10% Ponant Bonus
In alliance with Smithsonian Journeys.
This cruise is part of a collection of PONANT voyages that are specially tailored for English-speaking travellers who want to engage with the world. In addition to the usual elements of the PONANT experience, the listed price for these voyages includes transfers to and from the ship, talks and discussions aboard ship by world class experts, and a shore excursion or activity in each port of call that encourages guests to embrace the sights, sounds, tastes, and smells of the local environment and culture.
Join us for this 9-day cruise aboard Le Dumont-d'Urville exploring the rich history and culture that thrives on either side of the Irish Sea.
Begin with a night aboard ship docked near London Bridge, then set sail in the early morning down the Thames to discover historic Dover Castle, perched high on the emblematic White Cliffs, and perhaps visit the nearby UNESCO Heritage site of Canterbury Cathedral.
Enjoy a morning on the Isle of Wight visiting Osborne House, Queen Victoria's favourite residence, before a relaxing afternoon cruising along the shores of the English Channel. Arrive the following day some 30 miles off the southwest coast of Cornwall in the Isles of Scilly, where you visit the world-famous Tresco Gardens.
Crossing the Irish Sea, you call in Kinsale, Ireland, your gateway to proudly Irish Cork and its iconic Jameson Distillery. Holyhead, Wales, on the Isle of Anglesey, is where you may visit medieval Caernarfon Castle, built in the late 13th century by Edward I as the architectural capstone to the English conquest of Wales, or you may choose to explore the National Trust's Bodnant Garden.
Belfast, Northern Ireland's dynamic capital, is home to Titanic Belfast, a state-of-the-art museum on the site of the yard where the ill-fated ship was built. It is also your opportunity to experience the spectacular unspoiled scenery of the Antrim Coast and the famed Giant’s Causeway of over 40,000 interlocking, hexagonal columns, formed by the cooling of molten lava some six million years ago.
Your final full day is spent exploring the fabled Hebrides, beginning with the mystical abbey of the Isle of Iona, home to the first Christian settlement in Scotland. Next, you will proceed to Duart Castle, ancestral home of Clan Maclean on the Isle of Mull, and ending in the charming fishing port of Tobermory, whose distillery produces a renowned single malt scotch whisky.
Your voyage comes to an end in Glasgow, Scotland's modern cultural capital.
A voyage specially tailored for English-speaking travellers including discussions with experts, transfers before and after your cruise, and an included excursion in each port of call. Engaging discussions...
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Miriam C. Davis received a B.A. in History from Emory University before studying Scottish history at the University of St. Andrews on a Bobby Jones Scholarship. She then received an M.A. in Medieval Archaeology from the University of York on a Fulbright Fellowship, and a Ph.D. in Medieval Archaeology from the University of California, Santa Barbara. She has participated in archaeological excavations in Scotland and England. After teaching for sixteen years at Delta State University, she left as Professor of History and is now a freelance writer. Miriam has served as the Smithsonian Journeys Expert on tours of Scotland and Ireland since 2011.
Language spoken: English
Hugh Neighbour brings many years of experience as a diplomat for the U.S. and an officer in the U.S. Navy, mostly working overseas.Specialized in political and economic affairs, he was posted in Latin America, Asia/Pacific, Europe, the Middle East, and North America.Hugh was awarded the Secretary of State’s Career Achievement Award as well as a number of Department of State awards for distinguished service.Since retiring from the U.S. State Department in 2010, Hugh has worked as a consultant in both Washington and overseas, served as an official observer for several elections overseas, and lectured aboard high-end cruise ships. Several times a year, Hugh directs a course in advanced foreign area studies to select groups in the Washington region.Hugh willoffer a fresh, up-to-date perspective on the history, culture, and current affairs of the fascinating peoples and places you will visit.
Language spoken : English
Photo credit : ARR
Subject to withdrawal in case of force majeure
Important trip details
Boarding conditions and passenger travel abilities
We invite you to read our boarding conditions and passenger travel abilities by clicking here.
