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Celtic Wales: Snowdonia and Pembrokeshire

Program Number: 12185RJ
Start and End Dates:
7/23/2013 - 8/2/2013; 5/17/2016 - 5/27/2016; 6/14/2016 - 6/24/2016; 9/6/2016 - 9/16/2016; 9/27/2016 - 10/7/2016;
Duration: 10 nights
Location: England/Wales
Price starting at: $2,750.00 - Price may vary based on date, departure city
Program Type:
Meals: 25; 9 Breakfasts, 7 Lunches, 9 Dinners    
Meal Options: Low Fat; Vegetarian; Low Salt; Gluten Free    

From whence springs the distinct Welsh identity? From their proud language, world famous orators and choirs? Or the castles and prehistoric settlements that dot the bucolic countryside? From Snowdonia in the North and Pembrokeshire in the West, venture through a land of magnificent, varied scenery to experience the history and heritage of Celtic Wales and its ancient tradition of myths and legends.


• Explore the Iron Age Castell Henllys with the resident archaeologist.
• Go behind the scenes at St Davids Cathedral in Pembrokeshire.
• Performances by a Welsh choir and a renowned Welsh harpist.

Activity Particulars

Walking of up to one mile; uneven terrain; city sidewalks.

Date Specific Information

7-23-2013, 5-17-2016, 6-14-2016, 9-6-2016, 9-27-2016

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

Itinerary Summary

Arrival Manchester, 1 night; Betws-y-Coed (Wales), 4 nights; Lamphey via “Wild Wales,” 3 nights; London (England), 1 night; departure.

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

Betws-y-Coed is a beautiful mountain region known for waterfalls and crag cliffs, valleys and glens. Examine the wars and castles of Edward I, the Welsh language and the Lleyn Peninsula. Explore the heart of Snowdonia National Park, Bodnant Garden, Conwy Castle, the fantasy village of Portmeirion and the port of Porthmadog. Ride the Ffestiniog Railway to Blaenau Ffestiniog and see the Llechwedd Slate Quarry to discover Wales' industrial heritage.

Coach to Lamphey via “Wild Wales”
3 nights
Coach to London for departure
1 night

Discuss early Christianity, the Celtic church, fishing and trading, and the importance of the Preseli Hills in early history. Explore St Davids, Castell Henylls and Dylan Thomas’ Laugharne. In Caerleon, visit the Legionary Museum and the amphitheatre, barracks, baths and other remnants of Roman occupation. At Mynydd Preseli in Pembrokeshire Coast National Park, hear about the prehistoric burial chambers and standing stones.

Manchester: Four-star hotel near airport. Betws-y-Coed: Comfortable hotel located in the heart of Snowdonia National Park. Lamphey: Historic hotel four-star hotel. London: Comfortable hotel near airport.

Road Scholar Instructors
These instructors are participating on at least one date of this program. Please note that changes may occur.
Conway Davies

Conway Davies earned a degree in history at Bangor University, a master's from Cardiff University, and is completing his Ph.D. at Swansea University. Conway has extensive knowledge of the Welsh language and the history and culture of both North and South Wales. He is the author of two books, "The History of Poor Law Provision in South Wales" and "Out of Sight, Out of Mind: the History of Mental Health provision in South Wales."
Meals and Lodgings
   Holiday Inn Manchester West
  Manchester, UK:England 1 night
   Royal Oak
  Betws-y-Coed, UK:Wales 4 nights
   Ivy Bush Royal Hotel.
  Carmarthen., UK:Wales 3 nights
   Radisson Edwardian Heathrow Hotel.
  London Heathrow, UK:England 1 night
 Holiday Inn Manchester West
Type: Four-Star Hotel
  Description: A brand new refurbished modern stylish non smoking hotel. 9 miles from Manchester Airport.
  Contact info: Liverpool Street
Manchester, M5 4LT,   UK:England
phone: +44 (0)161 743 0080
  Room amenities: En-suite bathrooms with a full size bath and power shower . Non Smoking. Direct Dial telephone number Tea & coffee making facilities. Climate Control. Cotton Duvets. Hair Dryers. Colour Televisions with 16 channels and pay movies. Telephone. WIFI. Ironing Centre. In Room Safe. Separate hanging closet. 24 hour menu available. Wake up calls. Spy holes & deadlocks on the doors for security & peace of mind. Complimentary toothbrushes, toothpaste, razors or other sundry items available at reception.
  Facility amenities: Restaurant, Loung and bar. Wi-Fi
  Smoking allowed: No
  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

