Coach Tours with a Difference
The following tours offer some unusual routes and take in some interesting places and beautiful views. For further detailed and coach/client specific routes contact the Wales Official Tour Guide Association.
A circuit Holyhead out to Treaddur Bay - rejoin A55 then down west coast through surfing village of Rhosneigr and, via A4080, to Menai Bridge (photo stop between the bridges) to Beaumaris with its moated castle. Next take B5109 to A5025 and return through Benllech and Amlwch. Smaller coaches can get from Holyhead to South Stack to view the cliffs and to Penmon Priory in the SE of the Island to see Puffin Island.
A circuit From Caernarfon take the A487 and A499 to pass the Cathedral of Llyn Clynnog Church and B4417 to Nefyn. Continue to Aberdaron, (unless very busy as when car park is full it can be difficult for a large coach to turn) Leave by B4413 to pretty seaside town of Llanbedrog. Afterwards, go through Pwllheli and a drive around the front at Criccieth for a view of castle and coast. Return,either via B4411 and A487 or, longer, via A498 through Beddgelert and under the slopes of Snowdon.
Snowdonia tour from Llandudno
Leave via A470, through Llanwrst and Dolwyddelan, with its castle, to Blaenau Ffestiniog with its dramatic slate scenery. Then return back via Porthmadog on the A498 through Beddgelert to Capel Curig and the A5 to Bangor and A55 eastwards. A smaller coach can take the B5106 from Conwy down to Betws-y-Coed, the offical 'Gateway to Snowdonia'.
North East Wales Tour
Leave Llangollen on A542 over the Horseshoe Pass via Valle Crucis abbey and then the A525 via Ruthin and Denbigh to St Asaph with its cathedral. Return via A548 & A544, B4501 past Llyn Brenig to the A5 at Cerrigydrudion
South Snowdonia and the Coast From Dolgellau
Take A487 south to the eco town of Machynlleth (there is a bridge height of 4.26m) and A493 to pretty Aberdovey and Tywyn. (There is a 4.26m bridge height restriction). Coaches cannot use the toll bridge across the Mawddach but must go via A496 to lively Barmouth and past Harlech castle to rejoin the A470 for a return through Coed-y-Brenin forest.
Border Country From Welshpool
Head north via A482 and A5 to Chirk Castle and/or Erddig, south of Wrexham. Back via A494 (there is a width restriction of 3.3m at one point) and Y Bala to Dolgellau then A470 and A458. Full size coaches cannot take B4318 from Bala to Vrynwy. They must take the B4393 to get to the lake where clockwise travel is advised. However smaller coaches can do this and can also get to Pistyll Rhaeadr, Llanrhaeadr-ym-Mochnant’s famous waterfall and Pennant Melangell church.
Mid Wales Lakes and Mountains (this route suits a smaller coach 30)
Leaving Rhayader on the B45118 stop at the Elan Valley Visitor Centre for an exhibition of the fantastic engineering feat that took water to Birmingham on an incline. From here drive to Garreg Ddu Reservoir, turn right before the bridge and pass by Peny Garreg and Graig Goch. At the ‘T’ junction turn left and follow this country road to Cwmystwyth passing the ruins of old silver and lead mines. At the ‘T’ junction turn left on the B4343 towards Pontrhydfendegaid and turn left in the village for Strata Florida to visit the fabulous remains of this monastic settlement where the last Prince of Wales is reputedly buried along with a famous welsh poet. Return to the village turning right for Tregaron passing the bog of ‘Bog Snoggling’ fame and rich wild life habitat. In the town visit the jewellery and craft shop. Leave Tregaron town square turning left and following the sign for Abergwesyn and Beulah following the old drover’s route through the pass and on meeting the B4358 turn left towards Newbridge on Wye to the A470 and back to Rhayader.
