• Explore the Iron Age Castell Henllys with the resident archaeologist.
  • Go behind the scenes at St Davids Cathedral in Pembrokeshire.
  • Performances by a Welsh choir and a renowned Welsh harpist.

From whence springs the distinct Welsh identity? From their proud language, world famous orators and choirs? Or the castles and prehistoric settlements that dot the bucolic countryside? From Snowdonia in the North and Pembrokeshire in the West, venture through a land of magnificent, varied scenery to experience the history and heritage of Celtic Wales and its ancient tradition of myths and legends.

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Road Scholar Travel Reviews & Ratings
Has very high quality customer experiences and demonstrated commitment to responsible travel practices. read more
87% Recommend

4.5 out of 5
Excellent 23 Great 3 Average 1 Disappointing 1 Terrible 2
4.5 Guide
4.6 Activities
4.5 Lodging
4.3 Transportation
4.4 Meals
Celtic Wales: Snowdonia and Pembrokeshire

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Does Not Recommend

Road Scholar Owes My Mom A Huge Apology and Refund. Highly advise AGAINST using them. May 2018

  • Value 1.0
  • Guide 1.0
  • Activities 1.0
  • Lodging 1.0
  • Transportation 1.0
  • Meals 1.0
Let me preface this story with some background about myself: I backpacked through most of Europe by myself when I was studying abroad in Ireland. I suffered through horrendous bus rides, getting kicked out of seats on trains, sleeping in questionable hostels, and going weeks without being able to really do laundry. I know how crappy it can be to actually get from one place to another, and how worth it is to suffer through all of that just to lay eyes on something magnificent.

And yet, Road Scholar has, without a doubt, managed to give me the single worst travel experience I've ever had in my entire life, and we didn't even make it off the ground. I would never, ever, EVER recommend them to anyone looking to go anywhere, and as far as I'm concerned, Road Scholar needs to seriously reconsider their travel-making procedures and give my mother a huge apology and refund. (Also, I'm only in my twenties, so I have a lot of years ahead of me to make referrals.)

It all started with Road Scholar not getting us flights. We claimed our spot on a trip to the Lake region in Northern Italy, but no one ever called us back about any travel arrangements. It appeared we were on the trip IN Italy, but no one had bothered to make any arrangements to get us there. My mother called and left messages, emailed people, and the only response we got was that our flight should be booked at some point in early May (when our trip was set to start on May 22). Road Scholar urges people to book their flights through their preferred travel agency, which is who didn't call us back. Road Scholar, to market themselves as educational tourism rather than shallow "I just want to see things" tourism, partners up with different educational institutions, and ours was through Trinity College. The director of the Italian programs called us asking for our travel information, since she didn't have it yet. Interesting news to us. We were then told that we could make travel arrangements of our own (even though we were paying Road Scholar to do it for us) and then inform the program of our travel plans and how we were getting to our hotel. So we started to investigate making our own plans, when someone finally called us back saying that they were taking care of our travel arrangements, and they "didn't know why we hadn't had them made for us already." The director of the program was happy to hear this, because the Lake region of Italy is not as easily accessible as other areas.

We asked for upgraded seats because my mom has had both of her knees replaced, and while that doesn't inhibit her in the slightest from being active, it limits where she can sit on planes. In a cramped regular economy seat with no leg room on an international flight that was going to last 8-10 hours, she wouldn't have been able to walk off the plane because of how her knees would cramp up. But they said they could make the arrangements (which is also advertised on their website) so that was that. We got our itinerary, accommodations, and were all set. We were booked through United and Lufthansa (neither of which either of us will EVER book through again), so I downloaded the United app onto my iPhone so I could check us in and make sure we had mobile copies of our boarding passes in addition to the paper ones my mom printed out. We were all set to fly from Cincinnati to Washington D.C., from D.C. to Frankfurt, and from Frankfurt down to Verona where we would be meeting up with the group -- which, by the way, we never received any information regarding where the group was meeting, the transportation to the lake resort, etc. Nothing. Just "after you get there" stuff.