 Royal Oak
Type: Three-Star Hotel
  Description: The Royal Oak Hotel is a picturesque building, which was once a coaching inn. Situated in the centre of the village amidst charming scenery and overlooking the River Llugwy.
  Contact info: Betws-y-Coed.
North Wales.,  LL24 0AY UK:Wales
phone: +44 1690 710219.
  Room amenities: Every room has bathroom/shower en-suite, colour television with sky and direct dial telephone. The Hotel is fully centrally heated throughout. Tea and coffee trays are provided.
  Facility amenities: Carvery restaurant and lounge.
  Smoking allowed: Yes

 Ivy Bush Royal Hotel.
Type: Three-Star Hotel
  Description: Commanding a spectacular position at the gateway to the Golden West, the Ivy Bush Hotel was once a favoured retreat for Lord Nelson and Lady Hamilton.
  Contact info: Spilman Street.
Carmarthenshire.,  SA31 1LG UK:Wales
phone: +44 1267 235111
  Room amenities: Televisions with satellite channels, a hairdryer, ironing centres and hospitality tray. Wireless hotspot throughout.
  Facility amenities: 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:
A light lunch will be served in the Manchester hotel for those arriving by lunchtime. 5:00 PM in the hotel for a welcome meeting. You will be staying at Holiday Inn Manchester West that night.
  End of Program:
Program ends after breakfast which ends at 10:00am. Some departures will leave before breakfast. 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: Train from Manchester Airport as above. Hoppa Bus service from outside hotel to Heathrow Airport terminals.
To Start of Program
  Location:  Manchester
  Nearest city or town:  Manchester.
  Nearest airport:  Manchester.
  Transportation to site: Manchester airport (MAN) Distance: 9.8 miles Taxi Fare: £22.00 Time by Taxi: 24 minutes Time by train: 30 Mins By train: Manchester Piccadilly Distance: 3 miles Taxi Fare: £7.00 Time by Taxi: 10 mins Salford Crescent Distance: 0.05 Taxi Fare: £3.50 Time by Taxi: 2 minutes
  From End of Program
  Location:  London Heathrow
  Nearest city or town:  London.
  Nearest airport:  Heathrow.
  Transportation from site: Hoppa Bus service from outside hotel to Heathrow Airport terminals. Taxis readily available.
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 23)
 Depart From: Overnight flight from North America.

Day 2: Welcome Meeting.
(Wednesday, July 24)
 Arrive To: Arrival and transfer to the hotel.
 Lunch: In the hotel dining room for those arriving by lunchtime.
 Afternoon: Welcome Meeting at 5.00PM.
 Dinner: In the hotel dining room.
 Evening: Free Evening.
Accommodations: Holiday Inn Manchester West
Meals Included: Lunch, Dinner

Day 3: Bodnant Gardens./Conwy Castle/Introductory Talk.
(Thursday, July 25)
 Breakfast: In hotel dining room.
 Morning: This morning transfer by coach to Betws-y-Coed via Bodnant Gardens, one of the finest gardens in the world situated above the River Conway.
 Lunch: Enjoy local fare during lunch at Bodnant Gardens.
 Afternoon: Travel back to medieval times to with a field trip to the imposing Conwy Castle, with a lecture in the field on the Wars of Edward I. Conwy Castle was constructed by the English King Edward between 1283 and 1289 to act as a key fortress in containing the Welsh. The views from the battlements are breathtaking, looking out across mountains and sea and down to the roofless shell of the Great Hall.
 Dinner: In hotel dining room.
 Evening: The Course Director ,Conway Davies, introduces what you will see and discover during the programme.
Accommodations: Royal Oak
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 4: The Historical Landscape./Anglesey
(Friday, July 26)
 Breakfast: Full Welsh breakfast in the hotel dining room.
 Morning: On arrival in Anglesey explore Penmon, where you can see the Romanesque architecture of the island's medieval monastery. Field Trip continues to Beaumaris Village.
 Lunch: Excluded - participants own choice.
 Afternoon: Investigate through two lectures "The Historical Landscape of the Celts" and "The Roman Invasion".
 Dinner: In the hotel dining room.
 Evening: Free evening.
Accommodations: Royal Oak
Meals Included: Breakfast, Dinner

