Southern Snowdonia Discovery Tour
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Food & drink
High mountains, glacial valleys, pleasant villages and spectacular coastal scenery are all in abundance in dramatic Southern Snowdonia. The area's conflict-filled past can be seen at the imposing Harlech and Powis Castles, which stand in contrast to the famous fantasy village of Portmeirion.
The beautiful woodland waterfall of Dolgoch shows there's more to this area than rugged mountainscapes, and a journey onboard the famous Talyllyn Railway is a marvelous way to see it!
Our Discovery Tours really get into the heart of the countryside. These are sightseeing tours by minibus, visiting places not normally reached by a full-sized coach. Small groups and friendly leaders make this a great way to enjoy Britain at its best.
- Harlech castle
- Beautiful woodland waterfall of Dolgoch and the famous Tallyllyn Railway
- Snowdonia and the fantasy village of Portmeirion
- Welshpool and Powis Castle
- Optional short strolls of up to 1½ miles
- High quality Full Board en-suite accommodation and excellent food in our country house
- The services of our knowledgeable HF Holidays’ leader, ensuring you get the most from your holiday
- Full-day excursions with all transport on touring days in a good-quality, comfortable mini-coach
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.
This is the 2018 itinerary. For 2019 there'll be a couple of small tweaks to enhance your guest experience. We'll update this page shortly with these minor amends, but overall the programme isn't changing too much.
During your Discovery Tour you'll have the opportunity to visit many fascinating places. The following is our provisional programme, and your HF Holidays' leader may adjust it at their discretion, taking into account factors such as weather, local opening times, or other events. This holiday includes active sightseeing and you should expect to spend lots of time on your feet.
For maximum flexibility, admissions are not included; please remember to bring your National Trust or English Heritage cards if you have them. Otherwise please allow up to £10 per day for entrances; (there may be concessionary and group discounts which may reduce this price). Please bring cash as card machines are not always available at all venues.
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.
You're welcome to check in to your room from 2.30pm onwards (Better rooms from 1pm). Please join us for afternoon tea.
Coastal Aberystwyth and Red Kites
On our journey today, we spend time at the coastal resort town of Aberystwyth, with its castle, cliff railway and promenade, and locations in the remote Cambrian Mountains. Our views include a beautiful estuary, fascinating small market towns and spectacular mountain scenery. A highlight is the fascinating Red Kite feeding station.
Mawddach Estuary and Harlech castle
A day of contrasts. We can take a scenic estuary walk then immerse ourselves in two periods of history with a visit to a Neolithic burial chamber followed by the spectacularly sited Edward I castle at Harlech. Later we can discover some more of what makes Snowdonia what it is at the National Park’s impressive study centre.
7-night holiday: Free day
A free day for you to explore the local area or to relax in the Country House. 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.
Depart after a leisurely breakfast
4-night holiday: Arrival day
You're welcome to check in to your room from 2.30pm onwards (better rooms from 1pm). Please join us for afternoon tea.
Powis Castle and Lake Bala
We get a sense of the historical and recent strategic importance of Wales with a visit to the spectacular Powis Castle and the reservoir at Lake Vyrnwy. Garden lovers will enjoy the extensive castle gardens, and bird lovers will enjoy the RSPB reserve at Lake Vyrnwy. Bala is one of those mid-Wales market towns that deserve a leisurely exploration.
Aberdovey and the Talyllyn Railway
A day of views, an estuary village, a railway and some walking. The village, Aberdyfi, merits a leisurely inspection. The railway, the Talyllyn, is one of the Great Little Trains of Wales. The walk at Dolgoch gives close up views of delightful waterfalls. See the remote, ruined Castell y Bere is in marked contrast to Harlech Castle.
Snowdonia & Portmeirion
We venture into the northern part of the iconic Snowdonia National Park, with visits to Llechwedd Slate Caverns and the famous Italianate village of Portmeirion. Our route through the centre of rugged Snowdonia includes the inland resort villages of Betws-y-Coed and Beddgelert and, if we are lucky, a view of the summit of Snowdon itself.
Depart after a leisurely breakfast
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 general rail enquiries visit www.nationalrail.co.uk or call 03457 484950 (from outside the UK call +44 20 7278 5240).
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 X32 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 travel via Chester then the A550, A5104, 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 travel via Shrewsbury and the A458 to Welshpool. Continue on the A458 and after a further 27 miles turn right at a roundabout onto the A470 towards Dolgellau. Look out for the garage and Little Chef on the right as you come down the hill before Dolgellau. Turn right immediately before the garage and drive along a country lane for approx 1 mile to Dolserau Hall.
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).
Mike Ingleby has a lifelong interest in art and graduated in Fine Art as a mature student. He also loves history, architecture, geology and wildlife, especially birds. Mike enjoys storytelling in his relaxed, humorous style using plain English to make his tales accessible to all.
Chrissie Le Marchant
Chrissie grew up in Yorkshire and spent her early years exploring the North York Moors. Having obtained a degree in Geology and Geography, she spent the next few years working for an international mining company, prospecting in the West Country and gold mining in Africa, driving home overland from Johannesburg via India.
She spent the next few years raising children and working for two National Parks, Snowdonia and Dartmoor. After training as a teacher of design technology she returned to civil engineering building roads. Eventually she became a Blue Badge Tourist Guide and has worked in the West Country and southern England and all over Europe as a guide and tour manager.
As a ‘Deviationist’ on the Ffestiniog Railway she drove trains, tipped wagons and appeared on Blue Peter and has been leading railway holidays for several years.
Chrissie was superb and made the week memorable. She was super and very knowledgeable about everything.
Read more reviews from feefo
Dates & Prices
|Date||Description||Nights||Brochure price||Buy today for||Book|
|1 Jun 2019||DGHCR - Discovery Tour - Dolgellau||3||£389.00||£374.00||Book Now|
|1 Jun 2019||DGHCR - Discovery Tour - Dolgellau||7||£915.00||£865.00||Book Now|
|4 Jun 2019||DGHCR - Discovery Tour - Dolgellau||4||£549.00||£524.00||Book Now|
|13 Jul 2019||DGHCR - Discovery Tour - Dolgellau||7||£915.00||£865.00||Book Now|
|13 Jul 2019||DGHCR - Discovery Tour - Dolgellau||3||£389.00||£374.00||Book Now|
|16 Jul 2019||DGHCR - Discovery Tour - Dolgellau||4||£549.00||£524.00||Book Now|
|7 Sep 2019||DGHCR - Discovery Tour - Dolgellau||3||£389.00||£374.00||Book Now|
|7 Sep 2019||DGHCR - Discovery Tour - Dolgellau||7||£915.00||£865.00||Book Now|
|10 Sep 2019||DGHCR - Discovery Tour - Dolgellau||4||£549.00||£524.00||Book Now|
Prices are per person
- Non-member associate fee: £10 per person
We like to reward early bookers with our best rooms so book early to avoid disappointment.
Please note that we aren't able to take room number requests as we are unable to guarantee them.