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Picture of Hiking Wales
Picture of Hiking Wales

Hiking Wales

Destination: Cardiff, Wales

Discover the essence of Wales on our hiking trip to all three of Wales' National Parks. Although a small country, it is second to none in its fascinating history, varied and stunning topography, and a warm and welcoming tradition of hospitality, and our hiking trip is a perfect mixture of hiking in stunning landscapes, interwoven with cultural encounters and experiences. We begin our adventure in the vibrant capital city of Cardiff before heading off to the wild windswept escarpments of the Brecon Beacons National Park. Then it's on to the coast of Pembrokeshire, widely regarded as the spiritual heartland of Wales. Finally we head North to the rugged mountains of Snowdonia, a stronghold of Welsh culture. Castles and fortresses dot the landscape, a reflection of its turbulent history. And while a part of Great Britain, Welsh culture has survived largely intact, as demonstrated by the bilingualism we'll find everywhere. Croeso I Gymru!

Highlights

  • Hiking in Wales three National Parks: Brecon Beacons, Pembrokeshire, and Snowdon
  • Going to the top of Mt Snowdon by historic train.
  • Visiting some of Wales' famous historical castles, churches, and ruins
  • Learning about Welsh culture and its tumultuous history

Departures and Prices

August 30 to September 09, 2020
$3475.00 - Available
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Inclusions

  • A local Welsh guide and an AGC guide (If there are fewer than 8 on the trip, there will not be an AGC guide)
  • Ten nights double occupancy lodging
  • All meals including beverages from dinner on September 1 to breakfast on September 11 except for one lunch and dinner
  • Ground transportation in Wales, including airport transfer on the last day
  • All activities on the itinerary,

Not included: Travel to and from Wales, transportation to the hotel on day 1, one lunch and dinner, alcoholic beverages, guide gratuities, optional activities, and travel insurance.

Details

This trip is for women who have some experience hiking and want to combine hiking with immersion in the history and culture of the area. We spend 3-6 hours hiking on most days at elevations ranging from sea level to 3560' (Mt. Snowdon is the highest elevation, ascent is by historic train). Hiking in Wales is quite varied from good mountain footpaths to uneven ground. Rating: 1 2 [3] 4 5 . A rating of 3 requires aerobic conditioning for a minimum of 30 - 45 minutes 3 to 4 days a week.

On this trip we combine hiking in Wales' three very different National Parks with learning about its history and culture. In addition to hiking we'll visit two of Wales most famous castles, visit a farm and have sheepdog demonstration, have a home-hosted dinner, and visit St Davids, one of the highlights of any Welsh visit.

We'll be staying in locally owned inns and lodges, in double occupancy rooms with en suite bathrooms. Please note: Not all lodgings have elevators (lifts). It is essential that you following the packing list closely, pack light and be able to handle your own luggage, including carrying up multiple stairs.

Below is the proposed itinerary for the trip. As is true on any adventure travel trip, plans for any specific day may be modified due to weather considerations, unforeseen circumstances, new opportunities, and group interests.

