A desire to offer the best tours of Wales was the founding principle behind Dragon Tours and it remains at the heart of everything we do.
The flexible nature of our private tours means that – if you so desire – we can help you incorporate trips to nearby countries such as England, Scotland, Ireland and France.
But Welsh tours are our passion. Dr Mike Davies, the owner and operator of Dragon Tours, was born in Wales and has lived and worked here all his life.
Contact us for bookings and for more information on our tours of Wales.
Tour Wales with the experts
Mike studied Welsh history at the University of Wales to PhD level and is a published historian. He’s an expert in the history and culture of Wales and knows the whole country on an intimate level.
When he first started providing tours of Wales in the early 1990s, Mike would often joke with his clients that, at some point on the tour, he would drive them down a road that he hadn’t been down before.
This was mainly because the majority of Mike’s tours are tailor-made and, as many of his clients have Welsh ancestry, he spends a lot of time seeking out hidden-away farms and villages and churchyards.
Following over 25 years of exploration, there are now very few roads or lanes that Mike doesn’t know in Wales!
Welsh tours made easy
- Dragon Tours is Wales’ longest established ‘All Wales’ small group tour provider
- We can arrange a tour to any part of Wales, or can provide a tour of the whole country
- The private tours can be anything from one day to multiple weeks in duration
- We can meet you at any UK location (airport, ferry port, train station, hotel, etc), transfer you to Wales, and return you to your chosen point at the end of the tour
- We can arrange accommodation at a whole range of places including simple B&Bs, historic coaching inns and five-star resorts and spas. We can also work around your own accommodation choices
- If you want to get to know and see the real Wales, our tours are perfect for you
Flexible tours of Wales
We specialise in tours that explore the history and culture of Wales and like to show you the amazing historic monuments and natural beauty of this magical land.
Alongside that we can also design tours to suit your particular interests or include activities as part of a general tour of Wales. The expert help we can offer you in tracing your Welsh ancestry is particularly popular with clients.
Wales is a small country but has an incredibly varied landscape, with rolling hills, beautiful coastline and beaches and rugged mountains.
The country has three national parks and a number of areas of outstanding natural beauty. These regions are protected and offer wonderful opportunities for outdoor pursuits. Just some of the options include:
- Horse riding and pony trekking
- Boat rides
- Quad biking
- Mountain biking
There are lots of side options that can be included too, such as historic steam train and canal boat rides, visits to musical, cultural and sporting events, fine dining and wine tasting.
There are many special events that occur throughout the year. Why not combine a visit to one of the following events with your visit to Wales?
- The National Eisteddfod (August)
- Llangollen International Musical Eisteddfod (July)
- Brecon Jazz Festival (August)
- Abergavenny Food Festival (September)
- Hay Festival of literature (May/June)
- The Green Man Festival (August)
Basically, anything that you’re interested in that’s available to do and see in Wales can be incorporated into your private tour package.
Mixed group tours of Wales
If you prefer to travel with other people on a set itinerary, we offer group tours of Wales as an alternative to our private tours.
A short history of Wales to prepare for your Welsh tour
The Welsh people are the descendants of the ancient Britons, the original inhabitants of the island of Britain.
The Welsh language (spoken as a first language by over 20% of the population) is one of the oldest spoken languages in Europe and is descended from the ancient Brythonic language spoken by those original Britons.
The language is very much in evidence in Wales (all road signs are bilingual and in many places Welsh is the predominant language).
Our tours aim to provide a unique insight into the history and culture of Wales.
The country has a very long history. The oldest human remains in Britain were discovered on the Gower Peninsula in south Wales in 1823.
The famous Red Lady of Paviland (later proved to be a man) has been dated at over 26,000 years old.
Wales is awash with prehistoric remains such as burial chambers and stone circles. The first stone circle to be erected at Stonehenge was constructed from the famous Preseli Blue Stones (carried over 200 miles from a quarry in west Wales to Salisbury Plain, over 5,000 years ago).
A great flowering of Celtic art appeared in Wales during the Bronze and Iron ages and the Romans were so concerned about the power and influence of the mystical druids that they wiped them out at their stronghold on the island of Anglesey, off the coast of north Wales. The island has a wealth of prehistoric, Celtic and medieval treasures.
The Romans left their mark on Wales, too, notably at the town of Caerleon which has Britain’s only fully excavated Roman amphitheatre, along with a bathhouse, barracks and excellent Roman museum.
Caerleon has close links with the King Arthur stories. Geoffrey of Monmouth (a medieval writer who wrote down a lot of the Arthur legends) named Caerleon as Arthur’s chief base. For many Arthur enthusiasts Caerleon is Camelot and Arthur is a Welsh hero who fought against the new Anglo-Saxon invaders of Britain, who took advantage of the Roman abandonment of their province of Brittania to seek new lands and ultimately create England.
After the Romans left Britain in the early fifth century tribes from northern Europe invaded and gradually pushed the native Britons westwards. In the eighth century the Saxon king Offa of Mercia built an earthwork defence between England and Wales and this boundary still basically marks the border between England and Wales today.
From this period Wales existed as its own country and developed its own unique identity. This came under threat following the Norman Conquest of England in 1066. Soon afterwards land-hungry Norman adventurers started to appear on the Welsh border and there followed a long period of invasion, settlement and war, characterised by castle building.
Wales has more castles per square mile (over 400) than anywhere in the world. It also has the oldest stone-built medieval castle in Britain (Chepstow) and the last great medieval castle to be built in Britain (Raglan).
Caerphilly Castle is one of the largest in Britain and the castles of Edward I in north Wales are generally regarded as the best examples of late medieval castle building in the world (many have World Heritage status).
The last native Welsh prince, Llywelyn ap Gruffudd, was killed by the English in 1282. Edward I made his eldest son the first English prince of Wales, starting a tradition that continues today.
Despite the Edwardian Conquest of Wales in the 1280s, the Welsh language and culture survived and just over a century later the revolt of Owain Glyn Dŵr showed that the desire for Welsh independence was still strong in Wales. Glyn Dŵr established Wales’ first parliament and was widely acclaimed as the true king of Wales.
During the Wars of the Roses, the Tudor family came to prominence and ultimately came to be kings of England. Henry Tudor (the first Tudor king) was born in Wales and the Tudor name is a very old Welsh one.
Henry Tudor used his Welsh roots to claim that he was the true king from an ancient British line. He even called his first son Arthur and used the old Arthurian legends to imply that he was the true ‘son of destiny’ returned to unite Britain once more.
During the reign of Elizabeth I, the Bible was translated into Welsh (an event that proved to be of great importance in the survival of the Welsh language).
Wales was at the forefront of the industrial revolution. It had the necessary raw materials to ensure that south Wales was to became the world’s greatest exporter of iron and coal and, similarly, north Wales was said to be able to ‘roof the world’ with the huge amount of slate mined there during the nineteenth century.
Dragon Tours aims to share Wales’ incredible history with you and show you how it has shaped the culture of modern Wales.
Just contact us to find out more, or to start planning your bespoke tour of Wales…