Any new reservation implies the acceptance of these conditions.
The evolving COVID-19 health formalities are available in real time by clicking here.
Given the particularly changing international sanitary context, this itinerary as well as the land programmes and shore excursions may have to evolve according to port authorisations and governmental regulations in force at the time of your trip.
Therefore, for even greater peace of mind, we strongly recommend that you book your land programmes before and after your cruise with PONANT.
Health formalities related to COVID-19 will be confirmed to you before your departure.
In this exceptional context, your safety remains our first priority. The effectiveness of our procedures, our cutting-edge medical equipment and the smaller scale of our ships means we can offer maximum safety so that you can relax and enjoy your cruise. The revised passenger circuit and our enhanced hygiene measures can be found on this page: https://au.ponant.com/sail-with-confidence.
The information below is current but subject to change at any time without advance notice from government authorities. Please consult your respective government agencies for visa and health information.
Passport valid for at least six (6) months beyond the completion of your trip. Passport must contain at least two completely clear, blank, unused visa pages for each visa required, not including any amendment pages. Visa pages with stains or ink from other pages in the passport are not usable. Guests who deviate from the scheduled embarkation or disembarkation port should research the foreign entry requirements for the port country. Due to government regulations, regrettably, Ponant will have to deny boarding to any guest who fails to obtain the appropriate travel documentation for this trip.
Warning about the use of drones: the use of drones aboard PONANT ships, whether they are sailing at sea, at a port of call or anchored, is strictly forbidden. The use of drones on land in the Arctic and Antarctic regions is also strictly forbidden by international polar regulations. In other regions, it may be possible to use drones on land if permission has been obtained from the relevant authorities of each country and each region travelled through, as well as a pilot’s licence that should be obtained from your home country. Passengers are responsible for obtaining these permits; they should be able to present them at all times. Passengers who do not obtain these authorisations expose themselves to the risk of legal proceedings.
Ideal clothes for life on board:
During the days spent on board, you are advised to wear comfortable clothes or casual outfits. The entire ship is air-conditioned, so a light sweater, a light jacket or a shawl may be necessary. When moving about in the public areas of the ship and the decks, light but comfortable shoes are recommended.
In the evening, you are advised to wear smart-casual attire, especially when dining in our restaurants where wearing shorts and tee-shirts is not allowed.
Depending on the itinerary and the program of your cruise, an Officer’s Evening with a white dress code may be organized. Therefore, we encourage you to bring a stylish white outfit for the occasion (otherwise black and white).
During the cruise, two gala evenings will be organised on board. Thus, we recommend that you bring one or two formal outfits.
A small shop is available on board offering a wide range of outfits, jewellery, leather goods and many accessories.
A laundry service (washing/ironing) is available on board, but unfortunately there are no dry cleaning services. For safety reasons, your cabin is not equipped with an iron.
OUTFITS ON BOARD:
In your hand luggage, remember to bring any medicines that you need, and possibly a small spare bag of toiletries (in case of delay in the delivery of your baggage by the airline). Remember to always have your travel documents with you in case you need them: hotel vouchers, cruise vouchers, return flight tickets... Never leave them in your hold luggage.
All our cabins have a safe. We recommend not to go ashore with valuable jewellery.
Smithsonian Journeys is the travel program of the Smithsonian Institution, the world’s largest museum, education and research complex, consisting of 21 museums, the National Zoological Park, education centers, research facilities, cultural centers, and libraries. Drawing on Smithsonian's resources dating back 175 years, these sailings will feature notable experts and experiences that embrace local cultures and dive deeper into a destination’s history, cuisine, language, environment, and wildlife. For more than 50 years, Smithsonian Journeys has been rooted in and focused on cultural immersion and discovery – with a goal of inspiring guests to become global citizens through travel.
