From: September 10 to September 20, 2017

Destination: Cardiff, Wales

  • Hiking Wales - FULL

    Discover the essence of Wales on our hiking trip to all three of Wales' National Parks. Although a small country, it is second to none in its fascinating history, varied and stunning topography, and a warm and welcoming tradition of hospitality, and our hiking trip is a perfect mixture of hiking in stunning landscapes, interwoven with cultural encounters and experiences. We begin our adventure in the vibrant capital city of Cardiff before heading off to the wild windswept escarpments of the Brecon Beacons National Park. Then it's on to the coast of Pembrokeshire, widely regarded as the spiritual heartland of Wales. Finally we head North to the rugged mountains of Snowdonia, a stronghold of Welsh culture. Castles and fortresses dot the landscape, a reflection of its turbulent history. Narrow gauge railways and peaceful calm canals are reminders that Wales was one of the first industrialised nations. And while a part of Great Britain, Welsh culture has survived largely intact, as demonstrated by the bilingualism we'll find everywhere. Croeso I Gymru!

    THIS TRIP IS FULL. To get on a waitlist, register for the trip (no deposit required).

  • Sunday, September 10
    Arrive Cardiff any time before 4 pm today. We'll gather at our hotel at 4:30pm for welcome and introductions, followed by a trip orientation. Our Welsh guide will then take us on a brief walking tour of Cardiff on our way to dinner. Those of us who just arrived will undoubtedly be jetlagged so we'll make sure we get to bed early. Overnight Cardiff at Mercure Cardiff Holland House and Spa (1 night)

    Monday, September 11
    From Cardiff, we will drive for about an hour through the South Wales Valleys. This area once fueled the Industrial Revolution with her coal, leaving behind only scars in the mountainside and the faded glory of the architecture to remind us. Leaving the coal valleys behind, we enter Brecon Beacons National Park, the first of 3 National Park on our adventure. Our first walk will be along the tranquil Brecon and Monmouthshire canal. In the past, horses pulled the barges and we will follow their trail along the ancient towpath. By its very nature this is level walking and a superb walk for our first day. The pace is slow, allowing us to ease into the rhythms of rural Wales and enjoy our first lunch in a cozy pub. Hiking: 5 miles, 120 feet elevation gain Overnight Abergavenny at The Angel Hotel (2 nights)

    Tuesday, September 12
    Now that we've recovered from jet lag, we're ready for some more serious hiking. After picking up a picnic lunch from the local bakery, we set off from our hotel along the Offa's Dyke footpath. This is one of Wales' National trails. Offa was a 9th century Saxon king who built a stone and earth barrier to delineate his kingdom from that of the troublesome Celts in the west. Our walk will take us from the lush Wye valley up onto the wild and windswept tops of the Black mountains, where we climb to the top of Hay Bluff (2220 feet). This is border country; the views here stretch out over and beyond Wales, to the English counties of Herford and Gloucestershire. Our bus will pick us up at Gospel pass and drive us down to the romantic ruins of LLananthony Abbey. Rebuilt in the 13th century, what stands today are the picturesque remains. Hiking: 5 miles, 2000 feet elevation gain. Overnight Abergavenny

    Wednesday, September 13
    Our scenic drive will take us over the north side of the Brecon Beacons National Park, west toward Pembrokeshire. We will stop briefly in the ancient and old-fashioned Drover town of Landovery, home to a memorial to the welsh drovers. Our hike today is an undulating circuit following footpaths around and up to Carreg Cennen Castle, a striking 12th century fortress that changed hands many times between the English and Welsh and is arguably the most romantic castle in Wales. Whether or not you agree, a visit to this dramatic fortress is a must and the climb up to it is well worth it. Finishing our hike we continue the last leg of our journey to the brightly colored seaside town of Tenby and our beautifully located family-run hotel. Following dinner at the hotel, we’ll complete our day with a twilight walk with resident storyteller, Marion Davies. Hiking: 5.5 miles, 1,000 feet elevation gain. Overnight Tenby at Fourcroft Hotel (3 nights)

    Thursday, September 14
    National Geographic magazine called Pembrokeshire the world's second best coastal destination and ranked the Pembrokeshire coast second in the world's top ten long-distance paths. We'll hike today on the All Wales Coast Path, with spectacular cliff top views. We'll keep our eyes open for gannets fishing and playful choughs catching the updrafts. Barafundle Bay is surely one of the loveliest beaches in the world and an inviting place for a swim. You might think coastal paths are flat and easy hiking, but you would be wrong, and a break at the Boat House tearoom at Stack pole quay to sample the local wares will be most welcome.

