In Style, Culture

The Steam Railways of Snowdonia – in Style

31 May to 4 June (or 7 June)
Wales, UK

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 with an opportunity to enjoy access behind the scenes at preserved railway lines and museums.

Travel on charter trains and have the option to stay at the exclusive Portmeirion hotel and Village on the Welsh coast or in the nearby town of Porthmadog. The programme includes meals 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. 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.

We also have a limited number of rooms available in Porthmadog at the popular Tudor Lodge and Yr Hen Fecws or, for those on a budget, at the Porthmadog Travellodge.

We do advise you to book early as there is a shortage of good accommodation in, and around, Porthmadog.

Highlights

  • Unique Portmeirion Village (option)
  • Superb scenery
  • Private charter on Ffestiniog and Welsh Highland Railways
  • Private charter on Talyllyn Railway
  • Steam hauled heritage train on Snowdon Mountain Railway
  • National Trust behind the scenes
  • Great food

Tour Manager: Stephen Martin

Itinerary

Day 1 Friday 31 May (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. Or alight at Porthmadog for the other accommodation options. 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.

Day 2 Saturday 1 June (B, D) Morning at leisure to enjoy Portmeirion Village gardens and parkland – or in Porthmadog. 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.

Day 3 Sunday 2 June (B, D*) In the morning travel on a steam hauled train to the summit of Snowdon complete with replica 19th century carriage (weather permitting). 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, for those staying at Porthmeirion, we have a private gourmet dinner at Castell Deudraeth on the Portmeirion estate with wine tasting.

Day 4 Monday 3 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 – 80 miles of scenic narrow-gauge wonder. Our train will be hauled by two Ffestiniog steam locomotives. For those staying in Portmeirion we have exclusive reserved seating in the luxury observation coach with champagne and croissants. Our first stop after departing Porthmadog will be the workshops at Boston Lodge (optional) for a visit to see the amazing collection of vintage steam locomotives and carriages before we return to Porthmadog and on the Welsh Highland Railway through Beddgelert and the spectacular scenery of Snowdonia before arriving in Caernarfon. After a short break we return to Beddgelert for a break before returning to Porthmadog to join the world famous Ffestiniog Railway. We change locomotives in Porthmadog to, hopefully, two original 1860’s “England” locomotives – Prince and Palmerston. We journey up the line with its spectacular views to Blaenau Ffestiniog. 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.

Day 5 Tuesday 4 June (B,D) Departures today from Porthmadog and Minffordd stations or why not stay on and see more of the railways and sight by joining or National Trust add-on.

National Trust and Llangollen Add-on

Day 5 Tuesday 4 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 Blaenau 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 Blaenau Ffestiniog for onward transfer to Portmeirion/Portmadog. For those staying at Portmeirion in the evening we have 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.

Day 6 Wednesday 5 June (B, D) An opportunity to enjoy Portmeirion village before a later morning departure to the Llangollen standard gauge steam 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.

Day 7 Thursday 6 June (B) 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.

Day 8 Friday 7 June (B) Morning departure from the hotels (included transfers to Minffordd from Portmeirion) on the train to Shrewsbury and on to Birmingham New Street and London Euston or depart at leisure in your own transport.

Place(s) available

Holiday Prices (per person)

  • 5 day break staying at Portmeirion in a Village or Hotel Room: £850 (or £760)
  • 5 day break staying at The Tudor Lodge or Yr Hen Fecws: £630 (or £540)
  • 5 day break staying at The Travelodge in Porthmadog: £540 (or £450)
  • The lower price applies to anyone who also books on another tour (of 6 nights or more) with PTG for 2019

Options

  • Single use room at Portmeirion in a Village or Hotel Room: £310
  • Single use room at The Tudor Lodge or Yr Hen Fecws: £165
  • Single use room at The Travelodge in Porthmadog: £95
  • Upgrade to Village Suite at Portmeirion: £225 per room
  • Rail travel from home station to Minffordd or Porthmadog: POA
  • 3 day National Trust and Llangollen add-on: POA

Deposit

  • 50%

Price includes

  • Travel and excursions as outlined in the itinerary
  • Good quality en-suite accommodation
  • Meals as shown in the itinerary; B = Breakfast, L = Lunch, D = Dinner, D* is only for those staying at Portmeirion
  • Services of our tour manager. Holiday is fully escorted from Porthmadog.

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