Subject to withdrawal in case of force majeure
Embarkation 5/5/2023 From 4:00 pm to 5:00 pm
Departure 5/5/2023 at 11:59 pm
The main residence of the British monarch, financial hub and seat of British government, London is the economic and cultural heart of the country. A city of contrasts, attached to its traditions while buzzing with modernity, the capital of the United Kingdom has countless historic districts and notable sites to explore. From Hyde Park to the City through Westminster and Trafalgar Square, get ready to take on Londonﾒs frenetic tempo. In between a visit to the National Gallery, a stroll through Covent Garden and a trip to Tower Bridge, you can take a quiet breather in one of Londonﾒs many beautiful parks and gardens.
Arrival 6/5/2023 midday
Departure 6/5/2023 early evening
Located in Kent County on the edge of the English Channel, 35 km away from the French coast and Cap Gris-Nez, Dover is the United Kingdom town nearest to France. As the main transit port between the two sides of the English Channel, it is the “Gateway to England”. Dover is famous for its impressive white cliffs, which have inspired many a poet and playwright. Majestically facing mainland Europe, they offer the possibility of a spectacular clifftop walk. Impregnable and perched on a hill overlooking the Channel in the city’s north-east, Dover Castle dominates the city. You will find its network of underground tunnels very interesting.
Arrival 7/5/2023 early morning
Departure 7/5/2023 early afternoon
Located on the north coast of the Isle of Wight, across from the shores of the port cities of Portsmouth and Southampton, Cowes will win you over with its easy lifestyle, its heritage, verdant landscapes, craggy cliffs, and the crystal-clear waters of the Solent, the stretch of sea separating the island from mainland England. Many have succumbed to the charms of this pristine jewel. This includes Queen Victoria, who, captivated by this natural and authentic setting, had her summer residence built there in 1847: Osborne House, an architectural gem that is now one of the symbols of the town. A shipbuilding centre and the cradle of sailing, Cowes welcomes one of the largest regattas in the world every year during Cowes Week, an event gathering some 10,000 skippers and more than a thousand boats.
Arrival 8/5/2023 midday
Departure 8/5/2023 late afternoon
Nestling in the clear waters of the Atlantic Ocean, at the south west tip of Cornwall, the Isles of Scilly form a small British island chain whose climate, landscapes and lifestyle are unlike any other and seem to have come straight from an Enid Blyton story. Here, everything resembles a tropical paradise. The long sandy beaches run alongside lush green meadows teeming with semi-exotic flowers, whilst the ruins of ancient castles loom from the tops of the hills. Veritable havens of peace that inspired the legendary Avalon of King Arthur, they are today listed as an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and the rugged coastline plays host to wildlife that is as varied as it is exceptional, including the very rare Atlantic grey seal.
Arrival 9/5/2023 early morning
Departure 9/5/2023 early afternoon
Considered Ireland’s most beautiful village, Kinsale will captivate you with its sublime natural landscapes and rich cultural heritage. Located at the mouth of the Bandon River in County Cork, this charming little port is home to picturesque streets lined with colourful houses, art galleries and theatres, as well as to a 17th-century fort. Not far away, perched on a rocky promontory, stands the Old Head of Kinsale Lighthouse: still in operation today, it has magnificent views over the Atlantic Ocean.
Arrival 10/5/2023 early morning
Departure 10/5/2023 early evening
In the north of Wales and in the west of the captivating Isle of Anglesey, succumb to the charms of the enchanting small port town of Holyhead. Often called “the mother of Wales” due to its importance in history, Holyhead is a paradise for anyone with a passion for natural landscapes and heritage. They will love exploring the town’s many historical landmarks, among other sites. Among these is Holyhead’s 13th-century church, St Cybi’s Church, nestling right in the middle of the Roman citadel. Finally, you will be able to admire one of the symbols of the town: South Stack Lighthouse, built in 1809. As you pass near the lighthouse, you might have the chance to marvel at numerous species of seabirds, including guillemots and razorbills.
