loading spinner
England/Wales

Celtic Wales: Snowdonia and Pembrokeshire

Program No. 12185RJ
From Snowdonia in the North to Pembrokeshire in the West, learn the story of Celtic Wales as you explore this ancient land alongside experts.
Length
11 days
Rating (5)
Activity Level
Starts at
3,899
Flights start at
1,000

Your well-being is our #1 priority

To make your experience as safe as possible, we require all participants to be fully vaccinated. See our Safety Roadmap

Enroll with Confidence

We want your Road Scholar learning adventure to be something to look forward to—not worry about. Learn more

Prefer to enroll or inquire by phone? 800-454-5768
airfare
Need airfare?
Our airfare tool can help. Check it out
climate
Plan ahead.
What kind of weather can you expect? Take a look!
Select your type of room
Price will update based on selection
Prices displayed below are based on per person,doubleoccupancy.
DATES & starting prices
PRICES
May 2 - May 12, 2023
Starting at
3,899
May 23 - Jun 2, 2023
Starting at
3,899
Jun 6 - Jun 16, 2023
Starting at
3,899
Aug 1 - Aug 11, 2023
Starting at
3,899
Sep 12 - Sep 22, 2023
Starting at
3,899
May 7 - May 17, 2024
Starting at
3,899
Jun 11 - Jun 21, 2024
Starting at
3,899
Aug 6 - Aug 16, 2024
Starting at
3,899
Sep 17 - Sep 27, 2024
Starting at
3,899
DATES & starting prices
PRICES
May 2 - May 12, 2023
Starting at
4,389
May 23 - Jun 2, 2023
Starting at
4,389
Jun 6 - Jun 16, 2023
Starting at
4,389
Aug 1 - Aug 11, 2023
Starting at
4,389
Sep 12 - Sep 22, 2023
Starting at
4,389
May 7 - May 17, 2024
Starting at
4,389
Jun 11 - Jun 21, 2024
Starting at
4,389
Aug 6 - Aug 16, 2024
Starting at
4,389
Sep 17 - Sep 27, 2024
Starting at
4,389

At a Glance

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.
Activity Level
Keep the Pace
Walking of up to one mile; uneven terrain; city sidewalks.
Small Group
Small Group
Love to learn and explore in a small-group setting? These adventures offer small, personal experiences with groups of 13 to 24 participants.

Best of all, you’ll…

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

General Notes

Select dates are designated for small groups and are limited to 24 participants or less.
Featured Expert
All Experts
Profile Image
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."

Please note: This expert may not be available for every date of this program.