    We then continue onwards to the freshwater Bosherton Lakes, famous for their lilies and resident otters. This landscape, designed by the Cawdor family as a setting for their country house, is a lovely contrast to the dramatic clifftops. Today the main house is gone, but the estate is an internationally important nature reserve and a listed designed landscape. Our coach will then take us back to Tenby for dinner. Hiking: 8 - 10 miles Overnight Tenby

    Friday, September 15
    Today we are heading to the spiritual center of Wales and the birthplace of its patron saint, St David. According to tradition, David was born in a lightning storm on the headland, less than a mile away from where the village's cathedral stands today. Tucked away on a river and out of sight from marauding Vikings, the cathedral became one of the most important shrines of medieval Christendom, when two pilgrimages to St. David's was equal to one to Rome. Inside we will see St. David's shrine, as well as the sarcophagus of Edmund Tudur, Henry VII's father. After lunch on your own with some time to explore the village, in the afternoon we'll walk another section of the Wales Coast Path. We'll go from St David's to St. Non's Bay, where David was born, and then to Porthclais before returning to St David on another path. Before driving back to Tenby, we will call in at Solva Woollen Mill, Pembrokeshire's oldest working woolen mill. Overnight Tenby

    Saturday, September 16
    We get an early start today as we bid farewell to Tenby and head towards North Wales. This will be our longest drive (about 5 - 6 hours of driving) and we'll break our journey along the way. Although farmers are notoriously difficult to pin down in advance, our plan is to stretch our legs with a visit to a farm and a chance to watch sheepdogs work. We'll then continue to Snowdonia National Park. This was Wales' first National Park and home to its highest mountain and largest lake. Its rugged landscape is a complete contrast with everything we've seen previously. Overnight Caernarfon at Celtic Royal (4 nights)

    Sunday, September 17
    In just a fifteen-minute drive to Llanberis we are at the foot of Snowdon. Snowdon, or Yr Wyddfa in Welsh, is the highest mountain south of the Scottish highlands. At 3560 feet, it is not high in terms of mountains of the world, but it is still one cracker of a mountain. Shaped by glaciers, this majestic mountain is reminiscent of a starfish from above, with magnificent ridges radiating from the central pyramidal peak. We have several choices today: you may choose to ride up and back to the summit on the historic Snowdon mountain railway; ride up and then walk back down; or, if you're looking for a challenge, hike to the summit. In addition to your energy level, the weather is also an important factor. Whatever option you decide on, we will all undoubtedly have earned a pint-sized mug of tea at the famous climber's cafe, Pete's Eats. Or perhaps a pint of something stronger at The Heights pub! Overnight Caernarfon Hiking: 4.5 miles up, 3024 feet elevation gain

    Monday, September 18
    The village of Beddgelert is blessed: it lies on the confluence of two mountain rivers and is surrounded by wooded hills in the heart of the Snowdonia National Park. The quarrymen's cottages that make up the village are prettily decorated with window boxes, and the village often wins prizes for its joyful floral displays. We set off on the banks of the river Glaslyn. Our first stop is at 'Gelert's Grave'. Gelert was a brave legendary dog, from which the village takes its name. Wales is a land of myth and legend, and there are still a few to tell today.

    The river gathers speed as it narrows into a gorge, and we will negotiate the fisherman's path. We will soon turn up into a secret valley, with contrasting landscape. The mountain views will be amazing today (weather permitting): Cnicht (The Welsh Matterhorn), Snowdon, and Dinas Emrys, where legend has it the Welsh Red Dragon fought the English White Dragon and reigned supreme. Tonight we'll enjoy a home-hosted dinner with a local Welsh family in the comfort of their home. Overnight Caernarfon

    Tuesday, September 19
    After our Celtic Royal breakfast we will set off to the start point of our walk, via the island of Anglesey. Anglesey is known as 'Mam Cymru' which translates as 'Mother of Wales.' She gets this rather grandiose title because of her flat and fertile landscape. We will call in at the village of Llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogeryllchwyrndrobwylllantysyliogogogoch - here you will have an opportunity to practice your welsh pronunciation! Leaving Anglesey via the iconic Menai suspension bridge, we will head to the village of LLanafairfechan for the start of our hike. On our hike we will stop for lunch at the mountain farm of Rhian Jones, known for her artistic Blacksmith work. As well as stunning coastal scenery and perhaps even views of the Isle of Man on a clear day, this upland hike over heathery moorlands offers up a wealth of archaeology, from stone circles to Iron Age forts. Our hike culminates in the magnificent seaside town of Conwy, known for its UNESCO designated medieval castles and churches, with a full guided tour of Conwy Castle. Hiking 10 miles, 960 feet elevation gain

    Tonight we share one final farewell dinner at the charming Royal Welsh Yacht Club, in the heart of Caernarfon. It's a fitting end to our time in this most amazing country. Overnight Caernarfon

    Wednesday, September 20
    After breakfast, it's unfortunately time to leave. We'll arrive first at the Bangor railway station at 9:30 and then continue on to Manchester airport, arriving approximately 11:30 am for flights or connections to other trains. Hwyl fawr
  • $3295  (click here for travel discounts) $400 deposit. Single supplement (only required if you want a room to yourself) is $450. You can read our cancellation policies here

    Trip Includes

    • A Welsh guide and an Adventures in Good Company trip leader
    • Ten nights double occupancy lodging
    • All meals including beverages from dinner on September 10 to breakfast on September 20 except for one lunch
    • Ground transportation in Wales, including airport transfer on the last day
    • All activities on the itinerary, including entry fees to castles, sheep dog demonstration, Mt Snowdon train, and home hosted dinner
    Not included: travel to Cardiff, transportation to the hotel on day 1, guide gratuities, optional activities, items of a personal nature
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  • Common Questions

    If you’ve never traveled with us before, you may have some questions about how we do things and what you can expect. We’ve answered the most common ones below and are always available by phone or email to answer any others.