DAY 1
Arrive Cardiff any time before 4 pm today. We'll gather at our hotel at 4:30pm for welcome and introductions, followed by a trip orientation. Our Welsh guide will then take us on a brief walking tour of Cardiff on our way to dinner. Those of us who just arrived will undoubtedly be jetlagged so we'll make sure we get to bed early. Overnight Jurys Inn or similar
DAY 2
From Cardiff, we will drive for about an hour through the South Wales Valleys. This area once fueled the Industrial Revolution with her coal, leaving behind only scars in the mountainside and the faded glory of the architecture to remind us. Leaving the coal valleys behind, we enter Brecon Beacons National Park, the first of 3 National Park on our adventure. Our first walk will be along the tranquil Brecon and Monmouthshire canal. In the past, horses pulled the barges and we will follow their trail along the ancient towpath. By its very nature this is level walking and a superb walk for our first day. The pace is slow, allowing us to ease into the rhythms of rural Wales and enjoy our first lunch in a cozy pub. Hiking: 5 miles, 120 feet elevation gain Overnight Abergavenny at Angel Hotel at Abergavenny (2 nights)
DAY 3
Now that we've recovered from jet lag, we're ready for some more serious hiking. After picking up a picnic lunch from the local bakery, we set off from our hotel along the Offa's Dyke footpath. This is one of Wales' National trails. Offa was a 9th century Saxon king who built a stone and earth barrier to delineate his kingdom from that of the troublesome Celts in the west. Our walk will take us from the lush Wye valley up onto the wild and windswept tops of the Black mountains, where we climb to the top of Hay Bluff (2220 feet). This is border country; the views here stretch out over and beyond Wales, to the English counties of Herford and Gloucestershire. Our bus will pick us up at Gospel pass and drive us down to the romantic ruins of LLananthony Abbey. Rebuilt in the 13th century, what stands today are the picturesque remains. Hiking: 5 miles, 2000 feet elevation gain. Overnight: Angel Hotel in Abergavenny.
DAY 4
Our scenic drive will take us over the north side of the Brecon Beacons National Park, west toward Pembrokeshire. We will stop briefly in the ancient and old-fashioned Drover town of Landovery, home to a memorial to the welsh drovers. Our hike today is an undulating circuit following footpaths around and up to Carreg Cennen Castle, a striking 12th century fortress that changed hands many times between the English and Welsh and is arguably the most romantic castle in Wales. Whether or not you agree, a visit to this dramatic fortress is a must and the climb up to it is well worth it. Finishing our hike we continue the last leg of our journey to the brightly colored seaside town of Tenby and our beautifully located family-run hotel, an older but classic 'by the seaside' lodging with that great historic Wales atmosphere. Following dinner at the hotel, we’ll complete our day with a twilight walk with resident storyteller, Marion Davies. Hiking: 5.5 miles, 1,000 feet elevation gain. Overnight Tenby at Fourcroft Hotel (3 nights)
DAY 5
National Geographic magazine called Pembrokeshire the world's second best coastal destination. We'll hike today on the All Wales Coast Path, with spectacular cliff top views. We'll keep our eyes open for gannets fishing and playful choughs catching the updrafts. Barafundle Bay is surely one of the loveliest beaches in the world and an inviting place for a swim. You might think coastal paths are flat and easy hiking, but you would be wrong, and a break at the Boat House tearoom at Stack pole quay to sample the local wares will be most welcome.