Profile Image of Conway Davies
Conway Davies View biography
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."
Visit the Road Scholar Bookshop
You can find many of the books we recommend at the Road Scholar store on bookshop.org, a website that supports local bookstores.
The Mabinogi and Other Medieval Welsh Tales
by Pat Ford (Translator)
The 30th anniversary edition of Professor Ford's translation of the Celtic classic in readable, modern English.
The British Isles, A History of Four Nations
by Hugh Kearney
The Celts, Romans, Vikings, Normans and modern immigrants all make an appearance in this Canto Classics edition of Kearney's elegant and revisionist history of not just the English but also of the Scots, Welsh and Irish.
Rough Guide Wales
by Mike Parker, Paul Whitfield (Contributor)
A comprehensive guide to Wales in the British series, nicely balanced between practical travel details and an overview of the history and culture.
A History of Wales
by John Davies
A comprehensive, leisurely history of Wales from the earliest times to the late 1980s, rendered in a graceful translation from the original Welsh.
Wales & West Midlands Map
by Ordnance Survey
A handsome locally grown map of Wales and the West Midlands of England at a scale of 1:250,000.
Great Gardens of Britain
by Helena Attlee
A photographic tour through 20 of the finest gardens in Great Britain, ranging from famous 18th-century landscapes such as Stourhead to the rather quirky Garden of Cosmic Speculation.
The Celtic Myths, A Guide to the Ancient Gods and Legends
by Miranda Aldhouse-Green
A vivid introduction to Irish and Welsh folklore. Aldhouse-Green outlines recurring motifs and characters alongside quotes, full-text stories, notes on the region’s archaeological finds and plenty of two-color illustrations.
Wales, An Illustrated History
by Henry Weisser
A clear, objective treatment, this book traces key historic developments, as well as contemporary Welsh issues.
The Hanged Man: A Story of Miracle, Memory, and Colonialism in the Middle Ages
by Robert Bartlett
The story of 14th-century Welsh rebel William Cragh, his miraculous survival after being hanged in the gallows, and Bishop Thomas de Cantilupe, whose prayer many thought saved the doomed Cragh.
The Journey Through Wales and The Description of Wales
by Lewis Thorpe (Translator), Gerald of Wales
A valuable historical account of the Medieval Welsh by Gerald of Wales, who traveled through the countryside in the company of the Archbishop of Canterbury in 1188.
In Search of Wales
by H.V. Morton
The enduring, singular account of Morton's ramblings in romantic, primitive Wales, to him (the classic Englishman) a very strange place. Originally published in the 1930s, this charming book mixes up history with keen observation, leisurely asides and entertaining anecdotes. His books are recently returned to print in handsome paper editions.
Xenophobe's Guide to the Welsh
by John Winterson Richards
This irreverent pocket guide to cultural awareness is both insightful -- and entertaining.
A Writer's House in Wales
by Jan Morris
In this extended essay, Morris uses her much-loved 18th-century house as a point of departure for a meditation on Welsh identity.
Birds of Europe
by Lars Svensson
Featuring 3,500 glorious paintings by Killian Mullarney and Dan Zetterstrom, the second edition of this exquisite guide features updated text and maps.
The Mabinogion
by Jeffrey Gantz (Translator)
These eleven Welsh stories, beautiful in their strangeness, combine fact with fantasy, myth with history and folklore, into one of the great Welsh epics, the only Welsh collection that survived.
Under Milk Wood
by Dylan Thomas
Originally written as a radio play for the BBC, this short work (Dylan's last) concerns the events on a single spring day in a small coastal village in Wales. It's a virtuoso performance showing off Dylan's unsurpassed lyricism, richly evoking the color and fabric of the mythical town of Llareggub (bugger all backwards), populated by all manner of madmen and eccentrics.
Art of the Celts
by Lloyd Robert Laing, Jennifer Laing
A volume in the acclaimed "World of Art" series, this is a broad introduction to Celtic art, from the 5th century B.C. to 1200 A.D.
A Morbid Taste for Bones
by Ellis Peters
In this historical mystery, 11th century monk and head of Shrewsbury Abbey Brother Cadfael travels to a small Welsh village to retrieve the relics of St. Winifred. A murder ensues and Cadfael must investigate.
The Last of the Celts
by Marcus Tanner
Welsh journalist Tanner mixes anecdote, interview and research in this lively account of encounters with far-flung Celts from Scotland, Wales and Belfast to Brittany, Cape Breton, Nova Scotia and Trelew.
A Concise History of Wales
by Geraint H. Jenkins
This brief, authoritative history of Wales and Welsh identity from prehistory to the present is by Garaint Jenkins, longtime director of the University of Wales Centre for Advanced Welsh & Celtic Studies.
Life in A Medieval Castle
by Francis Gies
From lord to servant, this illustrated book describes the daily life of the inhabitants at Chepstow Castle in Wales in the 13th century.
Print All
Map details are not available for this location.
View Map
Expand All
11 days
10 nights
25 meals
9 B 7 L 9 D
DAY
1
In Transit to Program
In Flight
DAY
2
Arrive Manchester, Check-in, Orientation, Welcome Dinner
Manchester
L,D
Crowne Plaza Manchester Airport

Activity note: Hotel check-in available from 2:00 p.m.

Lunch: In the hotel dining room for those arriving by lunchtime. A light lunch with coffee, tea, water included; other beverages available for purchase.

Afternoon: Orientation, 5:00 p.m.: The Group Leader will greet everyone and lead introductions. We will review the up-to-date program schedule, discuss roles and responsibilities, logistics, safety guidelines, emergency procedures, and answer questions. This program is staffed with both a Group Leader, who will accompany us throughout the program and deal primarily with logistics, and a Study Leader who will lecture, conduct field trips unless otherwise noted, and serve as an information resource on program-related topics. Periods in the schedule designated as “Free time” and “At leisure” offer opportunities to do what you like and make your experience even more meaningful and memorable according to your personal preferences. The Group Leader will be happy to offer suggestions. Program activities, schedules, personnel, and indicated distances or times may change due to local circumstances/conditions. In the event of changes, we will alert you as quickly as possible. Thank you for your understanding.

