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AITO Tour Operator of The Year 2016 - Gold AwardThe Telegraph Travel Awards Winner 2017

Welsh Steam Railway Experience

Take to the scenic rails of Wales and steam through some of the UK’s most arresting scenery, with three nights in impossibly pretty Portmeirion.

Make your way by road or rail to the model village of Portmeirion, then enjoy a couple of days nostalgic travel by steam amidst the Snowdonia National Park scenery that has inspired poets, painters and musicians for centuries, and which today attracts visitors to Wales from all over the world. Makes a great celebration trip for a special birthday or anniversary – just let us know if we can tailor-make an extra treat for you!

At A Glance

Best Time To Go

April to October

Why not...

Extend your holiday with a longer rail tour of Wales?

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Day One – Travel to Portmeirion

You might choose to arrive by car, along some of our favourite Welsh roads, taking in the Brecon Beacons and Cardigan Bay from the south, or the dramatic North Wales coast on the way to your accommodation in Portmeirion. Alternatively make your way by train to the nearby station from where we will arrange a transfer for you to the hotel.

Your Hotel in Portmeirion

There is nowhere in the UK quite like the ‘idea village’ of Portmeirion, a slice of multi-coloured Italianate fantasy spread across the cliffs overlooking wide Afon Dwyryd estuary. Famous as the location for cult 60s TV show The Prisoner, Portmeirion has attracted the stylish and discerning traveller since its creation in the 1930s, the hotel always at the centre of activity. Simply furnished and comfortable estuary-view rooms contrast with ornate, stylised public-space interiors (much of which designer Clough Williams-Ellis rescued and retained from Victorian and earlier ruins) featuring carefully curated antique furniture, vast sofas and squishy armchairs, set around head-height marble fireplaces leading to a grand oak staircase. Books on art, architecture, gardening and design are left here and there for guests to ponder along with a cocktail from the bar. The arrestingly presented restaurant – restyled by Sir Terence Conran in 2005 – has something of a deco feel, the menu of Wales-inspired classics served by friendly local staff.

Hotel guests are invited to enjoy a complimentary guided walking tour around Portmeirion, as well as a free ‘land-train’ tour through the Gwyllt (‘Wildwood’ in Welsh) that extends far and wide from the village, and which features some of the UK’s largest trees, secret gardens, a derelict castle and rare wildflowers.

You’ll also discover the painstaking work that has gone in to developing a quite breath-taking array of exotic plants from all over the world, centred around the Japanese garden, replete with pagoda and lily-strewn lake, and the Oriental garden whose temple overlooks a Chinese bridge across yet another lake. All of this cross-crossed by 16 miles of footpaths through the Gwyllt and out to the coast, where simply superb views across the estuary await.

The village is open to visitors during the day, but in the evening to residents and hotels guests only, when you are free to roam its quiet, beautifully lit streets. A magical experience in the twilight.

Day Two – Steam Through Slate-country to Blaenau Ffestiniog

After a fine Welsh breakfast – perhaps taken on the terrace, weather permitting – you’ll be transferred to the nearby station to catch the steam service to Blaenau Ffestiniog, the very epicentre of Welsh slate-mining. Travelling in classic Pullman first-class style, the train chuffs its way through epic Snowdonia vistas, visiting atmospherically named stations such as Minffordd, Penrhyn and Tan y Bwlch along the way, with friendly, Welsh-speaking staff serving a full menu of food and drinks as you travel. Be sure to take time at the rear of the train in the beautifully restored observation car, the perfect vantage point from which to experience the scenery as you steam by at a relaxed pace.

At Blaenau Ffestiniog you may choose to stay on the train for the immediate return journey to Porthmadog, or the intrepid might like to take time to visit the extraordinary nearby Slate Caverns, whose shuttle bus meets the train for the few minutes’ journey to begin the Slate Mountain Adventure.

Upon return to Porthmadog, you’ll be met and transferred back to your hotel.

Day Three – By Steam from Porthmadog to Caernarfon and Edward’s Brutal Fortress

Return to Porthmadog this morning for the second of your Welsh steam experiences, this time to Caernarfon. Steaming from Harbour station, again in first-class comfort, the train meanders through more heroic Snowdonia landscape, visiting Pont Croesor, Beddgelert and Waunfawr stations amongst others on its way to Caernarfon. Here, you have time to explore Edward’s intimidating fortress Caernarfon Castle, whose polygonal towers reinforced its intention as a seat of power. To this day it dominates the skyline of this evocative ancient market town.

Again, at return journey’s end in Porthmadog, you’ll be transferred back to your hotel for a last night in Portmeirion.

Day Four – Head for Home

Enjoy a fine breakfast at your hotel before departing homeward-bound.


This holiday includes a stay in the breath-taking town of Portmeirion and rail journeys to Blaenau Ffestiniog and Caernarfon.


£575 per person in April & October, £645 per person in May to September.

Price is based on two people sharing an ensuite room for three nights on a bed and breakfast basis. Return first-class travel on the FWHR steam services from Porthmadog to Blaenau Ffestiniog and Porthmadog to Caernarfon is also included, along with all transfers.

Before your departure, you will receive personalised holiday information including full directions, recommended routes, and suggestions on places to visit depending on your interests and our local knowledge to help you get the most from your holiday.

All itineraries and room types are presented subject to availability at specific hotels.

The McKinlay Kidd Guarantee

All our holiday prices include a service charge of £9 per person per night towards the costs we incur in researching, planning and designing your holiday.

We guarantee to refund this service charge if you believe that arranging your holiday through McKinlay Kidd has not met your expectations for value. All we ask is that you write to us within 7 days of your return and explain your reason for claiming the refund. This will ensure that we can improve the experience for all our future guests.

Smile. You’re at Portmeirion.

Smile. You’re at Portmeirion.

“You’ll either love it or hate it.” That was the advice of a relative when I told him we were heading to Portmeirion for an overnight stay and a...


Check availability for Welsh Steam Railway Experience

This holiday can be arranged from April until the end of October.

To check the latest availability for this holiday complete the form below or call us. We will respond to your availability check within one working day if at all possible. Please bear with us on this - we work with a hand-picked selection of smaller hotels, guest houses, and other independent businesses, ensuring that you have the chance to explore off the beaten track and really get under the skin of the destination.

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