From the Sea to the Mountains in the South
Leaving Swansea on the A4217 and travelling under Junction 44 of the M4 into the Vale of Neath pick up the A465 road to Glynneath. Aberdulais Falls and the National trust Iron Works are on the left are well worth a visit. At Glynneath turn left onto the A4109, then A4221 and right onto the A4067 towards Sennybridge and onward to Brecon. In Brecon stop to visit the Cathedral, the Canal Basin and the town for lunch. Leave Brecon on the B4520 towards Garth/Builth Wells (a choice here) across the Eppynt where the British Army practice tank manoeuvres. At the junction with the A483 turn right driving through Llandovery and after 6 miles turn right onto the A4069 to Brynamman. Drive through the village of Llangadog and up over the Black Mountain that separates the rural from the industrial. Here, at Brynamman you enter the western edge of the South Wales Coalfield. At the ‘T’ junction turn right onto the A474 towards Pontardawe where you will pick up the A4067 at J45 of the M4 into Swansea.
The South Wales Valleys
Starting at Port Talbot, still a major steel producing town, at J40 of the M4 take the A4107 up the Afan Valley. This was the location for very early railway development and the birth place of Richard Burton. The Afan Forest Park on the left and Afan Argoed Country Park on the right offer wonderful walking, cycling and horse riding opportunities and the Cefn Coed Miners Museum, about 6 miles up on the right, is an ideal spot to stop for good views and a cuppa. From here follow the road through old mining villages, pass tips and chapels to the viewing point at the top of the Bwlch. Here you can see south to the Ogmore Valley, east into the Rhondda and north to the Brecon Beacons. There is usually an ice cream van here and hungry sheep! Take the left turn at the ‘T’ junction and drive carefully down into Treorchy. In Treorchy notice the Working Men’s Institue, the old shop fronts and the Italian Cafes. This is a typical valley town.
At the ‘T’ junction turn left up the valley and continue through the town around the hair pin bends up the Rhigos Mountain. Notice the colourful road man’s hut on the left hand side and at the summit pull over to view the former Tower Colliery site set against the ranging views of the Brecon Beacons National Park. Drive down the mountain passing under the conveyor belts of the colliery washery and pass by Hirwaun toward Aberdare on the A4058. In Aberdare turn right onto the A4233 toward Porth and at Porth take the A5058 to Pontypridd a magnificent example of late Victorian enterprise. Here is the longest railway platform in the UK and the Rhondda Heritage Park is nearby too. From Pontypridd take the A4054 which will take you under the dualled A470 and then take the second country road on the right. Drive to the top of the mountin and turn left toward Abertridwr where you turn left for Senghenydd taking a country road to Ystrad Mynach.
Take the exit marked Caerphilly, continue straight on until you reach a signpost on the left to Senghenydd. In Senghenydd there is a prize winning community project located in Senghenydd Community Centre on Gwern Avenue. It offers research facilities for family research and a memorial to the Senghenydd Mining Disaster of 1901 and 1913. It is well worth contacting them to arrange a visit. It's open free of charge between 11am and 2pm Mon - Saturday (except bank holidays). +44 (0)29 2083 04445
Castles, an Abbey and a Holy Well
Starting at Chepstow Castle, drive out of the town on the A466 to Tintern Abbey and at Tintern Parva turn left onto a country road to Trelleck. This road winds up through woodland passed the ancient remains of early iron workings and a Holy Well, just outside the village. At the ‘T’ junction in Trelleck (turn right and stop and see the church if you have time) turn left onto the B4293, pause to look at the Harold Stones on the left as you are leaving the village. About 3 miles down the road turn left for Newchurch and follow the road east to Llangwm. Here you can drive into Usk and stop for a break taking in the antique shops and pubs. Continuing on through Usk on the B4589 take the first right and follow the country road to Raglan. Pass through the village and across the A40 roundabout to drive passed the castle and on to Monmouth via Dingestow and Wonastow. From here, pick up the dualed A449 south returning to the M4 at Newport.
The Hills, Forests and Valleys of Carmarthenshire
From Carmarthen take the A40 and just the other side of Llandeilo turn left onto the B4302. After about 6 miles you will see Tally Abbey ruins on the right hand side. Maybe stop for a photo? Continue on the B road to Llansawel where you turn left for Brechfa and drive through the upland forest of Brechfa. In the village turn right onto a country road towards New Inn where you carry straight on and shortly meet a ‘T’ junction. Here turn right; at the next ‘T’ turn left and at the next ‘T’ turn right to Llanfihangel-ar-arth. At Capel Dewi stop to visit the water and wool mill – Rock Mill. From here, travel via the B4476 to Llandysul, an old wool town, where you can pick up the A484 back to Carmarthen.
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