Arrival 11/5/2023 early morning
Departure 11/5/2023 early evening
The capital city of Northern Ireland is located on the very tip of Belfast Lough, in the north-east of the Emerald Isle. Along the waterfront, the building shaped like a fragmented liner is non other than the Titanic Belfast, a homage to the famous transatlantic liner, with full-scale reconstructions making for an insightful experience of the Belle Epoque. In the historical centre, you’ll also travel back in time when you see the majestic Edwardian columns of the City Hall, and the imposing neo-gothic towers of Queen’s University for example. The carved wooden façades of the Victorian pubs will certainly entice you in for a pint of beer or chilled cider.
Arrival 12/5/2023 early morning
Departure 12/5/2023 midday
Of all the islands in the Inner Hebrides, Iona is by far the most conducive to contemplation and meditation. And for good reason... it is here that St Columba landed from Ireland in 563 and undertook to establish Christianity in Scotland. Now an abbey, the islandﾒs true spiritual centre stands where the ancient monastery founded by the Irish missionary was built. Many kings of Scotland, including the legendary Macbeth, are buried in the nearby cemetery. In sunny weather, arriving on the Isle of Iona is a stunningly beautiful experience.
Arrival 12/5/2023 mid afternoon
Departure 12/5/2023 late afternoon
Located at the northernmost tip of the lovely Isle of Mull, Tobermory has to be one of the most beautiful natural seaports on Scotland’s West Coast. Founded in 1788, this ancient fishing village has been converted to a leisure port highly appreciated today for its surroundings and the quiet charm it exudes. You will definitely be won over by the row of many-storied houses on the hillside, illuminating the harbour with their vibrant colours. Although the real spectacle is outdoors, no less interesting are the Mull Museum dedicated the local history and the exhibitions at the An Tobar art gallery.
Arrival 13/5/2023 early morning
Disembarkation 13/5/2023 at 8:00 am
In the heart of the Clyde Valley, the bustling city of Glasgow contrasts starkly with the wild beauty of the surrounding countryside. Scotland's biggest city overflows with landmarks from its extensive artistic heritage and outstanding architectural tradition. The city's chequerboard layout makes walking through the major pedestrian thoroughfares easy: go with the flow and let the lively street atmosphere take you past the many Victorian monuments. Don't miss the collections on display in the numerous museums and art galleries. The Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum is an outstanding example.
The Battle of Britain, in the summer and fall of 1940, was the first major military campaign fought entirely in the air. It is also the battle that changed the course of World War II.
This excursion begins with a short drive along the coast to the small village of Capel-le-Ferne, site of the Battle of Britain Memorial, for a guided tour of this monument to the heroism and sacrifice of the pilots and support staff of the Royal Air Force who crippled the Luftwaffe's efforts to bomb Britain into submission. You will see the memorial itself, dedicated by the Queen Mother in 1993, and the Wall, which contains the names of all the aircrew who flew at least one sortie during the battle. You will also visit the Wing, which houses an interactive experience creating a sense of what life was like during the campaign and its aftermath.
Leaving the memorial site, you drive past Dover Castle, a massive fortress much of which is hidden deep within the chalk of the cliffs, on your way to the White Cliffs Visitor Center. From here you set off on a 2 mile walk along perhaps the most famous cliffs in the world to reach the South Foreland Lighthouse. This Victorian era structure was built to guide mariners through the treacherous shifting sands of the Strait of Dover and was the first lighthouse anywhere in the world to make use of electric light.
Your motorcoach will meet you at the lighthouse for the short drive back to the pier.
Given its strategic location at the shortest distance between Britain and the continent, it is not at all surprising that Dover Castle is one of the most fortified castles in England. Begun by Henry II and completed under Henry III in the mid 13th century, the castle has undergone many substantial renovations, one of the most important occurring at the time of the Napoleonic Wars, when a tunnel complex was dug into the chalk beneath the castle.