Day 5: Great Orme Copper Mines
(Saturday, July 27)
 Breakfast: Full Welsh breakfast in the hotel dining room.
 Morning: Relax with some free time this morning or take a walk around the picturesque village of Betws-y-Coed.
 Lunch: In the hotel dining room.
 Afternoon: Take a field trip to Great Orme, Llandudno's mountain, on a vehicular tramride and visit to Copper Mines. The Great Orme Tramway has been delighting visitors since it opened on July 31st 1902. An engineering marvel of its age, it's still the only cable-hauled tramway still operating on British public roads
 Dinner: In the hotel dining room.
 Evening: At leisure.
Accommodations: Royal Oak
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 6: Environment, Cultural Heritage and Industrial History./Caernarfon.
(Sunday, July 28)
 Breakfast: Full Welsh breakfast in the hotel dining room.
 Morning: Investigate the cultural heritage and the environment of Wales during a lecture in the hotel before your trip to the National Park of Snowdonia and a ride on the Ffestiniog railway with a lecture in the field on the slate industry.
 Lunch: Packed Lunch
 Afternoon: Take a field trip to the Llanberis Slate Museum and quarry followed by a field trip to the Royal Town of Caernarfon. Caernarfon's royal connections go from ancient Celtic chieftains to the present day, with the investiture in 1969 of Prince Charles as the present Prince of Wales. Examine the role of the King Edward I's impressive medieval fortress, Caernafon Castle, a seat of power and symbol of English dominance over the subdued Welsh. Due to time constraint, we will not visit the castle.
 Dinner: In the hotel.
 Evening: Free evening.
Accommodations: Royal Oak
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 7: Beddgelert./Fishing and Trade./Celtic Churches.
(Monday, July 29)
 Breakfast: Full Welsh breakfast in the hotel dining room.
 Morning: Transfer by coach to Pembrokeshire with an excursion en route to Beddgelert. Beddgelert is named after a local legend and translates to "Gelert's Grave". Continue to the fantasy estate of Portmerion and on to the seaside town of Aberystwyth.
 Lunch: Lunch out in Aberystwyth.
 Afternoon: Learn about the importance of fishing and trade to the community during a lecture in the field at Aberaeron, with its Georgian houses and harbour.
 Dinner: In the hotel dining room.
 Evening: This evening's talk reveals the Celtic history of the area through the inhabitants' religious convictions and introduces you to the architecture and landscape of the Pembrokeshire National Park.
Accommodations: Ivy Bush Royal Hotel.
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 8: Castell Henllys and the Preseli Mountain Range./St David's
(Tuesday, July 30)
 Breakfast: Full Welsh breakfast in the hotel dining room.
 Morning: Explore the archaeology of the region with a field trip to Castell Henllys via the mysterious Preseli mountains where you learn about the Early History of Preseli and Celtic History, before arriving at Castell Henllys. Castell Henllys is the site of a reconstructed Iron Age Hillfort. This ancient and important fortress is under excavation by archaeologists and the "digs" over many years have produced evidence that has made the reconstruction possible.
 Lunch: Lunch out in Newport, Pembrokeshire.
 Afternoon: Today's theme is the importance of early Christianity in the area. The city of St. David's is situated on the far west coast of Wales and is dominated by the 12th century Cathedral. Granted city status because of the cathedral, St. David's is, in reality, a small attractive village.
 Dinner: In the hotel dining room.
 Evening: A local harpist entertains you this evening.
Accommodations: Ivy Bush Royal Hotel.
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 9: Laugharne Town and Castle./Choir and "meet the locals".
(Wednesday, July 31)
 Breakfast: Full Welsh breakfast in the hotel dining room.
 Morning: A free morning at leisure.
 Lunch: Excluded - participants choice.
 Afternoon: Explore Laugharne, perhaps best known for its associations with Dylan Thomas, but for the past 20 years, the picturesque castle has been the subject of painstaking archaeological investigation and gradual restoration. Located at the mouth of the River Taf, the ruinous Welsh coastal fortress was converted into an Elizabethan mansion. Although an exact date for the castle's foundation cannot be established, there was probably a simple enclosure at Laugharne in the 11th century.
 Dinner: In the hotel dining room.
 Evening: Meet and converse with locals and have the opportunity of experiencing a Mixed Voice Choir, synonymous with Wales. Farewell meeting.
Accommodations: Ivy Bush Royal Hotel.
Meals Included: Breakfast, Dinner

