Portmeirion and the Railways of Snowdonia
Join Stephen Martin and Paul Spracklen (some days only) both long term enthusiasts and supporters of Welsh narrow gauge in exploring Welsh narrow gauge steam in style. This is a repeat of the highly successful tour we have run for the last two years and an opportunity to enjoy access behind the scenes at preserved railway lines, museums and National Trust properties.
Travel on charter trains and stay at the exclusive Portmeirion hotel and Village on the Welsh coast in a comprehensive 7 day itinerary The programme includes gourmet meals, wine tasting and after dinner speakers. Portmeirion is a popular tourist village in Gwynedd, North Wales. It was designed and built by Sir Clough Williams-Ellis between 1925 and 1975 in the style of an Italian village and is now owned by a charitable trust.
Portmeirion has served as the location for numerous films and television shows, most famously serving as The Village in the 1960s television show The Prisoner.
We have come to a special arrangement with Portmeirion so as to be our able to offer four different levels of accommodation. Top of the range is accommodation in hotel suites in the village which are exceptionally well appointed. Mid-range is standard village rooms all located in the village grounds. Thirdly for those with any mobility issues we have reserved a small number of rooms in the main hotel building but these are not as spacious as those in the village. The final alternative is to share accommodation in one of the well-appointed village cottages but with the guarantee of your own bathroom, living and dining rooms would be shared between the party staying in the cottage. This makes this option particularly good if you join us in a group.
Irrespective of your choice of accommodation all of the inclusive meals will be taken together in the hotel restaurant or private dining rooms. Portmeirion is renowned for the quality of its cuisine with wonderful views over the bay from the dining room. There are several occasions for pre-dinner drinks and for most meals wine or soft drinks are included.
As well as the hotel and gardens there are extensive woodlands and beaches which in the evening are deserted and ripe for exploration and June is the ideal time to see the gardens and parkland at their best.
Tour Manager: Stephen Martin
Friday 2 June (D) travel by train from London Euston, via Birmingham New Street and Shrewsbury to travel on to Minffordd by rail for included transfer to Portmeirion or make your own way by car to the village. In the evening a welcome gourmet meal in a private dining room at the hotel, with a talk on the history of Portmeirion by the Portmeirion General Manager.
Saturday 3 June (B, D) In the morning travel on a steam hauled train to the summit of Snowdon. This is a unique rack railway first opened in 1896. After a short time at the summit we return to Llanberis where we next visit the National Slate Museum. There are lunch facilities at the Museum. After lunch we visit the nearby Llanberis Lake Railway for a return trip along the line and a planned tour of the loco department and workshop. In the evening we have a private gourmet dinner at Castell Deudraeth on the Portmeirion estate with wine tasting.
Sunday 4 June (B, D) Morning at leisure to enjoy Portmeirion Village gardens and parkland. Option to travel by Cambrian railway or coach to Tywyn to join an afternoon charter train on the Talyllyn the world’s first preserved line utilising the original Victorian stock and engines (we are hoping to be double headed by both No1 and No2 engines) dating from 1869 on a return trip to Nant Gwernol with photographic run passes. During the journey we will have a guided tour of the workshops at Pendre and on returning to Tywyn drinks in the renowned Narrow Gauge Railway Museum and an evening meal at the railway with the general manager as an after dinner speaker to talk about the Talyllyn. Return to Portmeirion.
Monday 5 June (B, L, D) An early morning departure to join PTG’s special annual charter train travelling on both the Welsh Highland and Ffestiniog Railways. We have exclusive reserved seating in the brand new observation coach with champagne and croissants. Our first stop after departing Porthmadog will be the workshops at Boston Lodge and after a guided tour here we continue on the Ffestiniog Railway. For clients wanting a more leisurely start they can join the train at Minffordd. We journey up the line with its spectacular views to Blaenau Ffestiniog. We run down the Ffestiniog Railway over the cob and through Porthmadog station without stopping to continue our journey on the Welsh Highland Railway through Beddgelert and the spectacular scenery of Snowdonia before arriving in Caernarfon. On return to Porthmadog we have a private dinner in Spooner’s restaurant with both Clare Britton (commercial director) and Paul Lewin (managing director) as after dinner speakers to talk about both Railways. Return to Portmeirion.
Tuesday 6 June (B,D) A day devoted to seeing the work of the National trust in Snowdonia. After a leisurely breakfast we join our executive coach travelling to Llandudno to ride the historic tramway up the Great Orme. Here we will meet with the National Trust ranger for a talk on the plans for Great Orme, which has recently been acquired by the Trust. We then proceed to Penrhyn Castle near Bangor for a private tour of the extensive rail museum and the option to either remain in the museum at leisure or join a conducted tour of the house. After time for lunch in the restaurant at the castle you will then have the choice of being transferred to travel on the Conway Valley Railway to Blaenua Ffestiniog or visit the National Trust’s spectacular and world renowned Bodnant Gardens for a conducted tour by the head gardener which will include access to a new part of the gardens not open to the public. The party will rendezvous back at Blaenua Ffestiniog for onward transfer to Portmeirion. In the evening a private dinner in the spectacular Herculean Hall where we will be joined by a senior representative from the National Trust who will talk to us on their work and vision for Snowdonia.
Wednesday 7 June (B, D) An opportunity to enjoy Portmeirion village before a later morning departure to the Llangollen railway where we plan to traverse the full line including the newly opened section to Corwen. After some free time in Llangollen we will take a horse drawn trip along a quiet section of the Llangollen canal. We dine in a unique Victorian hotel on our way back to Portmeirion.
Thursday 8 June (B, D) Travel along the coastal route by coach to Aberystwyth with time to explore the town before for a return journey steam hauled on the Vale of Rheidol Railway. We will have a tour of the brand-new locomotive facilities and museum before we return to Portmeirion before a gourmet farewell dinner in a private dining room at Portmeirion hotel.
Friday 9 June (B) Morning departure from the hotel and cottages (included transfers to the station) on the train to Shrewsbury and on to Birmingham New Street and London Euston or depart at leisure in your own transport.