Your exploration of the massive fortress begins with a guided tour of those tunnels as they were during World War II, when they served as the headquarters from which the evacuation of Dunkirk was directed. Here you will be able relive the drama of "Operation Dynamo" from May 26 – June 4, 1940, when, against enormous odds, more than 100,000 English and French troops were rescued.
After your introduction to these tunnels, you will have ample time to discover other parts of Dover Castle at your leisure. You might extend your stay beneath the surface to tour the underground hospital created by digging additional tunnels to serve as triage, operating rooms, and wards for treating the wounded before they were transferred further inland. Or you may want to focus on the fortress itself, with its Inner Bailey and Henry II's Great Tower.
You may explore the wider castle grounds to get a sense of the long history of the place, including an ancient Roman lighthouse, one of the oldest in the world, and an Anglo-Saxon church. Or you may decide to stretch your legs and walk the battlements to enjoy remarkable views over the English Channel.
Whatever you choose, you are sure to come away from the experience with a clearer sense of the importance of this remarkable monument in the history of England, and of the modern world.
A short journey from Dover through the heart of the county of Kent, known as the ‘Garden of England’, brings you to the historic and picturesque city of Canterbury – home to one of England's most famous cathedrals, setting of Geoffrey Chaucer's Canterbury Tales, and now a UNESCO World Heritage site.
Canterbury's wealth originated with the pilgrims who, like Chaucer's travelers, flocked to the city to visit the shrine of Archbishop Thomas Becket, who was murdered in his cathedral in 1170. The Norman cathedral still dominates Canterbury's skyline, inspiring the same sense of awe as it did in the Middle Ages. Explore this magnificent building, the mother church of the worldwide Anglican community, at your own pace, perhaps pausing at the site of Becket's martyrdom, marveling at the workmanship of the ancient stained-glass windows, or admiring the architecture of the Quire, the first Gothic building in England. You will also have time to wander among the labyrinth of streets and lanes lined with quaint shops, many of which date to the time of Chaucer.
Once an independent kingdom, the Isle of Wight so charmed Queen Victoria that after her first visit she is quoted as saying “It is impossible to imagine a prettier spot.”
You will get a sense of what she meant as you sail into the harbor at Cowes, once known as the "yachting capital of the world," and set off on a panoramic drive around this small island, much of which is managed as an Area of Outstanding National Beauty. A brief stop in the picturesque village of Godshill is followed by a drive to Osborne House.
Queen Victoria had Osborne House built as a summer residence for the royal family in the mid-19th century. Designed by Prince Albert in the style of an Italian Renaissance country villa, it is a grand palace, but it functioned essentially as a family holiday home and is filled with many personal and family mementos. Highlights include the majestic State Rooms, for entertaining visiting dignitaries, Queen Victoria’s bedroom, where she died in 1901, the Swiss Cottage, a playhouse for the royal children, and the magnificent Gardens, designed, like the house, by Prince Albert.
After exploring this charming window into the personal lives of the royals, you return to Cowes and to your waiting ship.
Located about 30 miles off the coast of Cornwall, the Isles of Scilly are a cluster of low-lying islands, only five of which are inhabited. The entire archipelago is a designated Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, dotted with Sites of Special Scientific Interest and Marine Conservation Zones. The clear waters surrounding the islands support an abundance of marine life, and migratory birds are drawn by the temperate climate, winds and ocean current.
Your discovery of some of the natural beauty that Scilly has to offer begins with a cruise aboard a local boat around the eastern isles. The rugged coastlines of the islands are a haven for wildlife and you may spot gannets, cormorants, shearwaters, and Atlantic grey seals. From about mid-April, puffins return to breed here, making the Isles of Scilly a hugely important habitat for this popular seabird.
