Travel with Joyce James to Wales, May 13th - May 23rd, 2011
May 2011 – History, Heritage and Handicrafts
Read a Shirley Scott article about the May 2011 Wales trip (PDF format)
In previous years, Wales was offered as part of a tour with Ireland one year and England another. However, due to many requests, in 2011 we have organized a special Wales-only itinerary. The Welsh language is showing a resurgence and you will hear this language spoken frequently on the streets.
Highlights of the 2011 Wales Tour:
- A unique itinerary; offered in 2011 in response to many requests.
- Accommodation in Cardiff, Lampeter, Conwy & Welshpool in comfortable hotels with ensuite facilities.
- Small group, limited size.
- Private visits with talented craftspeople: knitters, weavers, spinners, quilters, textile designers, mills.
- Opportunities to explore your interests: castles, music; bird watching; nature walks; museums and galleries; archaeological sites; gardens; crafts & culture.
- Welsh guides and talks by interesting local historians.
- Wonderful scenery.
- Relaxed time for knitting.
- Much, much more!
Price: $5195.00 CAD/USD.
Day 1: Depart Canada and the United States for Britain.
Day 2: Arrival at London Heathrow, where we’ll be met by our coach to travel to Cardiff, capital of Wales. We will check in at the Cardiff Hilton, a comfortable, centrally-located hotel and our home for the next two nights. Before evening dinner, there will be a reception to meet your fellow travellers and learn about our special activities planned for the next two weeks.
Day 3: Your morning is free to explore and if you’d like, visit Cardiff Castle or the National Museum of Cardiff, with its outstanding collection of Impressionist paintings.
After lunch, our coach will take us to the Museum of Welsh Life, known as St. Fagans, set in a100-acre parkland. This open-air site features a collection of buildings, brought from all over Wales, and furnished with antiques of the respective periods. We’ll be privileged to meet with one of the curators, to gain a special appreciation of the history and importance of Welsh textiles.
Depending on what is scheduled at the theatres, you may wish to attend a concert or play in the evening.
Day 4: We leave our hotel after breakfast and travel west towards Swansea and Carmarthen, with a stop at Aberglasney Garden. We’ll visit the Jen Jones Quilt Centre in the Lampeter Town Hall—just opened in 2010. Jen has the largest collection of Welsh quilts in existence and has worked to make people aware of their historical importance and to encourage their care and preservation. (It has been written that Welsh quilts were the inspiration of the Amish quilts as their designs are similar.)
On past tours, our group has been privileged to meet with Jen and we’ll hope that her schedule will allow us to speak with her on this tour.
We’ll check into our hotel, The Falcondale, an impressive historic hotel on the outskirts of Lampeter, where we’ll stay for the next three nights.
Day 5: A full-Day’s tour of north Pembrokshire. We’ll visit the Melin Tregwynt Woollen Mill, the Last Invasion Tapestry at Fishguard and St. David’s Cathedral, in tiny St. David’s, the smallest city in the U.K.
Day 6: Today we’ll tour the outstanding Woollen Museum at Drefach, Felindre, one of the museums of the National Museum of Wales.
We’ll also visit the farms and meet with the owners of:
- Blueberry Angoras, home of angora goats. They have a wide selection of yarn, weaving, handknits, and spinning and weaving equipment for sale;
- Garthenor Organic Pure Wool. They sell over eighty “Eco-Friendly” knitting yarns, from traditional and rare British breeds of sheep..
Day 7: After breakfast, we’ll leave Lampeter for Aberaeron and travel northwards along the Cardigan Bay coast to Snowdonia National Park.
We’ll visit Dolgellau, former location of the mines where Welsh gold was extracted. (The mines are now closed, but for centuries, they supplied the gold wedding jewellery worn by British monarchs.) It is also the site of the Quaker Museum and you’ll learn the connection of this area with William Penn and the Quakers in Pennsylvania.
In the afternoon, we’ll stop at the unique village of Portmeirion and to one of North Wales’ oldest working woollen mills at Brynkir. Our hotel for the next three nights is The Castle, located on the North Wales coast and set within the medieval town of Conwy, which has been nominated as a World Heritage Site.
Day 8: This is your free day and a suggestion is to explore Conwy. During the 19th century, the town was the centre for a large number of artists and is the home of the Royal Cambrian Academy. The town has plenty of shops and pubs, with interesting sites for walking.
Day 9: Today we’ll visit some of the great Edwardian castles of North Wales and the famous Bodnant Garden. We’ll also take a trip on the Ffestiniog Narrow Gauge Railway. In the evening, we’ll be privileged to attend the rehearsal of a Welsh Male Choir—not to be missed!
Day 10: After breakfast we leave North Wales Coast for Erddig—“the most evocative upstairs downstairs’ house in Britain, now cared for by the National Trust. Erddig is very unusual as the former owners of the house valued their servants very highly, and you will see more paintings of the servants than the owners.
Early afternoon brings us to the store and workshop of Colinette Yarns at Llanfair Caereinion, near Welshpool.
For our final two nights in Wales, we’ll check in to The Metropole Hotel in Llandrindod Wells. The hotel has been in the hands of the same family for five generations and recently underwent a multi-million pound renovation.
Day 11: We make a morning visit to the market town of Llanidloes (where Laura Ashley opened her first shop) and will meet with local knitters at the Minerva Arts Centre.
In the afternoon we’ll stop at Hay-on-Wye, where the whole village is a collection of second-hand bookshops.
Day 12: After breakfast, we depart Mid Wales to drive through the Cotswolds to London. If you are leaving the tour here, the coach will drop you in central London.
Note: An option, why not extend your stay for a three night London stopover.
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Price: $5195.00 CAD/USD.
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