Dinner: At the hotel, we’ll have a 3-course plated and served meal with coffee, tea, water included; other beverages available for purchase.

Evening: At leisure to relax and prepare for the program ahead.

DAY
3
Transfer to Betws-y-Coed, Bodnant Gardens, Conwy Castle
Betws-y-Coed
B,L,D
Royal Oak

Activity note: Getting on/off a motorcoach; driving about 100 miles, approximately 3 hours. Walking about 2.5 miles, periods of standing; varied terrain including paved streets, flagstone paths, grass lawns; steps without handrails to some areas at Bodnant Garden and Conwy Castle.

Breakfast: At the hotel, the breakfast buffet includes a wide range of hot and cold choices, as well as coffee, tea, water, and fruit juices.

Morning: After checking out of the hotel, we’ll board a motorcoach to begin our transfer to Betws-y-Coed. We’ll stop with our Study Leader for a field trip to Bodnant Garden, situated above the River Conwy and considered one of the finest gardens in the world. The garden at Bodnant was established in 1874 after the estate was purchased by scientist and industrialist Henry Pochin, and soon became filled with rare flora collected from around the world by Victorian plant-hunters — including the first magnolias in Britain.

Lunch: At Bodnant Gardens, we’ll have a light lunch with coffee, tea, water included; other beverages available for purchase.

Afternoon: We’ll continue by motorcoach alongside the River Conwy, to travel back to medieval times with a field trip to the imposing Conwy Castle. We’ll gain some historical background from an informative talk by our Study Leader about the wars of Edward I, before exploring the castle. Conwy Castle was constructed by Edward between 1283 and 1289 to act as a key fortress in containing the rebellious Welsh. The views from the battlements are breathtaking, looking out across mountains and sea and down to the roofless shell of the Great Hall. We’ll then return to the hotel.

Dinner: Hotel plated meal.

Evening: At the hotel, we’ll gather for a lecture by our Study Leader introducing what we will discover over the next eight days.

DAY
4
Landscapes, Copper Mines
Betws-y-Coed
B,D
Royal Oak

Activity note: Getting on/off a motorcoach; driving about 40 miles, approximately 1.5 hours. Walking about 1.5 miles, periods of standing; paved streets, gravel and grass paths with some uneven rocky areas.

Breakfast: At the hotel, the breakfast buffet includes a wide range of hot and cold choices, as well as coffee, tea, water and fruit juices.

Morning: We’ll board the motorcoach for a field trip to Great Orme, Llandudno’s mountain, where we’ll take a beautiful vehicular tram ride. The Great Orme Tramway has been operating since 1902 and was considered an engineering marvel of its age — it is still the only cable-hauled tramway operating on British public roads. We’ll follow this experience with a visit to Great Orme Copper Mines, a Neolithic mine originally abandoned circa 600 BCE.

Lunch: This meal has been excluded from the program cost and is on your own to enjoy what you like. The Group Leader will be happy to offer suggestions.

Afternoon: We’ll return by motorcoach to the hotel, where we’ll attend two lectures by our Study Leader: the first on the historical landscape during the Celtic period, and the second on the Roman invasion.

Dinner: Hotel plated meal.

Evening: At leisure. The Group Leader will be happy to offer suggestions should you wish to further explore the local area.

DAY
5
Free Time, The Isle of Anglesey
Betws-y-Coed
B,L,D
Royal Oak

Activity note: Getting on/off a motorcoach; driving about 65 miles, approximately 2.5 hours. Walking about 2 miles, periods of standing; paved streets, some cobblestones, grass lawns with some uneven areas; steps to some areas at monastery and castle. Extent of walking and other activities during free time according to personal choice.

Breakfast: Hotel buffet.

Morning: Free time. This block of time has been set aside for your personal independent exploration to see and do what interests you most. Please refer to the list of Free Time Opportunities. The Group Leader will be happy to offer suggestions.

Lunch: At the hotel, we’ll have a 2-course plated and served meal with coffee, tea, water included; other beverages available for purchase.

