Portmeirion
Portmeirion

Gardens of North Wales

4 days From £595

7 June 2019

Set amongst glorious scenery that includes the mountains of Snowdonia, dramatic seascapes and ancient castles, North Wales is home to some outstanding gardens. One of the best is Plas Cadnant, which 20 years ago was an overgrown, abandoned wilderness of ivy and decrepit fruit trees. Its new owner has brought it back to life and, rather like Heligan in Cornwall, Plas Cadnant has emerged as a gem of a garden, full of interest.

Further highlights include Plas Tan y Bwlch a spectacular Victorian garden nestling in dramatic mountain scenery within the Snowdonia National Park; Bodnant Garden, with a range of beautiful plants from all over the world, and Portmeirion, the eccentric and rather surreal Italianate village which has been enhanced in recent years with improvements made to the gardens.

We will be guided by Tony Russell, former Head Forester at Westonbirt Arboretum, whose expertise and enthusiasm will add greatly to the enjoyment of this holiday.

What's included?

  •  Accommodation
  •  Services of a professional tour manager
  •  Comfortable coach travel throughout
  •  Meals - as per the itinerary

Led by...

Tony Russell

Tony Russell

A former Head Forester at Westonbirt Arboretum, Tony Russell is widely regarded as one of Britain's leading authorities on trees and shrubs, having written 18 books and presented many programmes for both TV and radio.

Book Now £595 Deposit: £100 Single supplement: £195

Tour highlights:

  • The film-set surroundings of Portmeirion
  • Bodnant’s wide range of exotic plants
  • The stately gardens at Powis Castle in the Welsh Marches
  • The majestic mountains of Snowdonia, an ever-changing backdrop

Tour details

Dates 7 June 2019 - 10 June 2019
Duration 4 days
Cost £595 Deposit: £100 Single supplement: £195 Balance due by 15 March 2019
Activity Level Easy-Going
Tour code BWGNW19A

Departure Points

Location Depart Return
London
Tothill St, Westminster
0730 2130
Luton
Luton Parkway Railway Station
0915 2000
Northampton
Railway Station
1015 1900
Birmingham
Victoria Square
1215 1730

Please note all timings are approximate and may be changed. They will be confirmed when the joining instructions are sent out, approximately ten days prior to departure.

Book Now or call 01334 657155 if you have any questions

7 June 2019: Itinerary

We depart by coach from our local departure points and head for Wales, where we visit the gardens at Powis Castle. Influenced by French and Italian styles, this amazing garden is cared for by the National Trust and has some of the most flamboyant and stylish herbaceous planting of any garden in the British Isles, as well as billowing yew topiary and magnificent views over the River Severn and Border countryside. Lunch is available here (not included).

We continue to our comfortable accommodation at the Celtic Royal Hotel, Caernarfon. Dating back to the 18th century and frequented by Queen Victoria, the Celtic Royal Hotel is a historic hostelry which today provides comfortable and spacious accommodation in contemporary style. All rooms have private bathrooms and the hotels also boasts a 16-metre swimming pool with Jacuzzi, sauna and steam room.

Dinner is served in the evening.

Meals include: Dinner

Hotel: The Celtic Royal Hotel, Caernarfon

This morning, after breakfast, we travel to the privately-owned garden of Maenan Hall, a beautiful property on the slopes of the Conwy Valley, with dramatic views of Snowdonia, set amongst mature hardwoods. Both the upper part, with sweeping lawns, ornamental ponds and retaining walls, and the bluebell carpeted woodland dell contain copious specimen shrubs and trees, many originating at Bodnant. Magnolias, rhododendrons, camellias, pieris, cherries and hydrangeas, amongst many others, make for a breath-taking display.

In the afternoon we travel to Colwyn Bay where we visit Bodnant Garden situated above the River Conwy spanning some 80 acres looking across the valley towards Snowdonia. The garden has two parts – the upper garden around Bodnant Hall, which consists of the terraced gardens and informal lawns, and the lower garden – known as the “Dell”, formed by the River Hiraethlyn and containing the wild garden. Bodnant has a range of beautiful plants from all over the world, particularly China, North America, Europe and Japan, which are suited to the Welsh climate and soil. Care has been taken to ensure that they enhance each other and contribute to the general beauty of the garden throughout the seasons. At certain times of year if you are very lucky, you are able to see the stunning Laburnum arch in bloom, which has graced many a postcard and calendar.