We then continue onwards to the freshwater Bosherton Lakes, famous for their lilies and resident otters. This landscape, designed by the Cawdor family as a setting for their country house, is a lovely contrast to the dramatic clifftops. Today the main house is gone, but the estate is an internationally important nature reserve and a listed designed landscape. Our coach will then take us back to Tenby for dinner. Hiking: 8 - 10 miles. Overnight: Fourcroft Hotel in Tenby
DAY 6
Today we are heading to the spiritual center of Wales and the birthplace of its patron saint, St David. According to tradition, David was born in a lightning storm on the headland, less than a mile away from where the village's cathedral stands today. Tucked away on a river and out of sight from marauding Vikings, the cathedral became one of the most important shrines of medieval Christendom, when two pilgrimages to St. David's was equal to one to Rome. Inside we will see St. David's shrine, as well as the sarcophagus of Edmund Tudur, Henry VII's father. After lunch on your own with some time to explore the village, in the afternoon we'll walk another section of the Wales Coast Path. We'll go from St David's to St. Non's Bay, where David was born, and then to Porthclais before returning to St David on another path. Before driving back to Tenby, we might call in at Solva Woollen Mill, Pembrokeshire's oldest working woolen mill. Overnight: Fourcroft Hotel in Tenby
DAY 7
We get an early start today as we bid farewell to Tenby and head towards North Wales. This will be our longest drive (about 5 - 6 hours of driving) and we'll break our journey along the way. Although farmers are notoriously difficult to pin down in advance, our plan is to stretch our legs with a visit to a farm and a chance to watch sheepdogs work. We'll then continue to Snowdonia National Park. This was Wales' first National Park and home to its highest mountain and largest lake. Its rugged landscape is a complete contrast with everything we've seen previously. Overnight Caernarfon at Celtic Royal Inn (4 nights)
DAY 8
The village of Beddgelert is blessed: it lies on the confluence of two mountain rivers and is surrounded by wooded hills in the heart of the Snowdonia National Park. The quarrymen's cottages that make up the village are prettily decorated with window boxes, and the village often wins prizes for its joyful floral displays. We set off on the banks of the river Glaslyn. Our first stop is at 'Gelert's Grave'. Gelert was a brave legendary dog, from which the village takes its name. Wales is a land of myth and legend, and there are still a few to tell today.
The river gathers speed as it narrows into a gorge, and we will negotiate the fisherman's path. We will soon turn up into a secret valley, with contrasting landscape. The mountain views will be amazing today (weather permitting): Cnicht (The Welsh Matterhorn), Snowdon, and Dinas Emrys, where legend has it the Welsh Red Dragon fought the English White Dragon and reigned supreme. DInner is on your own tonight so you'll have time to explore the town. Overnight: Celtic Royal Inn in Caernarfon.
DAY 9
In just a fifteen-minute drive to Llanberis we are at the foot of Snowdon. Snowdon, or Yr Wyddfa in Welsh, is the highest mountain south of the Scottish highlands. At 3560 feet, it is not high in terms of mountains of the world, but it is still one cracker of a mountain. Shaped by glaciers, this majestic mountain is reminiscent of a starfish from above, with magnificent ridges radiating from the central pyramidal peak.
We have several choices today: you may choose to ride up and back to the summit on the historic Snowdon mountain railway; ride up and then walk back down; or, if you're looking for a challenge, hike to the summit and back. In addition to your energy level, the weather is also an important factor. Whatever option you decide on, we will all undoubtedly have earned a pint-sized mug of tea at the famous climber's cafe, Pete's Eats. Or perhaps a pint of something stronger at The Heights pub! Tonight we'll enjoy a home-hosted dinner with a local Welsh family in the comfort of their home. Hiking: 4.5 miles up and 4.5 miles down, 3024 feet elevation gain/loss Overnight: Celtic Royal Inn in Caernarfon.
DAY 10
After our hearty Scottish breakfast we drive to the magnificent seaside town of Conwy, known for its UNESCO designated medieval castles and churches and particularly for Conwy Castle. We'll have a guided tour of it, and then head to the village of LLanafairfechan for the start of our hike. On our hike we will stop for lunch at the mountain farm of Rhian Jones, known for her artistic Blacksmith work. As well as stunning coastal scenery and perhaps even views of the Isle of Man on a clear day, this upland hike over heathery moorlands offers up a wealth of archaeology, from stone circles to Iron Age forts. Hiking 10 miles, 960 feet elevation gain

Tonight we share one final farewell dinner at the charming Royal Welsh Yacht Club, in the heart of Caernarfon. It's a fitting end to our time in this most amazing country. Overnight: Celtic Royal Inn in Caernarfon.
DAY 11
After breakfast, it's unfortunately time to leave. We'll arrive first at the Bangor railway station at 9:30 and then continue on to Manchester airport, arriving approximately 11:30 am for flights or connections to other trains. Hwyl fawr!

*These are the unfiltered reviews of women who have been on this trip in answer to the question "Did this trip meet your expectations?". We take reviews very seriously and often tweak itineraries based on feedback. Please feel free to contact us about any questions you have.

walking along the headland beyond St.David's; all the ancient holy sites; history

Hiking Wales 9/1/2019-9/11/2019


Highlights. Scenery, guides, hikes.

Hiking Wales 9/1/2019-9/11/2019


My expectations were for more hiking. Nonetheless I thoroughly enjoyed the blend of history, culture, food, and hiking. A wonderful adventure!

