‘It is not the cheaper things in life that we want to possess, but expensive things that cost a lot less’ – John Ruskin
The 6th Dragon Trail is longer than previous ones and takes in assorted daily routes used in the past as well as some new sections. Featuring mostly quiet rural roads and, of course, stunning scenery, each day’s leisurely itinerary enables you to relax and step back in time to when motoring was a pleasure.
Starting in Chepstow, on the Welsh border, we initially meander west before following the coast to Aberystwyth and Portmeirion and then wind through the mountains to the final destination in Ruthin.
Along the way we visit numerous attractions, including calling into Laugharne to view the boathouse where Dylan Thomas wrote most of his famous works and perhaps have a drink in the bar of Browns Hotel, his favourite watering hole.
The grand finale to the tour is a medieval banquet in Ruthin Castle.
The itinerary is as follows:
Friday, September 13th. Arrivals at the 4 – star St. Pierre Park Hotel, Chepstow, a 14th century manor set amid 400 acres of picturesque parkland in the rolling hills of the Wye Valley. The luxury hotel has a golf course, swimming pool and spa.
Access is easy from the M5, M4, and M48.
Saturday, September 14th. Chepstow to Swansea. We start the day by heading up the Wye Valley to the amazing ruins of Tintern Abbey before heading north-west through the Brecon Beacons National Park, and stopping at Penderyn Distillery, the home of Welsh Whisky.
Dropping back to the coast and Swansea our hotel for the next two nights is Morgans (see left), the only five-star hotel in Swansea, built in 1903 to house Swansea Harbour Trust. Dinner this evening is in the Grape & Olive restaurant at the top (27th floor!) of the Meridian Tower, the tallest building in Wales. The views across the bay and city will amaze! Overnight Swansea. Mileage for day – 89
Sunday, September 15th. Swansea. A day to relax and take in the sights. The hotel is close to the marina, the Bus Museum and also the Waterfront Museum, which gives an insight into the industrial history of Wales and is described as ‘a museum for people who don’t like museums’! We’re close to all amenities so this evening’s dinner is not included, giving you a chance to choose your preferred restaurant. Overnight Swansea. Mileage for day – 0
Monday, September 16th. Swansea to Tenby. Today the route takes us on an arc via the National Botanic Garden of Wales, Laugharne and Pendine.
Pendine is where numerous Land Speed Record attempts were made in the 20s and 30s and during the summer months Babs, the car in which Parry Thomas was killed here in 1927, is on display in a specially constructed building.
Tenby is a very picturesque little town and there will be ample time to explore. Overnight Tenby. Mileage for day – 63
Tuesday, September 17th. Tenby to Aberystwyth, via St. Davids. Initially heading west to St. Davids and the amazing cathedral we turn north and skirting Cardigan Bay the route takes in the National Coracle Museum at Cenarth Falls, the picturesque port of Aberaeron and the ruined abbey at Strata Florida before an overnight stay in the university town of Aberystwyth.
In addition to the Vale of Rheidol Railway the town boasts the world’s largest camera obscura. Overnight Aberystwyth. Mileage for day – 101. Please see note at end reference accommodation!
Wednesday, September 18th. Aberystwyth to Portmeirion. Leaving Aberystwyth we wind our way along the Dyfi estuary to Machynlleth where everybody can check their credentials at the Centre For Alternative Technology. This fascinating place is dedicated to conservation and clean energy – even the lift is water powered!
From Machynlleth we once more hug the coast via Barmouth and Harlech to Portmeirion, the magical Italianate village nestling on the edge of the Snowdonia foothills. Famous as the setting for the cult TV series ‘The Prisoner’ you’ll be following in the footsteps of many famous guests at the hotel and the chalets.