Our last visit of the day is to Plas Cadnant, a hidden historic garden which is slowly being uncovered – a Welsh ‘Lost Gardens of Heligan’. Three different gardens have been discovered, including an unusual walled garden with curving walls and a pool, a secret valley garden with three waterfalls and a river, and an upper woodland garden with stone outcrops and the remains of a 19th century folly. Work started on restoring the gardens and grounds in 1997, which was a huge undertaking as large areas had not been maintained for over seventy years. In 1998 the area immediately behind the main house became a ‘herb garden’. The following year the sheltered courtyard between the cottages was planted as a garden. Since then large parts of the gardens have undergone a spectacular transformation and have been restored to their former glory.

We return to the hotel in time for dinner.

Meals include: Breakfast, Dinner

Hotel: The Celtic Royal Hotel, Caernarfon

This morning, after breakfast, we visit Mynydd Heulog, an 18th century stone cottage set in approximately 1 acre of sloping garden with amazing views over the Lleyn and Cardigan Bay. Gradually being developed over 25 years, the garden is now an eclectic mix of mature trees, shrubs, perennials and exotics. Highlights include arches, statues, bridges, summer house and shepherds hut. The garden also boasts a raised vegetable garden together with a small copse of various trees and shrubs.

We then visit Plas yn Rhiw, a delightful manor house with ornamental garden and wonderful views. The house is 16th-century with Georgian additions and was rescued from neglect and lovingly restored by the three Keating sisters, who bought it in 1938. The garden contains many beautiful flowering trees and shrubs, with beds framed by box hedges and grass paths. The views across Cardigan Bay are among the most spectacular in Britain.

We return to our hotel where dinner is served in the evening

Meals include: Breakfast, Dinner

Hotel: The Celtic Royal Hotel, Caernarfon

Following breakfast, we check out of the hotel, and head for Plas Brondanw, at Croesor, Gwynedd. This Italianate garden was created by Sir Clough Williams-Ellis, who inherited the house from his father. On entering the cobbled stables courtyard, the outside world seems to disappear. All you hear is the sound of running water from the “fireboy” fountain, and the bleating of sheep in the nearby fields. Enclosed by clipped yew hedging punctuated by towering columns of Italian cypress, a narrow gap in the green walls is marked by a low panel of elegant ironwork with views beyond that will take your breath away. In the shade by the house, grow billowing white-flowered Japanese anemones, purple aconites, astilbes, hostas and ferns. On the sunny side of the path are crocosmias, buddleja, cistus and Hypericum “Hidcote”. Cordyline australis adds a flavour of the Riviera.

We continue to Portmeirion, the famous Italianate village. Sir Clough Williams-Ellis acquired the site for Portmeirion in 1925 for less than £5,000 as it was then "a neglected wilderness - long abandoned by those romantics who had realised the unique appeal and possibilities of this favoured promontory but who had been carried away by their grandiose landscaping and 'improvement enthusiasm' into sorrowful bankruptcy." Over the course of 50 years the village was developed in a unique and wonderfully eccentric style, while at all times staying in harmony with the natural surroundings. Much work has been carried out in recent years to improve the gardens, enhancing the beauty of the architecture. We will take a walk in 'The Gwyllt', a display woodland where the major concentrations of Rhododendron, Azalea and Camellia were planted, with a wide variety of choice trees. Refreshments (not included) are available in the Portmeirion Hotel, the Town Hall self-service restaurant and Cadwaladers Ice Cream Parlour.

Our final visit is to Plas Tan y Bwlch, a spectacular Victorian garden nestling in dramatic mountain scenery within the Snowdonia National Park. Much of the garden as seen today was originally laid out for William Edward Oakeley by Head Gardener John Roberts in a period lasting from 1879 until 1912. Covering 13 acres, this ‘garden for all seasons’ hosts a magnificent collection of flowering rhododendrons and azaleas in spring and early summer which includes a 120-year-old rhododendron tunnel. Later, shrubs, roses and herbaceous plants growing in the warm south-facing sunny borders are a delight.

We then continue home, where we expect to arrive back at our original departure points in the late evening.

Meals include: Breakfast

7 June 2019: Additional Info

7 June 2019: Accommodation

The Celtic Royal Hotel features a leisure club and free Wi-Fi. The hotel is situated in Caernarfon centre, just a 10-minute walk from Caernarfon Harbour.

The bright and airy bedrooms each have a cosy seating area and a work desk. All rooms feature tea/coffee facilities, a TV and a private bathroom with a hairdryer.

The Celtic Royal Leisure Centre features an indoor heated swimming pool and a fully equipped fitness suite. Guests can relax in the sauna or steam room.

Brasserie Draco serves Mediterranean-style cuisine using fresh, local produce. Summit/Y Copa Bar and Bistro offers creative meals and light snacks, and traditional breakfasts are available daily

7 June 2019: Enquiries

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