Fagans is one of Europe's foremost open–air museums and Wales's most popular heritage attraction. Over forty original buildings from different historical periods have been re-erected in the 100-acre parkland. The re-erected buildings include houses, a farm, a school, a chapel and a splendid Workmen's Institute
 Lunch: Lunch in St Fagans.
 Afternoon: Field trip to Cosmeston Medieval Village to experience life in a Medieval Village before the coming of the Black Death and Plague. A reconstructed village of 14th century peasant life with costumed villagers.
 Dinner: In the hotel.
 Evening: Enjoy a music workshop.
Accommodations: Maldron Hotel
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 8: Big Pit and Llancaiach Fawr Manor House.
(Tuesday, July 16)
 Breakfast: Full Welsh breakfast in the hotel.
 Morning: The field trip continues to Big Pit National Coal Museum and World Heritage Site --the world-famous underground tour goes 300 feet underground with a real miner to see what life was like for the thousands of men who worked at the coal face. A further 20 minutes or so is taken in 'kitting up' with helmet and cap lamp, collecting contraband (cigarettes, matches, mobile phones, battery-operated equipment etc.) and riding through the shaft. The tour begins with a 300ft (90m) descent down the mineshaft by pit cage. Tours are conducted by experienced colliery personel. For anyone claustrophobic there is a 20 minute audio-visual presentation and a virtual guide.
 Lunch: Lunch out in Llancaiach Fawr or the Big Pit.
 Afternoon: Field trip to Llancaiach Fawr- a 17th Century semi fortified manor house that claims a number of resident ghosts. Owned during the civil war by the Pritchard family, visitors are greeted by servants of Colonel Pritchard dressed in the costumes of 1645 who tell stories in 17th Century language of life at the time of the civil war. King Charles I visited the house just before his surrender to Cromwell in 1646.
 Dinner: In the hotel.
 Evening: Walk around historic Cardiff.
Accommodations: Maldron Hotel
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 9: National Roman Legion Museum/Tintern Abbey/Medieval Banquet in Cardiff Castle.
(Wednesday, July 17)
 Breakfast: Full Welsh breakfast in the hotel.
 Morning: Field trip to Caerleon Roman fort with a visit to the Roman Baths. Introductory talk in the museum followed by an experiential tour of the amphitheatre and barracks. Wales was the furthest outpost of the Roman Empire. In AD 75, the Romans built a fortress at Caerleon that would guard the region for over 200 years. Today at the National Roman Legion Museum you can learn what made the Romans a formidable force and how life wouldn't be the same without them. You'll be able to see a large collection of objects that show us how they lived, fought, worshipped and died. Caerleon was one of only three permanent fortresses in Roman Britain. The Museum lies inside what remains of the fortress, which includes the most complete amphitheatre in Britain and the only remains of a Roman Legionary barracks on view anywhere in Europe.
 Lunch: Lunch is taken at the Hanbury Arms.
 Afternoon: Take a boat trip at Symonds Yat in England followed by a visit to Tintern Abbey--The Cistercian abbey of Tintern is one of the greatest monastic ruins of Wales. It was only the second Cistercian foundation in Britain, and the first in Wales, and was founded on 9 May 1131 by Walter de Clare, Lord of Chepstow.
 Dinner: Enjoy a fun filled Medieval Banquet at Cardiff Castle. Enjoy a glass of mead or soft drink when you arrive, then take your seats in the 15th Century Undercroft for a four course feast of hearty local dishes. Traditionally costumed characters perform popular Welsh songs and invite you to join in the fun. The whole evening is accompanied by the enchanting sounds of the harp.
Accommodations: Maldron Hotel
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 10: Fairytale Castell Coch-Red Castle in Welsh.
(Thursday, July 18)
 Breakfast: Full Welsh breakfast in the hotel.
 Morning: Coach transfer to London airport hotel via Castell Coch-Red Castle in Welsh. A fairytale castle romantically created in the Victorian age but rebuilt from the ruins of the original medieval castle. Enjoy storytelling.
 Lunch: Packed lunch.
 Afternoon: Transfer continues. Check-in.
 Dinner: In the hotel.
 Evening: At leisure.
Accommodations: Radisson Edwardian Heathrow Hotel.
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 11:
(Friday, July 19)
 Breakfast: Continental breakfast in the hotel.
 Morning: Airport shuttle to the terminals. Flights to North America.
Meals Included: Breakfast
Important information about your itinerary: Every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy and completeness of the information featured on this website. Itineraries are based on our best information at this time. Circumstances beyond our control may require us to adjust itineraries or other details. We regret any inconvenience this may cause and appreciate your understanding. Information will be sent to you from your Program Provider approximately three weeks prior to the program start date. The prices listed for commercial services and facilities that are not included in the program cost, such as airport shuttles or extra nights lodging, are subject to change without notice. Since Road Scholar cannot guarantee the accuracy of these prices, we strongly suggest contacting the companies directly for the most up-to-date information.

