Join our Wales tours from London and discover the best of this special nation. Travel in a small-group on a comfortable minibus, in the company of a knowledgable driver-guide. Absorb stunning scenery in National Parks, discover Welsh industrial history, visit the most iconic castles and spend time in the capital city Cardiff…
Absorb spectacular scenery in all three of Wales’ National Parks: Snowdonia, Pembrokeshire Coast & Brecon Beacons.
Explore the history of some of the finest fortresses in Wales including Harlech Castle, Pembroke Castle & Chepstow Castle.
Spend time in Wales’ two most iconic cities: the captial Cardiff, and the home of the Welsh patron saint, St Davids.
Occupied by humans for nearly 30,000 years, Wales has seen continuous habitation since the last ice-age ten-thousand years ago. Little is known about the earliest occupiers, but activity can be traced to the Neolithic period, with stone structures and tools found. The population increased with the arrival of the first Celts in Britain around 600bc and this group became dominant in Wales, establishing communities, social structures and even their own Welsh language. But Celtic control ended when the Romans invaded Britain and took charge across England and Wales.
However, with the departure of the Romans in the 5th century due to their collapsing empire, new realms started to form. Britain was invaded by Angles and Saxons, who gradually took over England, but were unable to gain control of Wales. It was at this point that a Welsh identity began forming. New separate kingdoms were created within Wales, including Gwynedd and Powys, who also defended against the Vikings. When the Normans arrived in Britain in the 11th century, King William did not try to conquer Wales, and although during the reign of William II Wales saw numerous attacks, Welsh majority control was maintained.
By the 13th century, Llwyelln had gained power in much of the country and became Prince of Wales, but when Edward II became King of England, he set about ruling the whole of Britain. Despite rebelling, the Welsh were defeated. Battles continued throughout the Middle Ages until Welsh-born Henry Tudor, who in 1485 after the battle of Bosworth, became King of England. Then, in 1536, the act of Union was passed, joining Wales to England in alignment of political and legal systems.
The next key period in shaping Wales was the industrial revolution, which started in the late 18th century. Wales, a landscape rich in natural resources, saw its industries boom, initially it was the iron industry that saw much growth, but by the late 19th century coal was the booming resource. This saw the population grow rapidly, as did the towns and cities, and much of Wales prospered even through to WWI. But post-WWII Wales saw industries, coal especially, decline, and the nation saw much suffering. Modern Wales took a new direction in 1999, with the formation of the Welsh Assembly.
If you visit Wales then you’ll likely arrive in the capital, Cardiff, at some point. Allow time as there’s much to do and see in the city, including Cardiff castle, which has a 2,000-year history, exploring the dynamic Cardiff Bay area, wandering the famous shopping ‘arcades’ and seeing the iconic Principality stadium, home of the Welsh national sport, Rugby. Any trip should also include the other iconic city in Wales, St Davids; the smallest city in Britain with a population of less than 2,000 and home to a famous Cathedral that is the resting place of St David, the Welsh Patron saint.
Wales is known as the castle capital of the world, as there are more castles per square mile here than in any other nation. Visiting these fortresses is an essential part of any visit. Arguably the most spectacular is Harlech castle, built in the 13th century atop a sheer rocky hill, here you’ll find dramatic views all around. Pembroke castle is one of the most intact and most historic; set on the banks of a river, this was the birthplace of King Henry VII. And Chepstow castle, located very close to the border with England is the oldest stone-built castle in Britain.
Another attribute that Wales is famous for is its beautiful landscape, and the best place to enjoy this is in the three National Parks. For some of the most spectacular scenery in Britain, visit Snowdonia, located in north-wales, where you’ll find dramatic mountainscapes. For stunning coastline, travel along the Pembrokeshire coast in Wales’ south-west. And for lovely countryside as well as industrial heritage then spend time in the dramatic rolling hills of the Brecon Beacons.
Join our small-group Tours of Wales and explore the best of this fascinating nation. Travel in a small-group on a comfortable minibus, in the company of our knowledgeable driver-guides. Visit the cities of Cardiff & St Davids, enjoy breath-taking scenery in National Parks and discover the history of some of Wales’ most remarkable castles.
Find out more about our Tours of Wales and join us to explore!