Llangollen and the Dee Valley
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Join us on this "Get Active" weekend break in Llangollen and the Dee Valley - with our social relaxed approach
Llangollen is a charming and historic Victorian border town on the banks of the River Dee in north east Wales.
Join our North Wales Guide Mike Smart, he will share with you his local knowledge of history, local people and beautiful landscape all within the UNESCO World Heritage site and Clwydian Range & Dee Valley Area of Outstanding Beauty (AONB).
Discover a spectacular nationally important Special Areas of Conservation, visit the medieval castles and Cistercian Abbey ruins, huge glacial Limestone cliffs, walk a section of the famous Offa's Dyke Path, eat in a 14th Century Drovers Inn, see the horse drawn canal boats and take a nostalgic ride on the Llangollen steam railway subject to the availabilty of the timetable running schedule.
The walking here is spectacular- on Offa's Dyke path, over Dinas Bran Castle and along the fast flowing River Dee. Enjoy super views over the Berwyn Mountains, a lofty range of hills that rise to 880 metres. We will take you on a journey through part of the industrial past of this region where slate quarries abound, where sheep's wool is truned into blankets and where for 200 years , tourists have visited to smaple the clean , fresh air and mountain views.
Great reasons to join us
- meet new friends in a relaxed walking and social atmosphere
- beautiful countryside to walk through and enjoy
- super value for money- no single supplement
- professional, friendly walk leaders who are passionate and knowledgeable about this area
- flexibility - extra nights stay available
Accommodation and meals
Accommodation en suite rooms at the Hand Hotel, right in the centre of the Llangollen
The hotel has a bar, and several lounges
Is three course in the hotels restaurant
We have lunch at one of the lovely country pubs in the area, .
We offer you the opportunity to stay additional nights, and many people extend their weekend as they wish. Just reserve what nights you need.
Guided walking programme
Your Get Active weekend break
We meet at 2.30pm on Friday afternoon for a 2.5 hour walk around the surrounding area and along part of the Llangollen canal
Walking Saturday and Sunday - 8/9 miles a day, finishing at about 3.30pm on Sunday
Walking and talking - its our unique way of bringing people together - Meeting new friends.
We walk the area round Llangollen - simply magical walks, with upland scenery all around - a panorama rarely beaten. We walk 8 -10 miles per day, plenty of breaks, and at a moderate pace. No rushing about, too much to see. Each walk has it’s own magnificent views. The walks take in the country around Offa’s Dyke, part of the beautiful Berwyns, the Llangollen canal, Dinas Bran castle, The Panorama walk and Valle Crucis Abbey.
We may incorporate a walk which returns on the Llangollen Steam railway
Meet New Friends
Its all about meeting new friends. Each holiday is designed to be a friendly, relaxed and stress free occasion. Talking is as important as walking or discovering on Short Breaks for Single Travellers holidays. We don't go in for disco's, we may use an event that is taking place in the area we are in to boost the weekends activities - but its good, old fashioned chat that makes our short breaks successful.
"Make new friends that turn into old friends - that's our motto."
You might be surprised by what fun you’ll have with people who are older or younger than you during a holiday with us, and that’s exactly the sort of atmosphere we encourage; people find it very rewarding.
It doesn’t matter what your reasons for traveling with us are, we’ve had people who are single, divorced or widowed, people who have partners that are unable to travel, and people who can’t holiday with their friends anymore as they’ve all got married themselves. There are people who want to make friends, see sights, and experience something completely new. Whatever your reason, we’ll welcome you with open arms and our friendly hosts will help you to get the most out of your holiday.
Don't worry if this is the first time you have ventured to join a group holiday - its always a bit daunting - but we will look after you, ensure that you get used to being amongst friends again - trust us to to get you back into the swing of things"
Oh - by the way - its not a dating agency - over the years we have had people meet and fall in love - but that's just chance. Our aim is that you make like minded friends - just relax and enjoy.
