Great Little Trains of Wales
Code: DGHRHPrint page
Our country house in North Wales offers an outstanding base from which to visit the celebrated narrow-gauge railways of Wales.
- Ride on the Talyllyn railway, the world’s first preserved railway, and enjoy its vintage locomotives and rolling stock
- Visit the Vale of Rheidol and Ffestiniog railways, with dramatic scenery
- A journey on the Welsh Highland Railway is a stunning highlight of this enjoyable week
- High quality Full Board en-suite accommodation and excellent food in our country house
- The guidance and services of our knowledgeable HF Holidays’ leader, ensuring you get the most from your holiday
- All transport on touring days on a comfortable, good-quality mini-coach
- All admissions to places of interest that form part of your holiday itinerary, except for National Trust or English Heritage properties
Located just a couple of miles away from the attractive market of Dolgellau, this town is a pleasure to explore with fascinating history surrounded in and out of the local area. Enjoy highly scenic journeys on old traditional trains through Snowdonia, or explore the area on foot.
Our bedrooms are either located in the main building or the tastefully converted coach house.
These rooms are all ensuite and furnished to a good standard. They include:
These rooms are slightly larger and/or have a better view. They include:
Only an extra £15 per person per night
Choose Your Room: Our new “Choose Your Room” service is available at our UK country houses, providing the option to choose and confirm a specific room for an extra £30 per room. Supplement to upgrade to 'Better' rooms still apply. The choice of room number must be of the same room type as originally booked and is subject to availability.
At the house
|All holidays at our Country Houses are full board accommodation including evening meal on arrival to breakfast on the day of your departure. All of our Country Houses have a well-stocked bar serving local beers, wine and spirits.
√ Start your day with our extensive breakfast.
Just relax and take it easy, or if you'd like to continue to chat with our guides and fellow guests then why not grab a drink or take part in one of our optional evening activities.
All of our bars are stocked with locally sourced drinks so you can really soak up your surroundings.
Our Heritage Tours are your opportunity to immerse yourself in an area of history that interests you, at the same time as exploring the local area with a group of like-minded people. Each day our leaders will provide fascinating commentary on the places visited and share their knowledge with you. This holiday involves active sightseeing, up to 3 miles (5km) each day.
All admissions are included, apart from entrance costs to English Heritage or National Trust properties - please do bring your membership cards if you're already a member of these organisations.
Please note, due to timetabling changes the order of visits may change:
You can check in to your room from 2.30pm onwards (better rooms from 1pm). Please join us for afternoon tea.
Aberystwyth & the Vale of Rheidol Railway
We go south to Aberystwyth for a visit to the Cliff Railway which should give excellent views if the weather is favourable. Then to the Vale of Rheidol Railway which opened in 1902 for the transportation of lead ore and was operated by British Rail until 1989. We take a trip through beautiful scenery to Devil’s Bridge and return.
Fairbourne, Talyllyn and Corris Railways
Today we go down to the coast at Fairbourne to take a ride on the miniature railway to the river mouth and back again. Then on to the Talyllyn Railway which boasts of being one of the longest operating heritage railways and is a delightful experience. Finally, to the relatively short Corris Railway and its museum and engine shed.
Our Discovery Points help you make the most out of your free day. There’s plenty of maps and a selection of the best local walking routes, as well as weather forecasts and public transport options – plus details about other places to visit.
Llanberis Lake Railway and Snowdon Mountain Railway
We visit the narrow-gauge Llanberis Lake railway along the shores of Llyn Padarn, with the opportunity to visit the National Slate Museum. Then, weather permitting, we will ascend Snowdon on the unique rack railway which hopefully will give stunning views.
Welshpool and Llanfair Railway & Bala Lake Railway
We head almost back to England to the charming Welshpool and Llanfair Railway, travelling through delightful pastoral scenery. This line has an eclectic range of rolling stock drawn from around the world. Then it’s on to the Bala Lake Railway - a narrow-gauge line re-opened on the former Great Western main line.
Ffestiniog & Welsh Highland Railways
Take a journey on the two lines centred on Porthmadog. First, the Ffestiniog Railway from which includes dramatic scenery and a spiral curve at Dduallt, part of the ‘Deviation’ build by volunteers in the 1960s and 70s. The double-ended Fairlie locomotives are another special feature of this line. Our journey continues aboard the Welsh Highland Railway, which passes this stunning mountain scenery with views of Snowdon (hopefully!) on its way to Caernarfon.
Sometimes things happen beyond our control – the weather, traffic jams or changes at the places we visit. If we need to adjust your holiday programme, for whatever reason, your leader will help smooth the way.