Disembark on St. Martin’s, a quiet island offering spectacular views and a wealth of life’s simpler pleasures. Its rich natural beauty has attracted an enterprising group of residents, a few of whom you will meet, including the owners of St. Martin’s Vineyard. Established in 1996 on the site of a former flower farm, the tiny vineyard's first vintage in 2000 yielded only 120 bottles. Today it produces much more, while maintaining a focus on biodiversity and sustainability, including a move towards organic production. You are invited to enjoy a self-guided tour of the grounds at your own pace, and of course, taste several of the wines.
From the vineyard, walk along the island’s only concrete road to Highertown, home to a gallery showcasing local artists, a flower farm, and a thriving artisanal bakery. Browse these shops at leisure before walking back to the pier for the transfer to your ship.
Tresco is the second largest of the Isles of Scilly, located some 30 miles off the southwest coast of Cornwall in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean. It is home to the world-class Tresco Abbey Gardens, an incredible botanical paradise planted in the ruins of a Benedictine priory.
Founded by Augustus Smith, a wealthy banker, in 1834, the gardens today are home to an impressive collection of 20,000 plant species heralding from as far away as New Zealand, South America, and South Africa. The mild climate in Scilly, combined with plenty of sunshine, allows sub-tropical plants to flourish here in latitudes that seem impossible. A walled enclosure around the priory ruins acts as a wind-break, providing shelter from the ferocity of Atlantic weather during the winter months when, even then, more than 300 plants are in bloom.
You will be visiting in the spring, when the garden is at its loveliest, and when red squirrels, one of Britain's most endangered species, dart about the grounds in the safety of this verdant sanctuary. Stroll the gardens at leisure to discover its many treasures, including the collection of figureheads and decorative carvings from ships that sank off Scilly's shores — another of Augustus Smith's passions.
Cork, Ireland's second city (or the "real capital of Ireland," as its inhabitants like to say), was founded in the 6th century as a monastic settlement on an island in Cork harbor. Today the Lee flows through the city in two main channels, so that you find yourself constantly crossing bridges, a feature that gives Cork its distinctively continental air. The city has become the shopping and commercial capital of the south. It is a university city—a city of jazz, film, opera, and theater. And yet, despite offering the amenities of a large city, it still manages to retain the charm and friendliness of a country town. Among the sights you will see on your panoramic tour are the spires of Saint Fin Barre's Cathedral, the Old Courthouse, City Hall, and the renowned Bells of Shandon.
Leaving the city, you travel to the village of Cobh, where you board a ferry to nearby Spike Island, which commands a central position within Cork Harbor, making it an ideal spot for an array of different purposes. Over the past 1300 years, the island hosted a 7th-century monastery and a 17th-century fortress, served as a refuge for smugglers for much of the 18th-century, and was the site of the world's largest prison during the Victorian era. Your guided tour of this multi-faceted place will introduce you to the island's key features, including the star-shaped Fort Mitchel, which dominates the site, and will include stories of various characters who have added their own chapters to the legends of the island, from prisoners like James Grey, the thief known as 'Jack in the Box', to Ellen Organ, "little Nellie of Holy God," whose precocious spirituality persuaded Pope Pius X to admit children as young as 7 to Holy Communion. Following your tour, you will have some time at leisure to explore independently before reboarding the ferry for the return trip.
Cork, Ireland's second city (or the "real capital of Ireland," as its inhabitants like to say), was founded in the 6th century as a monastic settlement on an island in the estuary of the River Lee, just upstream from Cork harbor. Today the Lee flows through the city in two main channels, so that you find yourself constantly crossing bridges. In fact, it is this feature of the city that gives Cork its distinctively continental air. The city has become the shopping and commercial capital of the south. It is a university city—a city of jazz, film, opera and theater. And yet, despite offering the amenities of a large city, it still manages to retain the charm and friendliness of a country town. Among the sights you will see on your panoramic tour are the spires of Saint Fin Barre's Cathedral, the Old Courthouse, City Hall, and the renowned Bells of Shandon.