Then this morning, I woke up to a notification from United Airlines (and a text message alert that I had set up) saying that our flight to D.C. had been cancelled due to weather. Obviously I'm not blaming Road Scholar for that. What I am holding Road Scholar accountable for is what happened next: my mom called the Emergency Hotline (which is a recording -- and I HIGHLY recommend that they change this, because when I studied abroad, we had two emergency hotlines, both of which were always answered by real human beings, one for anything happening in the United States, and the other for the program, which was a different number for each location and a direct line to one of the program directors on the ground in the country you were actually in). We left a voicemail, someone named Mike called us back, and he was an absolute asshole. When you book your flight through a travel agency/group travel organization, if anything happens to your flight, it is the THEIR responsibility to take care of it. We were told by Road Scholar, and it's available on their website: "When you book your airfare through Road Scholar, we're there to help you in case of any emergencies." When Mike called us back and we told him that our flight to D.C. had been cancelled, he told us that he couldn't look up any other flights (on both United and any other airlines) for us to potentially get on to get to D.C for our transatlantic flight. Instead, he told us to call United ourselves and to go to the airport and talk to the desk agent. I then ended up on the phone (and on hold) the entire drive to the airport, which resulted in nothing because tons of flights had been cancelled due to airline politics and weather. We finally got to the desk agent at the airport, had a hell of a time getting rebooked on another flight, and weren't able to get the upgraded seats that we paid extra money for. When we called Road Scholar and Mike back to ask if during the course of our day when we would be traveling (and unable to make phone calls) he would call Lufthansa to at least make the airline aware of our need for better seating due to my mother's knee replacements, he was unhelpful and rude, at first attempting to refuse calling on our behalf and finally agreeing to, but only after repeatedly telling us "there's no guarantee of those seats" (something we definitely understood because we're not stupid).

Our rebooked flight wasn't set to leave until 7:45 PM tonight, putting us in Verona at 4:05 PM the next day (4 hours after the group transfer to the hotel), so we returned home instead of waiting around the airport for 12 hours. We got on both United and Lufthansa's websites and discovered that not only had our original itineraries not been removed, we had been double booked, one for a flight out of North Carolina to Munich through Delta, and another out of D.C. (the 7:45 PM flight) which had a 23 hour layover in Munich. A call to Road Scholar resulted in us being told that we had to contact the airlines. My mother was on the phone, talking to either United representatives or Lufthansa representatives, from about 9:30 AM to 2:00 PM. We were told we had reservations but no tickets, told we had tickets but couldn't see the numbers, told there were seats available for us to get upgraded to but we would have to try to get the desk agent in D.C. to arrange that for us, told that there was no guarantee we could get those seats, and more. It was incredible the amount of bureaucratic bullshit we had to put up with, especially since each airline wouldn't take any responsibility for us getting the seats we paid for and on a new flight, telling us "we'd have to talk to the other company about that." We finally called Road Scholar to see if there was anything more they could do, who encountered the same mess we already had, and all they did was eventually advise us to go back to the airport (a 45 minute drive) and talk to the desk agent to see IF they could put us in the upgraded seats -- ones we had already paid for and my mom couldn't make the trip without!

Then when asked how they would be getting us to our destination in the Lake region (which is not an easy place to get to, as I looked up the train and bus schedules myself, because - remember - I have tons of experience at this point traveling on the ground across Europe), they wouldn't outright say what our plans would be, which could've been anything from picking us up in the airport in a car, giving us a damn rental to drive ourselves, or simply paying for tickets and expecting us to haul all our luggage from the airport to the shuttle to the train station in Verona, take the 2+ hour train to a town an hour away from our destination, have to catch a bus to the actual town we were supposed to be in, and then walk the rest of the way there. Seeing what all happened, I would bet it would've been the latter, which isn't a problem for someone like me, but is an issue for someone like my mom.

