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Epsom, Ewell and District Centre

 Supporting the National Trust since 1971

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Tuesday 2nd May to Saturday 6th May 2017

Annual Holiday in North Wales

Day 1 – We joined the coach at the various pick-up points starting at 7.15am and the sun was shining down on us.

This glorious weather continued for the duration of our stay in Wales.  Other than a comfort stop, our first official visit in Wales was Erdigg Hall and gardens situated in the Wrexham area.  Originally owned by the Yorke family for 250 years.  Apparently the Yorke family were hoarders and hardly threw anything out.  That amounted to 30,000 objects being handed down to the National Trust.

From there we proceeded on driving through very pleasant countryside which gradually became more mountainous and Mount Snowdon came into view with the summit clear of any cloud cover.  We arrived at our hotel, the Celtic Royal in Caernarfon at 6pm where we were informed that Queen Victoria had already stayed there before us.

Day 2 – We visited Caernarfon Castle.  The building of this castle began in 1283.  The castle was built as a military stronghold as well as a seat of government and a royal palace.  The afternoon was spent at Plas Newydd House and gardens.  On route to Plas Newydd we were able to see Mount Snowdon’s summit once again as the weather was so good.  Plas Newydd is the ancestral home of the Marques of Anglesey.  The Marques commanded the cavalry at the battle of Waterloo.  This very impressive house sits above the shore of the Menai Straits where we were able to watch school children being taught the rudiments of sailing.

Day 3 – We were driven through Snowdonia’s National Park on route to Portmeirion.  With the glorious weather we were having the magnificent rugged countryside was shown off at its very best.  We had a different Blue Badge Guide for this journey who managed to give us non-stop information the whole journey through which turned our drive into something that for me was truly magical.  Then on to Portmeirion itself which was built by Sir Clough William-Ellis between 1925 and 1975 in the style of an Italian village.  Personally, this was on my visit list and I was not disappointed.  We then went on to Porthmadog to join up with another dream come true – a ride on the Ffestiniog narrow railway to Blaenau Ffestiniog and then, to cap a marvellous day we went to the station with the longest name in Great Britain – LLANFAIRPWLLGWYNGYLLOGOGERYCHWYRNDROBWLLLLANTYSWILIOGOGOGOCH pronounced Llan-vire-pooll-guin-gill-go-ger-u-queen-drob-ooll-llandusillio-gogo-goch.  Its translation is “The Church of Mary in the Hollow of the white hazel near the fierce whirlpool and the Church of Tysulio by the red cave”.  On our way back our driver pronounced it for us.  What a day; worth every penny!

Day 4 – Although I am not a gardening enthusiast, I found Bodnant Gardens was well worth the visit. Again, the glorious sunshine did help. The guide who met us at the entrance originally came from Cheam. The views and colours were magnificent.  Among the information given out was the fact that 49 gardeners were employed at Bodnant Gardens.  During the afternoon we visited Penrhyn Castle which was built close to a slate mine.  As well as the usual contents of a castle there was an excellent steam engine exhibition of engines used at the slate mines. These were engines we could climb on and fulfil that dream of being an engine driver.

Day 5 – Today was cloudy as we left on our way to Llangollen where we were able to watch canoes and inflatables making their way down the rapids.  We proceeded on through the Vale of Llangollen where we boarded a canal boat and crossed the famous Pontcysylte Aqueduct which was built by Thomas Telford between 1795 and 1805.  From here we proceeded home with a couple of stops.  When arriving in Epsom, the sun was still shining.

Final statement – A brilliant holiday, well organised, first class Blue Badge Guides and an excellent coach driver. Thank you Margaret.

Richard Polley

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