    How do I pay for my trip?

    You can make the deposit by submitting a secure form with your credit card information after filling out the registration form or calling us with your card information. We will send you an invoice for the balance due with your Predeparture Information 4 months before an International trip and 3 months before a domestic trip. You can get a 3% discount for paying the balance by check.

    What if I’m coming alone?

    The majority of women who travel with us come by themselves. If you want to pay a single supplement to guarantee your own room, or if you want to share a room with someone with whom you are traveling, you can indicate that on the registration form. Otherwise we randomly assign roommates and rotate every time we change lodging – it’s a great way to get to know different women on the trip.

    Can you accommodate special diets?

    We can always accommodate vegetarian, gluten-free, and omnivore diets. On most trips we can also accommodate lactose-free, vegan, and other restricted diets, although in some locations the availability of special food may be limited. If in doubt about your specific dietary needs, please give us a call (877/439-4042) or send us an email.

    What if I have to cancel my trip?

    The amount of your refund depends on how close to the trip you cancel and whether it is a domestic or an international trip. You can read our cancellation policies here. We highly recommend travel insurance because cancellations are always unexpected; we will send you additional information about insurance when you register.

    Will my family be able to get in touch with me in case of an emergency?

    Yes, we always send out emergency contact information. On a few trips, because of limitations in communication, the best approach is to give them the office number and let us make the contact.

    What other information will you send me?

    When you register, we’ll send you a Trip Summary that includes the itinerary, travel information, and a packing list. Three to four months before your trip we’ll send you Pre-Departure information that includes detailed information on how to get to the trip starting point, pre- or post-trip lodging suggestions, suggested books and websites etc. Four to six weeks before the trip, we’ll send you a list of everyone who is registered along with their travel plans; and a Pre-Trip letter with the name of your guide(s) and how to contact them if your arrival is delayed as well as any other important updates.

    Do you help with pre-trip and/or post-trip hotel reservations?

    For international trips, if you want to stay at the hotel where we’re staying the first night before the trip, or at the hotel we’re staying the last night after the trip, we’re happy to make a reservation for you. Otherwise our PreDeparture Information will have hotel suggestions. Our travel agent is also happy to help you with this.

    How does the waitlist process work and how often do people cancel?

    If you are interested in a trip that is full, you should sign up here. If there is a cancellation, we send out an email to everyone who has expressed interest and ask them to respond within 24 hours. If more than one person is interested, we give the space to the person who has traveled with us before or in the order of being put on the waitlist. Frequently, even when we have a long wait list, it is the last person to sign up who is still available to go. Whether or not there will be a cancellation is completely unpredictable, although not uncommon.

    What is the role of the guide(s)?

    On every trip, the primary roles of the guide(s) are to ensure your safety and to make sure that, to the extent possible, you are having the trip you want. The guide(s) will also make sure that you know what is happening each day and what you need to bring to be prepared. On domestic trips the guide(s) will also likely be driving, preparing picnic lunches and sometimes other meals, providing skills instruction, and giving you information about the natural history of the area. On any trip where we partner with another company (which is most international trips and some trips that require special equipment), the AGC guide will work with the local guide to make sure that the trip is conducted in accordance with the AGC philosophy.

    What if I have more questions?

    Give us a call (877/439-4042) or send us an email. A Program Manager is assigned to each trip. Once you have registered, she will send you a registration confirmation letter that includes her name and email, and she will be your primary contact. Her job is to make sure that you get all your questions answered and that you feel completely prepared for your adventure.

    What if I'm the oldest/youngest/heaviest/least in shape/only single woman/only mom on the trip?

    You might be. Someone has to be the oldest/youngest/heaviest/least in shape person on the trip. And while the great majority of our trips have both single and non-single women, and moms and non-moms, sometimes they don't. But it doesn't matter if you're "different" in any of those ways - what you will share with everyone else is a desire to experience adventure in your life, and an appreciation of the joy and camaraderie of being in an all women's group.

Trip highlights

  • Hiking in Wales three National Parks: Brecon Beacons, Pembrokeshire, and Snowdon
  • Going to the top of Mt Snowdon, on foot or by train
  • Visiting some of Wales' famous historical castles, churches, and ruins
  • Learning about Welsh culture and its tumultuous history
  • Visiting the town of Llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogeryllchwyrndrobwylllantysyliogogogoch

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