The moral of the story here is that my mom and I shouldn't have had to be on the phone with anyone other than Road Scholar, PERIOD. Seeing as we paid well over $10,000 for this trip, the minute the flight was cancelled, Road Scholar should've called us to let us know that they would be making other arrangements for us to get to our trip in the Lake region of Italy. THEY should've been the ones on the phone, dealing with the airline bureaucrats, working their hardest to get us any combination of flights to get us to Italy in the seats that we paid for. Or, if it really came down to it, they should've made arrangements for us to be on this trip at another point in time, offered us another excursion in its place, or simply given us a refund. Instead, they didn't want to do the jobs that we paid them to do, and we were the ones that had to take time out of our day, which was already scheduled to be a hectic and stressful time because traveling is simply just that, to do Road Scholar's job. They didn't look out for us one single bit and completely and utterly RUINED what was supposed to have been a wonderful trip for me and my mom.

My mother has an adventurous and curious soul and hasn't gotten to go to Europe the way she always wanted to. Since I graduated college, my mother suggested taking a mother-daughter trip. This was supposed to be incredibly special for the both of us, getting to go somewhere new together (I hadn't explored Northern Italy much and that's where we decided to go), learning about the food and the culture, and bonding over all the amazing things we were going to be able to do. I think my mom was even more excited about this trip than I was, voraciously reading all the required/recommended reading, practicing Italian in her room so she could order correctly at restaurants, not giving up when we hit little bumps in the road along the way. Instead, we have been nothing but doubtful at best in the entire planning of this trip, and deeply disappointed and angered at worst. I will never again recommend Road Scholars to anyone looking to go on group trips. Instead, I will steer people away and recommend that they either find a better travel agency, book the trip themselves, or go through Rick Steve's program.

Road Scholar should issue my mother a refund and an apology or risk being sued.
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Operator Road Scholar


Does Not Recommend

They take advantage of the elderly May 2018

  • Value 1.0
  • Guide 4.0
  • Activities 1.0
  • Lodging 1.0
  • Transportation 1.0
  • Meals 1.0
I had high hopes for Road scholar. However, when I was diagnosed with cancer I got no sympathy from Road Scholar. The agents and management kept saying you should have purchased insurance. But the insurance was extremely expensive and would not have covered the cancellation fee either. I ended up attending anyways because I didn't want to lose my money. I felt sick the entire time and could barely complete the activities. The group leader was wonderful. But the program was very strict and I felt that they over charged for everything. They demonstrated shocking behavior for a non profit that is supposed to be all about education and supporting the elderly. Yet they constantly are sending catalogs and pushing expensive programs. I highly recommend taking your money elsewhere. They do not respect their customers and only care about money. They took advantage of a cancer patient and according to the others on my trip this is common.
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Operator Road Scholar


Does Not Recommend


  • Value 3.0
  • Guide 5.0
  • Activities 3.0
  • Lodging 4.0
  • Transportation 2.0
  • Meals 3.0
I would have enjoyed this trip much more if I felt I was being treated as an adult, the educated, enthusiastic traveler that I am.
Unfortunately, I took a fall and broke my arm near the end of the trip. I was shocked at the very insolent, uncaring attitude of Road Scholar. I received two calls from the insurance program my husband was encouraged to pay for for the trip (we usually use Travel Guard who is great). Both calls were very negative. Neither expressed concern about my condition and both apparently had called to state that ROAD SCHOLAR
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Operator Road Scholar


Does Not Recommend

Don't go! March 2017

  • Guide 1.0
  • Activities 4.0
  • Lodging 1.0
  • Meals 1.0
  • Value 2.0
  • Transportation 2.0
I took a four day bridge class at Jekyll Island Club Hotel. The class was mediocre. And I came home with over 50 BED BUG BITES! Please beware.

