Start The North Wales Way at Pontcysyllte Aqueduct and Llangollen.
The Pontcysyllte Aqueduct is a spectacular piece of engineering, completed in the 19th century to carry the canal over the River Dee. This is the largest aqueduct in Britain & the work was undertaken by Thomas Telford. The structure is 307m long, 38m high and holds 1.5 million litres of water. It was recently included in TripAdvisor’s 10 heat-pumping places to visit. Visitors can either walk across (it takes about a 30 minute round trip) or take a leisurely canal boat ride (between 45 minutes or a longer 2 hour chartered boats for groups). One essential item is a camera because the views are stunning! There is a long stay car park for coaches. Postcode is LL14 3RY.
Continue to the small town of Llangollen on the edge of the River Dee, famous for the Llangollen International Musical Eisteddfod, established after World War 2 to encourage peace between the nations. Highlights today, include a voyage on the Llangollen Steam Railway, Plas Newydd, a black and white timber framed house home to the ‘infamous’ Ladies of Llangollen or climb to the top of Castell Dinas Bran and look for the Holy Grail as according to legend, it is buried here! There are designated parking spaces for coaches in Market Street in the town.
Continue to Ruthin Craft Centre this iconic building’s undulating roofs were designed to mimic the surrounding Clwydian hills. There are three galleries, six artist studios, retail gallery, education and residency workshops, tourist information gateway and café with courtyard terrace serving locally produced food. There is designated parking for coaches on site.
Ruthin Gaol is the only purpose-built Pentonville style prison in the UK that is open to the public as a heritage attraction. Visitors can explore and learn about Victorian prison life –the diet, the work schedule and the harsh punishments, including the 'dark' and condemned cell. Find out about the Welsh Houdini and William Hughes who was the last man to be hanged there. Please note the Gaol is closed during he winter months from October to March. However, groups can arrange a visit during these months by calling +44 (0) 1824 708218.
There is a car park which has spaces for coaches on Park Road, Ruthin.
Nantclwyd y Dre is Wales’s oldest dated timbered town house. It was started in 1435 and has been added to, updated and upgraded throughout the centuries. Today, Nantclwyd y Dre has been beautifully restored to show the changing fashions and lives of its residents and interactive television screens help visitors learn more about the house and its inhabitants. Please note the attraction is closed during the winter months from October to March. However, groups can arrange a visit during these months by calling +44 (0) 1824 708218.
Denbigh Castle is one of Edward the First's 13th century castles although not as well known as the ‘Iron Ring of Castles’. It was built upon an existing Welsh castle and today historians highlight its unique triple-towered great gatehouse as one of the key points of interest on the site. Allow about 45 minutes for a visit.
Go to the Cadw website to find out about the availability of Explorer passes for the Travel Trade.
Holywell dates back to Roman times and it has been attracting Christian pilgrimages since c660. It is named after St Winefride's Well, a holy well surrounded by a chapel. According to legend, Saint Winefride was beheaded by Caradog who attempted to attack her and a well appeared where her head fell to the ground. The well is one of the Seven Wonders of Wales. Today, many pilgrims from all over the world continue to visit Holywell and the Well.
St Asaph Cathedral is a 13th century cathedral and is the smallest ancient cathedral in Great Britain. It is the home of the William Morgan Bible (the first version of the whole bible that was translated into Welsh from Greek and Hebrew) therefore, providing a vital link with Welsh culture and literature.
St Margaret’s Church in Antioch, Bodelwyddan, is more popularly known as the Marble Church as there are 14 different types of marble. The church spire is 62 metres high; it is a landmark visible when passing along the A55 Expressway. The church was built by Lady Margaret Willoughby de Broke (daughter of Sir John Williams of nearby Bodelwyddan Castle) in memory of her husband, Carl Fisher, 16th Baron Willoughby de Broke. There is a large parking layby on the road alongside the church which is free for 2 hours allowing a stop off to visit.
Overnight Conwy / Llandudno
The historic town of Conwy is dominated by the 13th century castle and walls. Its circuit of walls, over three quarters of a mile long and guarded by no less than 22 towers, is one of the finest in the World. Visit Conwy Castle and is today a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Its gritty dark stoned fortress has the ability to evoke an authentic medieval atmosphere. Suggested visiting time approx. 1 hour.
Explorer passes are available for the Travel Trade click here to find out more.
Afterwards, take a walk around Conwy, with a visit to the quayside and the smallest house in Britain, built as a one up and one down fisherman’s cottage measuring only 1.8m wide in contrast, there is Plas Mawr the finest Elizabethan town house in Britain famed for it’s elaborate and colourful plaster work. (Cadw offer joint tickets with Conwy Castle).
Alternatively, visit Conwy Mussel Museum - Conwy was once the most important pearl fisheries in the country and today musseling is still carried out in the same traditional way and they can be enjoyed in many of the pubs and restaurants in the town.
Depart Conwy and head for Llandudno Wales's largest resort, uniquely situated between the Great and Little Ormes with two beaches, the award winning North Shore and the quiet sand duned West Shore. Llandudno has kept its Victorian and Edwardian elegance. Visitors can take a ride on The 'San Francisco style' Great Orme Tramway (one of only three still in existence in the world today), take a stroll along the promenade, visit Oriel Mostyn the first art gallery in the world created for the purpose of showing the work of women artists and today showcases contemporary artwork or enjoy the shops and cafes along the main Mostyn Street.
Overnight Conwy / Llandudno
Penrhyn Castle is owned by The National Trust and is a ‘Neo-Norman’ fantasy castle. Visitors can admire the unique architecture, opulent interiors and fine art collection. It also houses an industrial railway museum, thanks to the links to the nearby Penrhyn Quarry that today is home to Zip World Velocity as well as a cafe. Group tours must be booked in advance. Go to the visitor centre on arrival for ticket collection (this is also where the coach can park). If required, there is a drop off point outside the castle before returning to the car park (which is free).
Suggested visiting time – half a day
Group and trade rates are available.
Most visitors cross the Menai Straits today by the Britannia Bridge, designed by Robert Stephenson. There are great views towards the 19th century Menai Suspension bridge designed by Thomas Telford. It was the first bridge to cross from the mainland to Wales and needed to transport cattle and the increasing amount of traffic between Dublin and London. Design was governed by the high banks and fast flowing waters of the Straits and the height needed to allow the passage of the tall ships underneath. Visit the website for more information on the Menai bridges.
Take a photo stop at Llanfair PG - the longest place name in Europe. The full name is Llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwyrndrobwllllantysiliogogogoch, translated as St Mary's Church in the hollow of the white hazel near the rapid whirlpool and the church of St Tysilio by the red cave.
Oriel Ynys Mon has a permanent exhibition showcasing the art of Sir Kyffin Williams. He became one of the defining artists of the twentieth century with his signature oil paintings of rugged North Wales landscapes. There is also an exhibition about the island’s history including visitors both past and present, the island’s industries, the treasure trove of archaeological discoveries, shipwrecks, and the hunters who became the first farmers of Anglesey. There are no designated coach parking spaces, however there is a large car park which welcomes coaches.