Leaving behind Bristol, with its wealth of maritime history, you'll cross the 5km long Prince of Wales Bridge and enter Monmouthshire before skirting Cardiff to visit Caerphilly Castle, the second largest castle in the UK, surrounded by its complex system of concentric moats and lakes.
Next you will head north through the picturesque Brecon Beacons, famous as the home of UK special forces training, before arcing to the west to visit Pembroke and Cardigan castles, both superb examples of mediaeval defensive architecture. Beautiful Cardigan Bay, with its immaculate stretches of sand makes a perfect stop for the evening.
From Ceredigion, you'll trace the coastline, with the Irish Sea on your left all the way up to rugged Snowdonia where Edmund Hillary and the rest of Sir John Hunt's team spent the winter of 1952/53 training for their successful attempt on Everest. As you head through the National Park, you'll be able to visit Harlech, Caernarfon and Conwy castles, all designed by James of Saint George for Edward I and begun in 1283
With two nights in your hotel in Conwy, you have the opportunity to ditch the panniers and ride a fabulous route around northern Snowdonia and the unspoilt Llyn Peninsula. You'll cross the iconic Menai Bridge to Anglesey for a visit to Beaumaris Castle, looking back across the straits at the mainland. Don't forget to stop off at Llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwyrndrobwllllantysiliogogogoch, Europe's longest place name and a perfect photo and souvenir opportunity.
As you leave Conwy, pay a visit to the smallest house in Great Britain. At less than five and a half square meters, this tiny abode nestled in the city walls has made it into the Guiness Book of Records for its diminutive size! From Conwy, you head south again, riding the famous Horseshoe Pass and leaving Snowdonia to follow the border and cut through central Wales to the Brecon Beacons once more. You'll visit Monmouth Castle, the final fortress of the trip, damaged beyond repair by Oliver Cromwell in 1647 to prevent it ever being used against the Parliamentarians. From here it's a pleasant ride along the Wye Valley and back across the Severn into England to complete your loop.
The Castle Capital of the World: With over 600 castles, Wales has more mediaeval fortifications per square mile than any other country in Europe! You'll visit nine of the finest examples; Caerphilly, Pembroke, Harlech, Cardigan, Caernarfon, Conway, Beaumaris, Criccieth and Monmouth. Immerse yourself in the ingenious design and brutal history of each impenetrable colossus.
Wye Valley: Straddling the border of England and Wales, the Wye Valley Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty is a landscape of woodlands and limestone gorges that follows the river Wye on its meander from the Welsh hills to the Severn Estuary
Alpine Snowdonia: Dramatic and rugged Snowdonia is home to all of Wales' 3000ft mountains, making it a popular destination for climbing and walking alike. It also boasts the wettest spot in the UK, so make sure your waterproofs are to hand! This is also where you will experience some of the best riding to be found in the British Isles.
Llyn Peninsula: Packed with conservation areas and sites of special scientific interest, the Llyn Peninsula extends 30 miles into the Irish Sea, and it's this relative isolation that has helped to make the area a bastion of Welsh language and culture.
Anglesey: Home to druids in pre-Roman times and the site of many Neolithic and Bronze Age monuments, this ancient island is reached by riding across the Menai Straits on the photogenic suspension bridge built by Thomas Telford in 1826
Day 1 200 Miles
Cross into Wales on the iconic Prince of Wales Bridge, and ride through the SAS training area, the Brecon Beacons National Park. Visit your first three castles, Caerphilly, Pembroke and Cardigan before stopping in Cardigan for the night.
Day 2 170 Miles
Ride up the scenic Welsh coast and then cruise around the Coed-y-Brenin Forest and ride through Snowdonia National Park to experience “Alpine Snowdonia”. On the way to your hotel in Conway visit Harlech, Caernarfon and Conwy castles.
Day 3 140 Miles
Ride out from Conwy across Thomas Telford’s iconic Menai suspension bridge to Anglesey, visit Beaumaris Castle and grab a photo in the village with the UK's longest place name. Ride the gorgeous unspoiled Llyn Peninsular with its beautiful scenery and empty roads to Abersoch, and then on to Porthmadog.
Day 4 200 Miles
Back through Snowdonia and over the famous Horseshoe Pass, before heading south through central Wales to revisit the Brecon Beacons. Visit the beautiful castle in Monmouth and then ride down the gorgeous Wye valley, over the Severn and back into England.
Where does this tour start from?
You can join this route at any point to form a loop from your house. Just let us know when you book which night’s stop would suit you best acting as night one of the trip.
When is the best time of year to do this trip?
May to September as a rule is the safest time to tour anywhere in the UK and Ireland although March, April and October can work with a dash of luck. It can be wet at any time of year but a sensible mix of vented kit and waterproofs with some base layers should cover all eventualities. Full kit and packing lists are supplied and we are happy to offer advice on packing for any of the trips.