Hiking Wales 9/1/2019-9/11/2019


Highlights were all of it with a particular emphasis on coastal trail. The day at the beach and the ruggedness of the north.

Hiking Wales 9/1/2019-9/11/2019


visiting the organic farm and having lunch in the clover on the mountaintop; watching Ben herd sheep; lunch at Rhian's; the coastal walks; Tenby Men's Choir; Joel's outstanding skills in working with people and his EXCELLENT driving made me feel safe at all times (I wish all of your trips had a hired professional driver rather than the guides having to take care of that). a great group of women; having Donna as our Welsh guide really added so much flavor, history, and humor to the trip

Hiking Wales 9/1/2019-9/11/2019


It was a well planned, perfectly paced trip. This was my first all women's trip and I found it to be good energy and lots of fun. My goal was to see Wales, I got to see even more than I had anticipated.

Hiking Wales 9/1/2019-9/11/2019


Difficult to focus on a few specifics as the entire trip provided the opportunity to learn and experience another country/culture while having the best guides (local and AGC) possible. I thoroughly enjoyed the mix of "walking" and visiting historic sites, the farm had a positive impact on me as well as being in such beautiful ancient places to walk. Our accommodations were comfortable and food incredible.

Hiking Wales 9/1/2019-9/11/2019


Great local guides along with Jan Latham. Really knew the local culture and urban legends of the area.

Hiking Wales 9/1/2019-9/11/2019


Every day was a new adventure. Learning the history and tales/stories from Donna, and learning some Welsh. Elevenes! Each park had their own breathtaking views. Our driver, Joel, was so very helpful and gracious.

Hiking Wales 9/1/2019-9/11/2019


Trip leaders, mixture of hiking and culture/history

Hiking Wales 9/1/2019-9/11/2019


One of the highlights for me was attending the Tenby Male Voice Choir recital at the local church - unexpected (not on itinerary) and utterly delightful. Another highlight was the afternoon we spent at a sheep farm, visiting with the farmer and his family. A culinary highlight was eating an Oggie (Welsh pastry filled with minced lamb and onion) from a street vendor in the town of St. David's. I think the trip covered a lot of territory, which was great, but I also felt that we were rushed a bit at times trying to fit too many activities into each day. More time in St. David's would be a recommendation and more time in Conwy. We had to choose between seeing the castle and a refurbished Elizabethan home and I would like to have seen both.

Hiking Wales 9/9/2018-9/19/2018


Loved the sheep dog demonstration and picnic on top of the hills even though it was a very misty day! Castle explorations and explanations! Having picnics where ever! Hiking among sheep. The green patchwork quilt pastures. Coastal Trail Unexpected sheep herds heading our ways. Climbing styles! Opportunity to hear men's Welsh choir in Tenby. The group of women was wonderful!

Hiking Wales 9/9/2018-9/19/2018


The local guides are fabulous and it is so nice to see and do things that differ from what you would do on an ordinary trip because of their knowledge.

Hiking Wales 9/9/2018-9/19/2018


Hiking, food

Hiking Wales 9/9/2018-9/19/2018


Wales is an exceptionally striking country, the landscape breathtaking especially along the coast path. I loved that we were able to hear the Men's Welsh Choir in Tenby. It was not on the agenda but an ad I saw while walking through town. Donna changed our dinner reservation for that evening so we could attend.

Hiking Wales 9/9/2018-9/19/2018


The guides were wonderful. I loved the steady commentary that Donna provided while traveling in the bus. Eve was delightful and Mandy was so much fun. All three of them made the trip, as well as our fabulous driver Joel. Not to mention the itinerary......I loved visiting the farm, listening to the men's choir, the hotels were awesome, the food great. The dinner with Alicia was delicious and fun. I can't say anything negative about any aspect of the trip.