Afternoon: We’ll board the motorcoach for a field trip to the ancient island of Anglesey. Here we’ll explore Penmon, where we’ll see the Romanesque architecture of the island’s medieval monastery, before continuing onwards to Beaumaris to explore the town and its castle. We’ll be sure to keep our eyes out for the tongue-twisting town of Llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwyrndrobwllllantysiliogogogoch, the second longest place name in the world! We'll then return to the hotel by motorcoach.

Dinner: Hotel plated meal.

Evening: At leisure.

DAY
6
Environment, Cultural Heritage, Industrial History
Betws-y-Coed
B,L,D
Royal Oak

Activity note: Getting on/off a motorcoach and train; driving about 55 miles, approximately 2.5 hours; train journey about 15 miles, approximately 1 hour. Walking about 2 miles, periods of standing; paved streets, some cobblestones, gravel, and flagstone paths.

Breakfast: Hotel buffet.

Morning: At the hotel, we’ll investigate the cultural heritage and environment of Wales during a lecture by our Study Leader. We’ll then board the motorcoach for a field trip to Snowdonia National Park, where we’ll take a ride on the historic narrow-gauge Ffestiniog railway, originally built to transport slate from mines to the coast.

Lunch: We’ll have packed lunches including sandwiches, fruit, and a drink.

Afternoon: We’ll enjoy a lecture in the field on the Welsh slate industry at Llanberis Slate Museum and quarry, followed by a field trip to the Royal Town of Caernarfon. Caernarfon’s royal connections extend from ancient Celtic chieftains to the present day, as evidenced by the 1969 investiture of Prince Charles as the Prince of Wales at the castle. We’ll examine the role of King Edward I’s impressive medieval fortress, Caernarfon Castle, a seat of power and a symbol of English dominance over the subdued Welsh, which we will view from the exterior. We’ll return to the hotel by motorcoach.

Dinner: Hotel plated meal.

Evening: At leisure.

DAY
7
Transfer to Lamphey, Beddgelert, National Library of Wales
Lamphey
B,L,D
Best Western Lamphey Court Hotel and Spa

Activity note: Getting on/off a motorcoach; driving about 155 miles, approximately 5 hours. Walking about 2.5 miles, periods of standing; paved streets with some cobblestones, gravel paths.

Breakfast: Hotel buffet.

Morning: We’ll check out of the hotel and board the motorcoach to begin our transfer to Lamphey. Our first stop along the way will be the village of Beddgelert, a place steeped in folklore at the confluence of two rivers. We’ll hear the tale of the legendary dog for which Beddgelert is named as we walk through the village with our Study Leader. From there, we’ll proceed to Machynlleth, where our Study Leader will explain this small market town’s history of rebellion. It was here that in 1404, Owain Glyndwr held his parliament after being crowned Prince of Wales during the Welsh Revolt. We’ll continue to the National Library of Wales, in Aberystwyth for lunch, followed by an expert-led exploration.

Lunch: At the National Library of Wales, we’ll have a buffet lunch with coffee, tea, water included; other beverages available for purchase.

Afternoon: We’ll take an expert-led look at the National Library of Wales, the largest library in the country, to learn more about its mission to foster research into Welsh literature, culture, and language through its significant collections. We’ll continue our transfer via Aberaeron, with its Georgian houses and harbor, where we’ll learn about the importance of fishing and trade to the local community during a field-based lecture. When we arrive at the hotel, we’ll check in and have some free time to relax and unpack before dinner.

Dinner: At the hotel, we’ll have a 3-course plated and served meal with coffee, tea, water included; other beverages available for purchase.

Evening: At leisure.

DAY
8
Castell Henllys, The Preseli Mountains, St. David’s
Lamphey
B,L,D
Best Western Lamphey Court Hotel and Spa

Activity note: Getting on/off a motorcoach; driving about 90 miles, approximately 3.5 hours. Walking about 2.5 miles, periods of standing; paved streets with some cobblestones, grass, and gravel paths.

Breakfast: At the hotel, the breakfast buffet includes a wide range of hot and cold choices, as well as coffee, tea, water, and fruit juices.

Morning: Today, we’ll explore the archaeology of the region with a field trip by motorcoach to Castell Henllys via the mysterious Preseli Mountains, where we’ll learn about the early history of the area during a lecture in the field by our Study Leader. Arriving at Castell Henllys, we’ll find an ancient and important Iron Age hill fort currently under excavation by archaeologists and home to some accurate reconstructions of Iron Age dwellings. At Castell Henllys, we’ll hear a lecture on Celtic history by our Study Leader, and explore the fort with an archaeologist.