- a magnificent valley to explore
- Llangollen - history, beauty and a bustling town
- Lovely mountains all around the valley- the beautiful Berwyns
-town centre hotel
- no single supplement
-our relaxed social approach
What you get on a Secret Hills break
Hotel bed and breakfast– en suite
Sole occupancy- no single supplement
Three course dinner
Transport to walks start if necessar
Our relaxed social approach to walking
Our administration to organise your reservation and arrange the holiday
No single supplement
Great reasons to join us
There are other walking holiday companies that cover the Welsh borders but we believe we offer the best value for many reasons….
- We are a small friendly company
- We have a loyal customer base who return again and again (so we must be doing something right) – read our testimonials page on the website
- We offer a lot of flexibility – you can stay extra nights which we are happy to organise for you. We are also very flexible on the walks we provide, adapting to suit walkers and weather conditions
- Our walk leading is second to none. Unlike some other large Walking Companies, we use LOCAL leaders who live in the area and who love their surroundings. They have expert knowledge of everything you need to know to make an area come alive.
- You are safe in our hands – our guides are experts, fully qualified in first aid. Also, because of their local knowledge of the hills, they can respond to any situation that might for example demand cutting short a route. They don’t need to consult maps – they know the hills intimately.
- Our leaders are all easy-going, genuinely sociable people who want to ensure that you have the best time you can with the rest of the group. They make the weekend fun by engaging with all members of a group, and ensuring that everyone feels part of the group experience.
- We give great value for money. Because we recognise that lots of walkers holiday on their own, we have negotiated no single supplement deals with all our hotels to ensure the best possible deal.
- We always use good hotels. Our hotel in Llangollen is set in lovely surroundings and the standard is really good.
- We have smaller groups than some of the larger walking companies, because we believe the social experience is much better in a smaller group. People can talk to everyone, especially at dinner where you can all sit on one table in a small group. Our numbers vary from holiday to holiday but an average group size would be 8-12.
Giovanna Mills Llangollen September 2020.
I absolutely loved the walking. Mike and Amy were excellent guides and the three walks chosen gave a wonderful opportunity to see this area at its best. As usual, I had to opt out of the very steep descent and Mike gave us a lovely alternative. I thoroughly enjoyed every moment of the walks. I can’t wait for my next break.
Ann Jones – Llangollen September 2020.
The whole weekend was great. Both Mike and Amy were very good guides. We were also blessed with some lovely weather and the hotel is excellently located with ample parking. My first but definitely not my last Secret Hills trip.
Judy Fishel LLangollen September 2020.
Really enjoyed the weekend - everything was good - Walk leaders - Mike and Amy both great and walks absolutely beautiful and strenuous enough - loved the walking.
Alison Sutliff Llangollen & Dee Valley - June 2019.
Very much enjoyed the guided walking experience. Mike was very enthusiastic and informative.
I would certainly book another holiday. I will be recommending the weekend breaks to my friends.
Caroline Lumb Llangollen
Mike was a great guide and full of local knowledge plus useful tips for walkers.
Elaine Lazenby October 2016
Hello Mike and Anita !
I had a great time walking, talking and laughing! Thank you for making it such a lovely experience, you are very well suited to the role of hosts! I will definitely be booking again. Friends and family are still surprised that people meet up and walk with 'strangers' but now for me it's a very wise thing to do
Evelyn Barnes October 2016
Hello Mike and Anita
Thank you so much for sending the links for the various sites and for the lovely memorable week-end photographs. I really enjoyed the Llangollen week-end and the company of everyone. I thought as leaders you were excellent and I loved your knowledge of the area.
Since returning to France the weather has been stunning and very warm, in fact quite hot really. Lots of daily walks and plenty of vin rouge!!
Hope you are both well.
Michael Smith July 2015 Llangollen and the Dee Valley
Excellent views , good hotel and nice to have a steam train ride back on Saturday.
Karen Dunn July 2015 Llangollen and the Dee Valley
Thank you for a lovely weekend - lucky with the weather, glorious views, walking just right for me.
