West Wales, home to the patron St David, has a fascinating religious heritage with much of it still possible to enjoy.
St David’s has been a site of continuous daily Christian worship since St David founded his mission here in the 6th century. The current cathedral, started in 1182, and the adjacent ruined 14th century Bishop’s Palace do real justice to the accolade of being the most visited faith heritage sites in Wales. The ancient tradition of Pilgrimage is still strong here and St David’s shrine was fully restored in 2012 with a new pilgrimage centre opening in 2013.
SUNDAY - From your local deoarture point, we travel to Chepstow where allow some free time for lunch on arrival. Following lunch, we are joined by a Blue Badge Guide as we take the short journey to Tintern Abbey in Wales (Admission Included), where we enjoy a guided tour. Tintern was only the second Cistercian foundation in Britain, and the first in Wales. The present-day remains are a mixture of building works covering a 400-year period between 1131 and 1536. Very little remains of the first buildings but you will marvel at the vast windows and later decorative details displayed in the walls, doorways and soaring archways. The lands of the abbey were divided into agricultural units or granges, worked on by lay brothers. On September 3, 1536 Abbot Wyche surrendered Tintern Abbey to King Henry VIII’s officials and ended a way of life which had lasted 400 years.
Mid-afternoon, we take the short drive to your overnight hotel the 4* St Pierre Marriott Hotel & Country Club near Chepstow. On arrival you will enjoy a traditional Afternoon Tea whilst your cases are transferred to your rooms. The rest of the afternoon is yours to spend at leisure enjoying this magnicient hotel and its extensive leisure facilities before evensong in the little church adjacent to the hotel. Dinner follows in the hotel restaurant tonight. Meals - Afternoon Tea, Dinner
MONDAY - This morning following breakfast we head to St Woolos Cathedral in Newport where we are met by a Blue Badge Guide for a tour. Legend has it that Gwynllyw (Woolos is an English corruption of his name) founded the Cathedral in c. 500. Little is known for certain about this saint, but according to medieval tradition, he was a feared warlord and raider who knew King Arthur. He was married to Gwladys, daughter of Brychan (or Brecon) and it is through her piety, and that of their son Cadoc, that Gwynllyw was converted to Christianity.
Late morning, we travel to Llandaff Cathedral in Cardiff where we enjoy time at leisure followed by time for lunch.
This afternoon, we depart Cardiff and head to Brecon Cathedral accompanied by a Blue Badge Guide, where we enjoy a guided tour followed by Evensong in the cathedral. Late afternoon, we travel to Swansea and the 4* Swansea Marriott Hotel, where we arrive late afternoon. The Swansea Marriott will be your base for the next 5 nights and on arrival you can enjoy some leisure time ahead of dinner in the hotel restaurant this evening. Meals - Breafast, Dinner
TUESDAY – This morning following breakfast, we head to St Fagan’s - the National History Museum of Wales. St Fagans is an open-air museum in Cardiff chronicling the historical lifestyle, culture, and architecture of the Welsh people.
Mid-afternoon, a Blue Badge Guide joins us as we head to Llantwit Major and St Illtud’s Church where we enjoy a guided tour followed by a short act of worship taken by your Vicar. The church is notable not only for its connections with the 6th century Celtic saint, but also for the fact that from Illtud’s llan (community) a number of other major figures of the Celtic church were sent, including Samson of Dôl. The church has among its features: spectacular medieval wall paintings, a carved stone ‘Jesse niche’ and medieval reredos, Celtic stones dating back to the 8th century, squints, and a wonderful 15th century oak roof in the western part of the church.
Late afternoon, we return to your hotel in time for dinner. Meals – Breakfast, Dinner
WEDNESDAY (Subject to Tides) – Following breakfast, we are joined by a Blue Badge Guide, as we travel to Tenby to embark on a full day excursion to Caldey Island, which is rich in religious heritage. Caldey Island lies cradled in the magnificent South Pembrokeshire coastline on the western fringes of Wales. It is one of Britain's holy islands.
The Cistercian monks of Caldey continue a tradition which began there in Celtic times. More than a thousand years of prayer and quiet living have made this remote and beautiful island a haven of tranquility and peace.
The monks and islanders are pleased to welcome day-visitors to share the delights of their island home throughout the summer season. The Abbot has granted us permission to use the church of St David this afternoon for worship, which will be taken by your Vicar.
Late afternoon, we return to your hotel in time for dinner. Meals – Breakfast, Dinner
THURSDAY – This morning following breakfast, we travel to St Dogmael’s Abbey. St Dogmaels was formally founded by Robert fitz Martin and his wife, Maud Peverel, on 10 September 1120, and built on, or very near to, the site of the ancient pre-Norman-conquest church of Llandudoch. The church, which stands alongside the abbey today, is of much later Victorian origins. Links with the medieval past remain amongst the ruins of the old abbey church where original 15th-century floor tiles can still be seen in large areas along the length of the nave.