Operator Road Scholar



Excellent coverage of major cities and Guizhou Province January 2017

  • Value 5.0
  • Guide 5.0
  • Activities 5.0
  • Lodging 5.0
  • Transportation 5.0
  • Meals 5.0
Road Scholar (also known as Elderhostel) offers hundreds of tours worldwide, using local tour companies, sometimes universities. I have taken RS tours to Africa, China, and France and look forward to more. This was my first "tour" of China, but my 20th visit, with the rest on business. Our guide, Mei Mei, was one of the finest I've seen on tours. We started with Beijing and continued to Xian and then to Guizhou Province for a week in this fascinating area, which was new to me. We were able to meet the people in the villages, thanks to our guide, and enjoyed the chance to see and photograph such a variety of places in China. Hotels were excellent and appropriate to this type of tour (usually centrally located and very fine). Meals were family style and always good. Road Scholar makes its tours educational and doesn't push shopping as so many commercial ones do. Touring in China is very safe. You do have a lot of walking and RS tells you this in the tour, but it seems that a great deal of the walking is in those huge airports! I recommend Road Scholar and always turn to their catalogs to choose my next trip.
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Operator Road Scholar


Day 1: In Transit to Program

In Flight

Day 2: Arrival Day, Manchester

Meals: Lunch and Dinner

Accommodation: Crowne Plaza Manchester Airport

Lunch: In the hotel dining room for those arriving by lunchtime. A light lunch with coffee, tea and water. Other beverages are available for purchase.

Afternoon: Arrivals continue, with free time for those who have already arrived. At 5pm we will have an Orientation in the hotel. The Group Leader will greet everyone and lead introductions. This program is staffed with both a Group Leader, who will accompany us throughout the program and deal primarily with logistics, and a Study Leader who will lecture, conduct field trips and serve as an information resource on program-related topics. We will review the program theme, the up-to-date Daily Schedule and any changes, discuss safety guidelines, emergency procedures, roles and responsibilities and answer any questions you may have. We have set aside some free time in the schedule for your personal independent exploration. Please note that program activities, schedules and personnel may need to change due to local circumstances. In the event of changes, we will alert you as quickly as possible. Thank you for your understanding.

Dinner: A seated dinner will be taken in the hotel dining room with coffee, tea and water. Other beverages are available for purchase.

Evening: Free time to relax and prepare for the program ahead.

Day 3: Transfer to Betws-y-Coed, Bodnant Gardens, Conwy Castle, Betws-y-Coed

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner

Accommodation: Royal Oak

Breakfast: In the hotel. A wide range of hot and cold options, as well as coffee, tea, water and fruit juices.

Morning: This morning we transfer by motor coach to Betws-y-Coed via Bodnant Gardens, situated above the River Conwy and one of the finest gardens in the world.

Lunch: Served local fare at Bodnant Gardens.

Afternoon: Travel back to medieval times with a field trip to the imposing Conwy Castle. We’ll enjoy a lecture in the field on the Wars of Edward I, before exploring the castle. Conwy Castle was constructed by Edward between 1283 and 1289 to act as a key fortress in containing the rebellious Welsh. The views from the battlements are breathtaking, looking out across mountains and sea down to the roofless shell of the Great Hall.

Dinner: In the hotel.

Evening: Your Study Leader will introduce what you will see, learn and discover over the next eight days.

Day 4: Landscapes & Copper Mines, Betws-y-Coed

Meals: Breakfast and Dinner

Accommodation: Royal Oak

Breakfast: In the hotel.

Morning: This morning we board the motor coach for a field trip to Great Orme, Llandudno’s mountain, on a beautiful vehicular tram ride. The Great Orme Tramway has been operating since 1902 and was considered an engineering marvel of its age – it is still the only cable-hauled tramway operating on British public roads. We’ll follow this experience with a visit to Great Orme Copper Mines, a Neolithic mine originally abandoned circa 600 BC.

Lunch: This meal has been excluded from the program cost and is on your own to enjoy what you like. The Group Leader will be happy to offer suggestions and give directions.

Afternoon: Investigate through two lectures “The Historical Landscape of the Celts” and “The Roman Invasion”.

Dinner: In the hotel.