Leaving the city, you will travel eastwards to the village of Midleton, the town from which the famous rare Irish whiskey gets its name. A visit to the Old Jameson Distillery will take you into the heart of the cherished whiskey making tradition. Join a 60-minute guided tour of this beautifully restored 18th-century self-contained industrial complex and learn the history of Irish whiskey as you observe the fully operational water wheel and marvel at the 32,000-gallon copper still, the largest in the world.
After the history comes the tasting, where you are invited to relax in the atmosphere of a traditional Irish pub and sample Ireland's finest whiskey. Afterwards, visit the craft shop or coffee shop at Jameson Heritage Centre where you can lose yourself in the charm of another age.
This walking tour of Cork is designed to introduce you to Ireland's second city through a variety of its neighborhoods and monuments. A 45-minute drive from the pier brings you to the South Mall, lined with businesses housed in buildings that were once boathouses along the River Lee. Across Parnell Bridge, your guide will lead you on a leisurely stroll along the quays of the south shore, where you will encounter a variety of architectural styles—the classical lines of Cork's elegant limestone City Hall, the modern design of the College of Commerce, and the Gothic façade of Holy Trinity Church. Pause for a moment to admire the graceful arch of Parliament Bridge before continuing on to Saint Fin Barre’s Cathedral. Designed and built by William Burgess in 1879, this Gothic Revival church is renowned for the exuberant style of its ornamentation, particularly the ornately decorated interior.
After your visit to the interior of Saint Fin Barre's, resume your exploration of Cork on the north side of river, where you enter the hustle and bustle of the main thoroughfares of the city. Along North Main and Castle Streets you are in a very cosmopolitan part of the city, full of pedestrian lanes, cafes, bookshops, and antique stores and surrounded by the people of Cork, gregariously going about their business. It is in this part of the city that you will find the famous English Market, a veritable festival of meats, fruits and vegetables, fish, cheeses from Italy, France, and Ireland, fresh breads, and more. Take some time to browse the many stalls and do a bit of shopping before returning to the ship.
From the small port of Holyhead your motorcoach transports you on a scenic drive across the Isle of Anglesey, over the Menai Strait to the mainland of North Wales, and along the coast to the village of Conwy, home to the world-class Bodnant Garden.
Nestled in the Snowdonian foothills, Bodnant Garden was established in 1874 by scientist, businessman, and politician Henry Pochin, whose vision it was to create here in Wales a garden that would showcase plants from around the world. He and his descendants began the work of collecting and made Bodnant home to the earliest laburnum arch in Britain, to the earliest Chinese magnolias in the country, and to unique rhododendron hybrids.
In 1949 the Garden was gifted to the National Trust, who now maintain it and carry on its traditions. Bodnant is home to exotic plants like the Blue Poppy of the Himalayas and the Fire Bush of the Andes, as well as boasting Wales’ largest collection of UK Champion Trees. During your visit, the flowers of spring — daffodils, camellias, magnolias, and rhododendrons —should still be in bloom, while the rose beds, lily ponds, herbaceous plantings and wildflower meadows of summer will be beginning to make their presence known.
You will enjoy a guided walk in the garden followed by time at leisure to explore further at your own pace.
This full day of activity is designed to introduce you to three central aspects of Welsh culture—its language, its mining and industrial past, and its architectural history. The experience begins even before you disembark, with a lecture from a native Welsh speaker and linguist on the history of the Welsh language and on the importance of continuing to teach it to children in Welsh schools.
Once aboard your motorcoach, you will travel onto the mainland of North Wales, where your first stop will be at the National Slate Museum on the shores of Llyn Padarn at the edge of Snowdonia National Park. Here you will learn about the Welsh slate industry's crucial contributions to the Industrial Revolution in Britain and at the same time gain insight into the arduous lives of the Victorian quarrymen who worked the mines to make it possible.
Pause in the town of Caernarfon for lunch before continuing to the UNESCO World Heritage site of Caernarfon Castle, designed by Edward I to drive home the message that Wales, after his conquest of