Suggested Reading List

A Child of the Manor

Author: Jane Pritchard

Description: The Welsh History Stories are a colourful and interesting way to learn about life in Wales during the course of its history. The main characters are children and they describe their lives as well as observations on the period they live in.

A History of Modern Wales 1536-1990

Author: Philip Jenkins

A History of Wales

Author: John Davies

Description: Stretching from the Ice Ages to the present day, this masterful account traces the political, social and cultural history of the land that has come to be called Wales. Spanning prehistoric hill forts and Roman ruins to the Reformation, the Industrial Revolution and the series of strikes by Welsh miners in the late twentieth century, this is the definitive history of an enduring people: a unique and compelling exploration of the origins of the Welsh nation, its development and its role in the modern world. This new edition brings this remarkable history into the new era of the Welsh Assembly.


Author: David Macaulay

Description: Text and detailed drawings follow the planning and construction of a "typical" castle and adjoining town in thirteenth-century Wales.

Castles of the Welsh Princes

Author: Paul Davies

Description: Order from

Stories From Wales -: Oxford Children's Myths and Legends

Author: Gwyn Jones

Description: Oxford Children's Myths and Legends bring you the greatest stories ever told, from around the world and long ago. Heroes and villains, witches and wizards, warriors and royalty - there's something here for everyone. These spell-binding tales of love, loyalty, greed and jealousy come from the mountains and valleys of Wales. From Pwyll, the prince of Dyfed, to Arthur's court, they tell of a world where peasants and kings live alongside the folk of the faery, and where reality and enchantment intertwine.

Tell Me a Dragon

Author: Jackie Morris

Description: Everyone has their very own dragon, and this book describes many different varieties of the beast, showing in words and stunning pictures exactly why their owners find them so entrancing. They range from a dragon as big as a village to a tiny dragon with whisper-thin wings, from a snaggle-toothed dragon to a sea-dragon which races dolphins on the waves - ending in a page inhabited by every dragon in the book! About the Author Jackie Morris lives in Wales with her two children, two dogs and five cats and makes a living by drawing, colouring in and dreaming.

The Mabinogi, Legend and Landscape of Wales

Author: Bollard/Griffiths

Description: Order from Good pictures.

The Seal Children

Author: Jackie Morris

Description: When a fisherman called Huw falls in love with a selkie - half-woman, half-seal - she gives him her sealskin as a sign of her love, and bears him two children, Ffion and Morlo, before returning to her own people. A few years later a stranger comes to the village, telling of a land far away, and Ffion and Morlo remember their mother's stories of the cities of gold and pearls beneath the waves...This is a beautiful, atmospheric story of love and freedom, and the first children's picture book written and illustrated by Jackie Morris

Wales (Horrible Histories)

Author: Terry Deary and Martin Brown

Welsh Castles at War

Author: John Norris

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