Holyhead, Wales, United Kingdom
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Join this fascinating tour to travel on the old Ffestiniog slate train. A miniature steam-hauled train runs along a 13½-mile narrow-gauge line connecting the mountains at Blaenau Ffestiniog with the coast at Porthmadog.
Travel by coach through the farmlands of Anglesey, crossing the Menai Strait to the mainland and entering mountainous Snowdonia National Park. Here, deep in the Colwyn Valley, lies picture-postcard Beddgelert village with traditional stone-built, slate-roofed cottages. The Colwyn river snakes under the twin arches of the old stone bridge.
Leave the coach in attractive, busy little Porthmadog, built on land reclaimed from the sea in the 19th century. Porthmadog was once a flourishing slate port, with the narrow-gauge Ffestiniog Railway, completed in 1836, bringing slate from the quarries of Blaenau Ffestiniog. The railroad closed in 1964 but has since been restored and re-opened. Enjoy a few minutes in the harbor area of Porthmadog.
Board the train for the 1¼-hour journey along the original railway's route. At Dduallt, you'll come to a section of the line called the spiral, where the railway, uniquely in Britain, crosses over itself to gain elevation. The train puffs its way slowly up the steep gradients to reach the slate-mining town of Blaenau Ffestiniog.
Re-board your coach and continue through the delightful and rural Vale of Ffestiniog and the so-called Crimea Pass. Steep, wooded hillsides adorned with dry-stone walls rise to granite outcroppings, as the roads twists and turns the length of the upper River Lledr. Take photos near Dolwyddelan Castle -- an enchanting ruin on an exposed hilltop above the treeline.
Welcome to the distinctly alpine Betws-y-Coed. This beautifully-situated Victorian resort lies amid conifer-clad crags, historic bridges, waterfalls and placid countryside. You'll stop here for lunch.
Continuing west from Betws-y-Coed, travel through the stunning Llanberis Pass, at the foot of Mount Snowdon itself, before descending to lower ground and the fertile plains and to Anglesey and Holyhead.
Lunch might be served in Betws-y-Coed, Porthmadog or Beddgelert, depending on the routing on the day. Photo stops in Snowdonia National Park are subject to traffic conditions on the day.