Lunch: We’ll have a 2-course plated pub lunch in the Pembrokeshire town of Newport, with coffee, tea, water included; other beverages available for purchase.

Afternoon: We’ll explore the themes of ancient Wales and early Christianity in greater depth as we continue by motorcoach to Britain’s smallest city, St. David’s. Situated on the far west coast of Wales and dominated by its 12th-century cathedral, it was granted city status due to the cathedral but is, in reality, a small and attractive village. We’ll return to the hotel by motorcoach.

Dinner: Hotel plated meal.

Evening: At the hotel, we’ll enjoy a performance by a local harpist.

DAY
9
Laugharne, Locals, Mixed Voice Choir
Lamphey
B,D
Best Western Lamphey Court Hotel and Spa

Activity note: Getting on/off a motorcoach; driving about 70 miles, approximately 2 hours. Walking about 1.5 miles, periods of standing; paved streets, some cobblestones. Extent of walking and other activities during free time according to personal choice.

Breakfast: Hotel buffet.

Morning: We’ll board the motorcoach and travel to Cardigan, a coastal town that grew around a Norman castle in the 12th century and was an important port in the 18th and 19th centuries. We’ll have some time for independent exploration in Cardigan, and continue by motorcoach to Carmarthen, which, until the industrial revolution, was the largest borough in Wales. Here we’ll learn about the importance of the Welsh wool industry in an expert-led exploration of the Dre-fach Felindre Woollen Mill.

Lunch: On your own to enjoy what you like in Carmarthen.

Afternoon: We’ll have some free time for independent exploration in Carmarthen, then board the motorcoach and ride to Laugharne — a town perhaps best known for its associations with Dylan Thomas.

Dinner: At a local eatery in Laugharne we’ll have a three-course plated and served meal with coffee, tea, water included; other beverages available for purchase.

Evening: In Laugharne, we’ll meet and converse with locals, and have the opportunity of experiencing one of the true joys of Welsh culture — a mixed voice choir — during an evening of farewells to this beautiful country. We will then return to the hotel.

DAY
10
Transfer to Heathrow, Museum of Welsh Life
London Heathrow
B,L,D
Radisson Blu Edwardian Heathrow Hotel

Activity note: Getting on/off a motorcoach; driving about 235 miles, approximately 5 hours. Walking about 1.5 miles, periods of standing; paved, gravel, and woodland paths.

Breakfast: Hotel buffet.

Morning: We’ll check out of the hotel and board a motorcoach to begin our transfer to London Heathrow. We’ll stop en route at the St Fagans National Museum of History, also known as the Museum of Welsh Life, where we’ll have some time for independent exploration after an introduction by our Study Leader. This open-air museum brings together more than 30 historic buildings from across Wales, reconstructed on a 100-acre site near Cardiff after being considered at risk of demolition or decay in their original locations. These include a 13th-century church, terraced houses from a mining community, farmhouses, rural cottages and craft workshops, and a Cardiff pub recreated as it would have been seen in 1915. There are also experimental reconstructions of prehistoric roundhouses, and an indoor museum.

Lunch: We will enjoy a packed lunch of sandwiches, fruit, and a drink during our transfer.

Afternoon: We’ll continue our transfer to London Heathrow. Upon arrival at the hotel, we’ll check in and have some free time to relax before dinner.

Dinner: At the hotel, we’ll have a 3-course plated and served farewell meal with coffee, tea, water included; other beverages available for purchase. Share favorite experiences with new Road Scholar friends.

Evening: At leisure. Prepare for check-out and departure in the morning.

DAY
11
Program Concludes
London Heathrow
B

Activity note: Hotel check-out by 11:00 a.m.

Breakfast: In the hotel depending on departure times. This concludes our program.

Morning: If you are returning home, safe travels. If you are staying on independently, have a wonderful time. If you are transferring to another Road Scholar program, detailed instructions are included in your Information Packet for that program. We hope you enjoy Road Scholar learning adventures and look forward to having you on another rewarding program in the future. Don’t forget to join our Facebook page and follow us on Instagram. Best wishes for all your journeys!






Important registration tip:
If you want to attend the live lecture, please do not wait until the last minute to enroll.
If you enroll after a lecture is complete, we’ll send you a recording of the event.