Excursion One - Erddig & Chirk Castle
Set in a superb formal garden and landscape park, Erddig is an atmospheric early 18th-century house that reflects the ‘upstairs, downstairs’ life of a gentry family and we’re provided with a fascinating insight into the lives of the family and their servants on our private guided tour. The downstairs rooms are home to a unique collection of servants’ portraits, whilst upstairs there is a wealth of important furniture, textiles and wallpaper.
700-year-old Chirk Castle is the last of Edward Longshanks’ magnificent fortresses still inhabited today. The medieval dungeons and tower are relics of more spartan times, while the Long Gallery and State Rooms are sumptuous by comparison. Outside, the award-winning gardens contain clipped yews, herbaceous borders, shrub and rock gardens.
Excursion Two - Plas Newydd, Bodnant Garden & Betws-y-Coed
Plas Newydd is a fine country house built on the banks of the Menai Strait. Its most famous past resident is the 1st Marquess of Anglesey, who commanded the cavalry at Waterloo in 1815. The elegant interior owes more to the 1930s, thanks to its associations with the artist, socialite and fallen WW2 soldier Rex Whistler. We delve further into the history of the house on ‘The Magnificent Home of the Marquess’ guided tour.
Next we explore Bodnant Garden, nestled in the Snowdonian foothills. Created over 150 years, this world-famous garden is home to National Collections and Champion Trees and boasts sweeping lawns, grand terraces and verdant woodland.
We also make a short stop in the picturesque village of Betws-y-Coed in the Snowdonia National Park. The backdrop of coniferous forests has earned this area the name ‘Little Switzerland’.
Excursion Three - Powis Castle & Llangollen Railway
Beginning life as a medieval fortress, Powis Castle has been remodelled and embellished into a richly decorated Baroque castle over a period of 400 years. The opulent interiors are home to collections of paintings, sculpture, furniture and tapestries added to by successive generations of the Herbert family. Outside, the world-famous garden is overhung with enormous clipped yew trees sheltering an array of rare plants.
We take a trip into yesteryear as we board the Llangollen Railway in the picturesque village of Carrog. Our scenic heritage rail journey winds through the Dee Valley, an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, before finishing in the pretty market town of Llangollen, situated on the River Dee.
Please note: The journey on the Llangollen Railway may not be steam hauled. The railway also runs diesel locomotive trains.