Review: North Wales
Escorted Tour - Coach
A 'Not So' Grand UK Holiday!
161 people found this review helpful
I wanted to book a short break for my sisters birthday and as she had never been to Wales, a trip to Llandudno and Snowdon National Park sounded ideal. The Grand UK Holidays brochure looked good and it was relatively cheap. It is a coach holiday company for "Over 50’s" and my sister and I both do, unfortunately, fit that criteria!
The pick up system seemed well organised. I was picked up in London and my sister was picked up in Broadstairs and we were taken by feeder coaches to Newport Pagnell where we met up and boarded our coach to Llandudno. (Unfortunately we also went via Thurrock and Watford Gap services so we had a tour of the motorway services thrown in for free!)
Our coach driver was friendly but there was no tour guide until we picked her up near Chester. Anna was one of those tour guides who seems to think that anyone over 50 likes to be patronised or has a saucy seaside postcard style of humour! Although very knowledgeable, especially about Chester ( which was a little irrelevant as we were going to Wales!) her rather smutty innuendos were very irritating.
We arrived at our Hotel in Llandudno about 5.30pm. The hotel was The Grand Ash but unfortunately there was nothing grand about it! It looked like an old peoples home and smelt of cabbage (which was strange as that was one vegetable we were not offered during our stay!) We were slightly surprised to find that our bedroom was also a fire exit! It had a window leading to the fire escape. Should there have been a fire whilst we were there, people could have smashed the glass on our bedroom door, open the door and we would have been trampled in our beds by a stampede of grey haired holiday makers! The manager assured us that this was perfectly legal but in many years of travel I have never seen a room that serves as a bedroom and a fire escape route.
Dinner was at 6pm every night because all us old people like to eat early (or so Grand UK Holidays obviously think). To their credit there were 4 courses offered each night with a couple of choices for each course. However it would have been nice if any of them had been edible! I am vegetarian and each night my only choice was another variety of stuffed vegetable. If I had been staying longer than 5 days they would have had a real dilemma as I am not sure how many more vegetables they could have found which could be stuffed. My non-vegetarian sister’s meals were no better, fish too dry and hard to cut and an Eton mess with no meringue in it! Luckily Llandudno has a number of little restaurants where we could escape for something more appealing.
Llandudno is a beautiful seaside town. Slightly faded and worn now but the sweep of the bay is spectacular and a tram ride up The Great Orme gives stunning views. The inclusive coach trips offered by Grand UK Holidays sounded good, We had a day trip to Betws-y-Coed and Llangollen and both these towns are well worth a visit especially as the drive through Horse Shoe Pass is beautiful. The second day we were taken to Llechwedd Slate Caverns but did not have enough time there to do the tour. Instead we headed to the Blaenau Ffestiniog Railway which was a stunning steam train ride through the welsh mountains ending up in Porthmadog. Then we went to another slate mine, again with not enough time to explore it properly! I am sure Wales is very proud of it’s slate mines but did we really need to visit 2 in one day? The next day was a trip to Anglesey and we were very excited about seeing this island. The views as we crossed The Menai Straits were fabulous and our first stop, Beaumaris was a lovely little town with a castle and a harbour area. Clambering back onto the coach we were hopeful of seeing more of the island but we were then taken to Llanfairpwllgwyngllgogerychwymdrobwillanytysiligogogo! I am pleased I can now say that I have been to the place with the longest name in the world (well, I would be if I could actually pronounce it!) but once we had taken a (wide view) photo of the railway station sign, the only other thing there was an outlet centre (and a Scottish one at that!) We were given nearly 2 hours there which seemed such a waste when we could have been seeing more of the lovely countryside.
So to anyone considering visiting North Wales I would recommend it highly but our trip with Grand UK Holidays was definitely not grand, it wasn’t even very good and it is not a travel company I would recommend.
161 people found this review helpful
This review is solely based on the opinion of a Silver Travel Advisor member and not of Silver Travel Advisor Ltd.