Evening: Free time. Your Group Leader will be happy to offer suggestions should you wish to further explore the local area.

Day 5: The Isle of Anglesey, Betws-y-Coed

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner

Accommodation: Royal Oak

Breakfast: In the hotel.

Morning: Relax with some free time, or take a walk around the picturesque village of Betws-y-Coed.

Lunch: In the hotel.

Afternoon: Board the motor coach and discover the ancient island of Anglesey. We’ll explore Penmon, where you can see the Romanesque architecture of the island’s medieval monastery before continuing onwards to Beaumaris Village, Gaol and Courthouse. Be sure to keep an eye out for the tongue-twisting town of Llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwyrndrobwllllantysiliogogogoch, the second longest place name in the world!

Dinner: In the hotel.

Evening: Free time.

Day 6: Environment, Cultural Heritage, Industrial History, Betws-y-Coed

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner

Accommodation: Royal Oak

Breakfast: In the hotel.

Morning: Investigate the cultural heritage and environment of Wales during a lecture in the hotel, before boarding the motor coach for Snowdonia National Park and a ride on the Ffestiniog railway.

Lunch: In the hotel dining room.

Afternoon: Enjoy a lecture in the field on the Welsh slate industry at Llanberis Slate Museum and quarry followed by a field trip to the Royal Town of Caernarfon. Caernarfon’s royal connections extend all the way back to ancient Celtic chieftains still exist to the present day and the 1969 investiture of Prince Charles as the Prince of Wales. We’ll examine the role of King Edward I’s impressive medieval fortress, Caernarfon Castle, a seat of power and a symbol of English dominance over the subdued Welsh. Due to time constraints we will not be able to visit the castle.

Dinner: In the hotel.

Evening: Free time.

Day 7: Transfer to Lamphey, Beddgelert, Fishing & Churches

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner

Accommodation: Lamphey Court Hotel

Breakfast: In the hotel.

Morning: We board the motor coach and transfer to Lamphey, a peaceful village on the south coast of Pembrokeshire. En-route we will pay visits to the village of Beddgelert, and the beguiling fantasy town of Portmeiron.

Lunch: Taken at the National Library of Wales.

Afternoon: Take an expert-led look at the National Library of Wales, before learning about the importance of fishing and trade to the local community during a field based lecture in Aberaeron, with its Georgian houses and harbour.

Dinner: In the hotel.

Evening: This evening’s lecture reveals the Celtic history of the local area through the inhabitants’ religious convictions and introduces you to the architecture and landscape of the Pembrokeshire National Park.

Day 8: Castell Henllys, The Preseli Mountains, St. David’s, Lamphey

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner

Accommodation: Lamphey Court Hotel

Breakfast: In the hotel.

Morning: Today we’ll explore the archaeology of the region with a field trip to Castell Henllys via the mysterious Preseli mountains, where you will learn about the early history of Wales. Arriving at Castell Henllys, we’ll find an ancient and important Iron Age hill fort currently under excavation by archaeologists and home to some accurate reconstructions of Iron Age dwellings.

Lunch: Lunch will be taken in the town of Newport.

Afternoon: Further explore the themes of ancient Wales and early Christianity as you continue on to Britain’s smallest city, St. David’s. Situated on the far west coast of Wales and dominated by its 12th Century cathedral, it was granted city status due to its cathedral but is, in reality, a small and attractive village.

Dinner: In the hotel.

Evening: Relax and enjoy a performance from a local harpist.

Day 9: Laugharne, Locals, Mixed Voice Choir, Lamphey

Meals: Breakfast and Dinner

Accommodation: Lamphey Court Hotel

Breakfast: In the hotel.

Morning: Free time.

Lunch: On your own to enjoy what you like.

Afternoon: This afternoon the motor coach departs for the Drefach Felindre Woollen Mill in Carmarthen, before continuing on to Laugharne – a town perhaps best known for its associations with Dylan Thomas.

Dinner: In the hotel.