Noel Coward wrote Blithe Spirit whilst staying here, and Gregory Peck, Ingrid Bergman, Paul McCartney, and Jools Holland are just a few ‘celebrities’ who have spent time here. The accommodation is split between the hotel and various luxury rooms in the village itself so book early and state your preference! Overnight Portmeirion. Mileage for day – 70
Thursday September 19th. Portmeirion / Blaenau Ffestiniog. Just in case you’ve not had enough sensory overload on the trip so far we take the Ffestiniog Railway to Blaenau Ffestiniog.
The scenery on this former slate quarry line is breathtaking and early bookers will be allocated the limited seats on the first class carriage. The Minffordd station is on the main road opposite the drive entrance to Portmeirion so the energetic might like to walk the one mile. Overnight Portmeirion. Mileage for day 0 / 2.
Friday September 20th. Portmeirion to Ruthin. Leaving Portmeirion we head into Snowdonia, climbing the Nant Gwynant Pass before dropping down into Betws-y-Coed and skirting Denbigh Moors (part of the infamous ‘EVO Triangle’ that has claimed national notoriety as the route for high speed driving), to our final destination of the tour, the medieval market town of Ruthin. Overnight Ruthin. Mileage for day 54.
Saturday, September 21st. Ruthin. In the morning we have a short guided tour of the town followed by a visit to the ancient gaol with its fascinating history which includes a period as a munitions factory.
Returning to our cars a scenic route takes us to lunch in an old watermill. Following lunch there’s a visit to a Museum of the Fifties, which houses a section devoted to the Great Train Robbery as the truck used is exhibited, and then a meander through the lanes back to Ruthin. The final evening meal is a medieval banquet, complete with entertainment. Mileage for day – 30
Sunday, September 22nd. Departure for home
The package includes the following:
- One night’s accommodation on a dinner, bed & breakfast basis at the 4-star St. Pierre Hotel, Chepstow.
- Two nights’ accommodation on a bed & breakfast basis at the 5-star Morgans Hotel, Swansea.
- Dinner in the Grape & Olive Restaurant, Swansea, on Sunday September 14th.
- One night’s accommodation on a dinner, bed & breakfast basis at the 3-star Lamphey Court Hotel & Spa, near Tenby.
- One night’s accommodation on a dinner, bed & breakfast basis at the 3-star Conrah Hotel, Aberystwyth. PLEASE NOTE!! The Conrah has only 17 rooms so an overspill hotel has been arranged two miles away, but dinner will be at the Conrah with transport provided. Conrah Hotel allocation will be on ‘first booked’ basis.
- Two nights’ accommodation on a dinner, bed & breakfast basis at the 4-star Portmeirion Hotel & village.
- Two nights’ accommodation on a dinner, bed and breakfast basis at the 4-star Ruthin Castle Hotel & Spa (includes Saturday night medieval banquet)
- Tour of Welsh Whisky Distillery
- Entry to Swansea Bus Museum
Entry to Swansea Waterfront Museum
- Entry to Welsh Botanical Gardens
- Funicular railway, Aberystwyth
- Entry to Camera Obscura Aberystwyth
- Entry to Centre for Alternative Energy, Machynlleth
- Return journey Ffestiniog Railway Minffordd to Blaenau Ffestiniog
- Guided tour of Ruthin
- Entry to Ruthin Gaol
- Entry to Nantclwyd House, Ruthin
- Lunch at Brookhouse Mill, Denbigh
- Entry to Museum of the Fifties, Denbigh
- Detailed road book with route instructions
- Rally plates
- Services of experienced tour director
- Plus sundry other extras!
Note: There may be minor variations to the above itinerary should circumstances dictate
Space precludes a detailed description of everything you will see, so the information here is necessarily a synopsis. However, the low daily mileage allows plenty of time to relax and enjoy the stunning scenery and quiet roads as well as hotel leisure facilities. If you have any queries please don’t hesitate to call me on 01824 790280, or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Please note! The event is restricted to just twenty-five cars so early booking is recommended to avoid disappointment.
Ruthin Castle banquet – fancy dress not obligatory!
6th Dragon Trail – Approximate Route In Green – 365 Miles In Nine Days