Day 10: Caerleon:Fortress of the Legion.
(Thursday, August 1)
 Breakfast: Full Welsh breakfast in the hotel dining room.
 Morning: Leaving Wales you transfer to the Heathrow airport hotel stopping enroute at Caerleon-the site of one of Britain's three Roman Legionary Fortresses and many believe it to be the location of King Arthur's Camelot. The remains of some 75 amphitheatres have been located in widely scattered areas of the Roman Empire. The amphitheatre in Caerleon is the best preserved example in Britain. Known probably since the Middle Ages as King Arthur's Round Table. In 830AD Nennius wrote Historia Brittonum. It included a list of Arthur's battles one of which he located at 'The City Of The Legion'. This could well be Caerleon, which in Welsh means 'The Fortress Of The Legion'.
 Lunch: Packed lunch provided.
 Afternoon: The transfer continues to your Heathrow airport hotel with arrival around 5:00pm..
 Dinner: In the hotel dining room.
 Evening: Free evening.
Accommodations: Radisson Edwardian Heathrow Hotel.
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 11:
(Friday, August 2)
 Depart From: London for transatlantic flights.
 Breakfast: In hotel dining room. Dependent on flight timings, some participants may have to leave prior to breakfast.
 Morning: Transfer to Heathrow Airport Terminals by Hoppabus shuttle service.
Meals Included: Breakfast

Free Time Opportunities
  Manchester Manchester.
Museum of Science and Industry, Manchester Museum, Manchester Art Gallery, the Whitworth Art Gallery, Urbis . Cinemas, theatres, Manchester United Football Club. For additional information, visit
  Betws-y-Coed Betws-y-Coed.
Churches, Conwy Valley Railway Museum, pubs. For additional information, visit
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 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.

Who Speaks for Wales?: Nation, Culture, Identity

Author: Raymond Williams and Daniel Williams (eds)

Description: Who Speaks for Wales? is the first collection of Raymond Williams' writings on Welsh culture, literature, history and politics. It brings together material that has long been overlooked by commentators on his work, and emphasises both the centrality of his Welshness to his work as a whole, and the continuing relevance of his thought for post-devolution Wales. Daniel Williams's introduction offers an original reading of Raymond Williams's career from a Welsh perspective and underlines the ways in which his engagement with Welsh issues makes a significant contribution to contemporary debates on nation, race and class. Who Speaks for Wales? will be essential reading for everyone interested in questions of identity, nationhood and ethnicity in Britain and beyond.

Welsh Castle at War

Author: John Norris

Description: This book gives a vivid and exciting portrayal of how and why castles were raised in Wales after the Norman conquest. Particular focus on their roles in the bloody wars between England and Wales.

History of Wales: Rebirth of a Nation – Wales 1886-1980

Author: K.O.Morgan

Description: A crowning achievement (TLS )This book will serve as a fulcrum of historical debate for a generation. (Gwyn A. Williams, Guardian ) the work of a fine historian and a good writer (The Economist )

A History of Modern Wales 1536-1990

Author: P.Jenkins

Description: Rich in detail but vigorous, authoritative and unsentimental, Modern Wales is a comprehensive and unromanticised examination of Wales as it was and is. It stresses both the long-term continuities in Welsh history, and also the significant regional differences within the principality.

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