During your stay at Dolserau Hall you may enjoy visiting the following places of interest, either in your free time, or on your journey to and from Snowdonia:
This narrow guage railway was the first in the world to be taken over and run by volunteers. The line runs from the coast at Tywyn to the former slate quarries at Nant Gwernol. Historic locomotives and carriages, some dating back to the line's opening in 1864 add to the unique atmosphere. The nearest station is at Abergynolwyn, about 25 minutes' drive from Dolserau Hall. www.talyllyn.co.uk
Great Little Trains of Wales
Snowdonia is noted for its concentration of narrow guage steam railways, all of which offer highly scenic journeys. The Ffestiniog Railway, Vale of Rheidol and the Welshpool & Llanfair railways are all within reach. You may also want to experience the newly rebuilt Welsh Highland Railway which runs from Porthmadog to Caernarfon. www.greatlittletrainsofwales.co.uk
Built by King Edward I after his conquest of Wales, Harlech Castle is one of the most historically important and well preserved fortifications in the principality. Along with neighbouring castles at Caernarfon, Beaumaris and Conwy it now has World Heritage status. Around 45 minutes' drive from Dolserau Hall. www.cadw.wales.gov.uk
Centre for Alternative Technology
Situated near Machynlleth, around 20 minutes' from Dolserau Hall, the Centre for Alternative Technology is at the forefront of researching and teaching sustainable living. Displays focus on green technology, energy efficiency and organic farming. www.cat.org.uk
The nearby RSPB reserves at Arthog Bog, Coed Garth Gell and Ynis-hir offer a wide variety of habitats including oak woodland, heathland and salt-marsh that attracts an equally diverse range of birds.
This quaint Italianate village was the brainchild of the architect Clough Williams-Ellis. It is also well-known as the setting for the cult 1960’s TV series The Prisoner. Portmeirion is around 35 minutes' drive from Dolserau Hall. www.portmeirion-village.com
Harlech Castle image © Crown copyright (2016) Welsh Government
Travel to Dolgellau
Our address is: Dolserau Hall, Dolgellau, Gwynedd LL40 2AG
The most convenient railway station is at Machynlleth. For train times and route planning by train visit www.nationalrail.co.uk or phone 03457 48 49 50.
The 16 mile journey from Machynlleth railway station takes approximately 30 minutes. Pre-booked taxis cost approx £30 per taxi. Details of our current recommended taxi company and rates will be sent to you with your booking. The return taxi journey can be arranged on your behalf by the Dolserau Hall Manager.
From Machynlleth take the X27 bus to Dolgellau. The 2 mile journey to Dolserau Hall from Dolgellau can be completed in a taxi. Alternatively alight at Dolgellau Little Chef, from where it is a 1 mile walk along a quiet country lane to the hotel. For bus times see www.traveline.info
From the north head to Chester then take the M53 and A55 around the south of Chester. Join the A550 then the A5104 for about 20 miles, then finally the A494 to Bala. Stay on the A494 heading towards Dolgellau. A mile after the junction for the B4416 to Brithdir, take the next turning on the left, after the campsite. Follow the country lane for ½ mile to Dolserau Hall.
From the south take the M54 and A5 to Shrewsbury. Follow the A5 around the south of Shrewsbury and join the A458 towards Welshpool. Continue on the A458 through Welshpool and after a further 27 miles turn right at a roundabout onto the A470 towards Dolgellau. As you come down a steep hill beofre Dolgellau, look out for a petrol station on the right hand side. Take the turning on the right immediately before the petrol station. Dolserau Hall is about 1 mile along this country lane on your right. Look for the HF Holidays sign.
Travelling from overseas
Birmingham Airport has the quickest onward connections to Machynlleth. Direct trains from Birmingham International station take 2 hours 35 minutes. See www.nationalrail.co.uk for train times.
Manchester Airport has a better range of long-haul flights. Trains from here take around 3½ hours with changes at Crewe and Shrewsbury. See www.nationalrail.co.uk for train times.
Flying to London Heathrow airport is another option, but has a longer onward train journey - allow at least 5½ hours to reach Machynlleth by train. You'll need to head to Euston station in the centre of London. Take a train from here to Birmingham, then change for the onward connection to Machynlleth. See www.nationalrail.co.uk for train times.
In each case complete your journey from Machynlleth to Dolgellau by taxi or bus (see above).
Sandy Smith is a university academic, specialising in geology and environmental sciences, and has written books on these topics. She is particularly interested in the origins of landscape, both natural and human-made. With her wealth of experience, she leads a wide range of HF Holidays’ Walking and Leisure Activities holidays in the UK, Europe and worldwide
Brilliant - made everything so interesting and her local knowledge was really appreciated.
Alastair Clark - Heritage Leader
After studying Geography and History Alastair worked in formal and informal education for most of his career. He lives in the Peak District and has been leading for HF since 2011, including Worldwide, Walking and Cycling holidays and latterly the Leisure Activities holidays that he has a passion for. Alastair has a wide range of interests, ranging from teaching French to leading expeditions in Ghana. He loves sharing his knowledge with others and introducing them to a “sense of place” in the numerous locations where he leads for HF Holidays.
"Recognised and responded to individual needs, full of information, adaptable in bad weather. Took care of everyone, nothing too much trouble."
Dates & Prices
We're sorry, there are no dates available for this holiday at the moment. Please check out our other tours and breaks or call our team on 0345 470 8558 to be notified of new dates as soon as they become available.
Prices are per person
- Non-member associate fee: £10 per person