Hiking Wales 9/9/2018-9/19/2018


Swim in Irish Sea, coastal path and views, guides enthusiasm and knowlege, organic farm visit, conversations

Hiking Wales 9/9/2018-9/19/2018


I had googled trail images of the Brecon Beacons and we did not of that. we were hiking through farmers fields. same for the last day in Snowdonia. I have been told that there are several days on the Swiss Alps tour that is the same so I am rethinking signing up for that one. A lot of the meals were pre ordered from menus so we had no way of asking about preparation to take into account allergies. I did really like the hosted meals. that was fantastic opportunity to meet local people and find out about their life.

Hiking Wales 9/9/2018-9/19/2018


Trip to the organic sheep farm was great and so informative. Loved the hiking, nice variety.

Hiking Wales 9/10/2017-9/20/2017


I would give the trip a 3/4. Highlights: Wales, the hiking, the Tenby men's choir, visit to the organic farm. Beautiful country side with lovely, friendly people. Low points: the first two days seemed a little short on hikes (frequent bathroom stops, stops at visitor centres to shop) - not what I was expecting.

Hiking Wales 9/10/2017-9/20/2017


DISLIKED: Never Hike Mt Snowden on a Sunday! Solva Woolen Mill not worth the tiime. Tenby "Ghost Walk" not worth it. Strange Dinner at Welsh Royal Yacht Club--Small Plates. LIKED: Canal Walk. Hay on Wye Shopping. Pembrokeshire Coastal Path. St. Davids. Organic Sheep Farm.Fishermans Path. Rhian Jones. Lunch. Home Hosted Dinner.

Hiking Wales 9/10/2017-9/20/2017


Highlights were of course Wales, and the local guides and the AGC guide. My previous experience with AGC was not stellar, but I was assured that it was not typical. It wasn't. Everything was very well coordinated and communicated.

Hiking Wales 9/10/2017-9/20/2017


The guides were excellent - as always :) The variety of hikes were amazing. The landscape in Wales is so diverse. The hotels were outstanding - especially the staff in Tenby and Abergenney. They could not have been more courteous or helpful. Carreg Cennen and the days on the Coast Path were especially meaningful for me, revisiting the places I saw in '98 which called me back to Wales. Loved visiting Rhiann Jones and the sheep farm. Good choices. The only two "complaints" I had - and you're probably hearing the same from others - is #1 not to do Snowdon on a weekend. The mobs were numbing, especially because we were usually in bucolic and remote places.. #2 either take some things out or add a "down" day - probably in Conwy. Twice, there was just not enough time to do everything on the itinerary. And the choices on the itinerary were great but most days, the hikes could have stood alone.

Hiking Wales 9/10/2017-9/20/2017


the hikes chosen were terrific, and the guides were knowledgeable, kind and generous. I esp loved the coastal and mountain hikes, and the sheep farm.

Hiking Wales 9/10/2017-9/20/2017


Beautiful scenery. Personal challenge. Great traveling companions My personal accomplishment and highlight was my successful maneuvering of the gorge trail in northern Wales.

Hiking Wales 9/10/2017-9/20/2017


  1. Where do we eat?

    Breakfasts will be buffets at the hotels where we're staying. Dinner is in restaurants; sometimes you'll order off the menu, other times you'll have a choice of vegetarian or non-vegetarian entree. Lunches may either be picnics or in restaurants.
  2. What dietary preferences or restrictions can you accommodate on this trip?

    If we know well in advance, we can accommodate vegetarian, lactose-free, and gluten-sensitive diets. We cannot guarantee a completely gluten-free diet and we cannot provide a kitchen guaranteed to be free of cross-contamination. If you are vegan, we ask that you bring some additional protein bars; and if you are gluten-sensitive, please bring some gluten-free snacks. If you have severe allergies, Celiac disease and/or other significant dietary restrictions, please call the office before you register.
  3. I will be coming by myself. Do I need to pay a single supplement?

    You only need to pay a single supplement if you want to guarantee you have your own room. Otherwise we’ll pair you up with someone and then switch roommates every time we switch lodging.
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