Evening: Meet and converse with locals and have the opportunity of experiencing one of the true joys of Welsh culture – a Mixed Voice Choir – during an evening of farewells to this beautiful country.

Day 10: Transfer to Heathrow, Caerleon Roman Fortress, London Heathrow

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner

Accommodation: Radisson Blu Heathrow Hotel.

Breakfast: In the hotel.

Morning: Leaving Wales for London Heathrow by motor coach, we will stop en-route at Caerleon. Caerleon is the site of one of Britain’s three Roman Legionary Fortresses, and some even believe it to be the location of King Arthur’s Camelot. In 830 AD Nennius wrote Historia Brittonum and included a list of King Arthur’s battles, one of which he located at “The City of the Legion” – this could well be Caerleon. The remains of some 75 amphitheatres have been located in the wider Roman Empire and Caerleon’s is the best preserved example in Britain.

Lunch: A packed lunch of sandwiches, fruit and a drink or similar will be provided to make the most of this busy transfer day.

Afternoon: The transfer continues.

Dinner: In the hotel dining room.

Evening: Free time.

Day 11: Program Concludes, London Heathrow

Meals: Breakfast

Breakfast: In the hotel. Some participants may depart prior to breakfast.

Morning: Shuttle bus to Heathrow Airport for onward flights. This concludes our program. If you are returning home, safe travels. If you are staying on independently, have a wonderful time. If you are transferring to another Road Scholar program, detailed instructions are included in your Information Packet for that program. We hope you enjoy Road Scholar learning adventures and look forward to having you on rewarding programs in the future.

Dates & Pricing

Price From

$ 2,899

Price Per Day:

$ 264 per day
  • Select Custom Arrangements to get to and from Road Scholar-provided airfare for your program
Prices may vary due to local taxes and trip seasonality. Click "Request Info" to inquire directly with the tour operator for the final trip price.
Trip Includes
  • 9 nights of accommodations
  • 8 expert-led lectures
  • 12 expert-led field trips
  • 3 hands-on experiences
  • 2 performances
  • An experienced Group Leader
  • Customary gratuities throughout the program
  • The Road Scholar Travel Protection Plan, 24-hour-a-day emergency assistance coverage
  • Taxes
Meals Included:

9 Breakfasts, 7 Lunches, 9 Dinners

Flights & Transport
Only ground transport
Group Size:
Standard Group

Crowne Plaza Manchester Airport: 1 night  Manchester

The Crowne Plaza Manchester hotel boasts a gym, stylish restaurant, high speed WiFi and new meeting rooms. The hotel also has airport parking with a free shuttle bus to Manchester airport and the airport train station. Superbly located on the Manchester Airport complex, the four-star Crowne Plaza Manchester Airport Hotel offers you fantastic accommodation with easy access to the M56, M60 and M62, as well as Manchester City Centre.


Royal Oak: 4 nights  North Wales.

The Royal Oak Hotel is a picturesque building, which was once a coaching inn. Situated in the centre of the village amidst charming scenery and overlooking the River Llugwy.


Lamphey Court Hotel: 3 nights  Pembrokeshire

Situated in acres of scenic grounds next to a medieval Bishop’s palace, The Lamphey Court Hotel is a 19th century Georgian mansion which has a luxury spa, all-weather tennis courts and stylish rooms with views over Pembrokeshire National Park. All rooms have a private bathroom and come with a TV, and some rooms have parkland views. Free on-site parking is available, and free Wi-Fi is also accessible throughout the hotel.


Radisson Blu Heathrow Hotel: 1 night  Hayes, Middlesex.

Close to Heathrow Airport.

Start City
End City

Conway Davies

Conway Davies earned a degree in history at Bangor University, a master's from Cardiff University, and is completing his Ph.D. at Swansea University. Conway has extensive knowledge of the Welsh language and the history and culture of both North and South Wales. He is the author of two books, "The History of Poor Law Provision in South Wales" and "Out of Sight, Out of Mind: the History of Mental Health provision in South Wales.

Trip ID#: CelWalRoa

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