The site takes its name from Dogmael, a 6th-century Christian saint, reputedly the cousin of St David, Wales’s very own patron saint.
Construction of the abbey continued from the 12th through to the 16th century when, following the dissolution, it was converted into a private mansion. High profile individuals such as Gerald of Wales (Giraldus Cambrensis) and the archbishop of Canterbury enjoyed the overnight hospitality of the abbey.
This afternoon, we head to Aberglasney Gardens, the finest gardens in Wales. There is mention of ‘nine green gardens’ on this site in a poem dating from medieval times, but it is not until the days of William ap Thomas or Sir William Thomas, knighted by Henry VIII, that the history of Aberglasney is better documented. He became the first High Sheriff of Carmarthenshire in 1541-2 and added the Aberglasney chapel to Llangathen Church. Although we know little about the way the house here looked during his day it was grand enough to catch the eye of a powerful bishop fifty years later. It was during the reign of Queen Elizabeth I that the estate was bought by an ambitious Bishop. Anthony Rudd was consecrated Bishop of St David’s in 1594 and is credited, along with his son Sir Rice Rudd, with having rebuilt Aberglasney and creating the now famous Cloister Garden.
Late afternoon, we say goodbye to Aberglasney as we return to our hotel with some free time before dinner. This evening, we enjoy dinner in the hotel restaurant. Meals – Breakfast, Dinner
FRIDAY – This morning following breakfast, we enjoy a full day excursion to St David’s - the smallest city in Britain set in a sea girt peninsula: stunning evocative landscapes holding secrets of some of the oldest history in Britain: a magnet for pilgrims and tourists for centuries: home of the patron saint, Dewi Sant – his shrine is at the heart of the great cathedral that holds his name. On arrival in St David’s we embark on a 1.5 mile Pilgrimage Walking Tour to the birthplace of St David before returning to the Cathedral for prayers at his shrine. We then enjoy a light lunch in the Cathedral before enjoying a guided tour of the Cathedral, culminating in a Pilgrimage Eucharist Service in the Lady Chapel taken by your Vicar.
Late afternoon we return to your hotel in time for dinner and your final night. Meals – Breakfast, Light Lunch, Dinner
SATURDAY – Today following breakfast, it is finally time to say goodbye to the Swansea Marriott as we head for home taking the memories of this very special religious heritage tour with us.
We arrive back at your original departure point mid to late afternoon. Meals - Breakfast
Housed within a historic 14th century manor home in Chepstow, St. Pierre Marriott Hotel & Country Club is surrounded by 400 acres of parkland in the beautiful Wye Valley. Stretch out in the immaculately designed rooms, which offer pillowtop bedding, high-speed internet and a flat-screen TV, or book one of our suites for breathtaking country views. Additional hotel amenities include a heated indoor pool and a fully equipped gym, as well as a tranquil on-site spa*. Perfect your swing on one of our two championship golf courses*, which offer challenging play and wonderful views. Enjoy one of the outstanding hotel restaurants for seasonal cuisine, a cocktail or a delicious Afternoon Tea.
* Extra charges apply
The Swansea Marriott Hotel offers superb service and a prime waterfront location. Guest rooms are spacious and comfortable with high-speed internet access and plush bedding. The hotel offers a Cast Iron Bar & Grill restaurant, which features Welsh and global cuisine as well as breathtaking waterfront views. Additional amenities include a heated indoor pool and a fully equipped gym. The Swansea Marriott Hotel is an excellent base from which to explore West Wales.
GUEST ROOMS - Each of the guest rooms offer modern comforts including air conditioning - High-speed Wi-Fi - 24-hour Room Service - Ample desk space - Flat-screen TV, premium cable, and pay-per-view movies feature - Hairdryer - Iron/Ironing board - Tea/Coffee making facilities - Ensuite Bathroom - Direct Dial Telephone - Safe - Alarm Clock
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All prices are PER PERSON
All tours are operated by TML Travel Group Limited and are subject to availability and terms & conditions of the TML Travel Group trading charter. All prices are per person based on sharing a twin/double bedded room and are valid for new bookings only. Single occupancy supplement and Insurance not included. New coaches may not be available on all tours. Offers maybe withdrawn at any time. Every attempt is made to keep the information guides up-to-date, however tours maybe subject to change and you will be notified. if this is the case. WE REQUIRE A MINIMUM OF 35 PAYING PASSENGERS IN ORDER TO OPERATE THIS TOUR.