Val Warlow Group April 2014
Super time, hotel was good and super food. Our walking group really enjoyed the varied scenery and walks. Thank you.
Getting to our destination
By train - Chirk is the nearest station, some 6 miles away. Taxis readily available.See www.nationalrail.co.uk
By car - the post code for your Sat Navs is LL20 8PL. A good way of checking a route is using the AA route finder. www.theaa.com/route-planner
Full detailed journey instruction will be sent with your Joining Details prior to the holiday.
The Local area
Llangollen -a small town of some 3000 people Llangollen is seeped in myth and legend. In many ways it is best known for hosting the Llangollen International Musical Eisteddfod every July which brings in some 120,000 visitors and turns the town into a vibrant international stage.
As with so many ancient Welsh towns, it takes its name from its founding Saint; Collen, a seventh century saint. Llangollen, was established in the 7th Century when The monk St. Collen was instructed to find a valley by riding a horse for one day and then stop and mark out a "parish" a place to build his hermitage or cell in the custom of the times, with tiny church, hospice and outhouses all enclosed within a wall.
The famous Dee Bridge, was built by Bishop Trevor of Trevor Hall in I345. It is a scheduled ancient monument and was widened in the 1960’s to accommodate modern traffic.
Up to the I9th century Llangollen town was located south-east of the bridge around Bridge Street and Church Street, and to the north-west around the old village green, which has now disappeared , but is remembered by such names as 'Green Lane; and 'Green Lodge' which still exist. Nearly all of this densely populated area disappeared to allow the building of the Railway.
Llangollen became important because of its prominent position on the main London to Holyhead coaching road which was improved by Thomas Telford from 1815 and continued for some 15 years. The Canal was also constructed around this and combined to bring considerable immigration into Llangollen during the early part of the 19th century.
The remains of Castell Dinas Bran (Crow Castle) can be seen high on an isolated hill above Llangollen and reached by a steep climb. From the top the views of Llangollen and the Dee Valley are stunning. This was said to be the possible burial site of the Holy Grail of the Arthurian legends, and was known to have been the 13th Century home of Madoc ap Gruffydd Maelor, the founder of Valle Crucis Abbey and it was possibly a stronghold for Eliseg, Prince of Powys in the 6th Century.
Llangollen is a haven for shoppers looking for interesting and unusual gifts. There are also many interesting walks in the town. The canal from the town to the Chain Bridge Hotel and Horseshoe Falls as an example. Another walk is Bishops Walk from the Bridge End Hotel side of the river bridge along the riverside past the old mill sluice gates and leet and the remains of the weir, then past views of St. Collens church over the river, and on to the Sarah Ponsonby Inn.
Opened in 1862 the Ruabon to Barmouth railway steamed its way through the Welsh countryside. At one time it was possible to board at Llangollen Station and travel to London without a single change! the Railway closed to passenger traffic in 1965, and to goods in 1968 and over the next seven years Nature closed in on the buildings and track bed . However steam trains are once more to be seen in Llangollen Station thanks to the efforts of the Llangollen Railway Society.
A group was formed to renovate and reopen part of the line in September 1975, with just 60 feet of track which has now grown some 7½ miles along the Dee Valley passing wonderful scenery and giving a glimpse of how this 65 mile journey must have looked like in its heyday.
Trains operate during weekends virtually all year and daily from June to the end of October. During the summer, steam trains are mostly used.
Left:- Horse Drawn Canal Boats
© Crown copyright (2013) Visit Wales
From Llangollen Wharf you can embark on a 45-minute horse drawn trip or a two hour trip on the traditional Canal narrow boat, which takes you through the Vale of Llangollen and across the Britain's biggest aqueduct at Trevor. Towering 126 feet above the river and built by Thomas Telford it is a masterpiece of engineering. You will not be the first to experience this. For over 100 years, pleasure boats have operated from Llangollen Wharf - and the experience is as popular as ever.
How to book your holiday
How to book a UK guided walking holiday AND holidays in France, Algarve, Douro Valley and Ireland
To reserve a place on any of our holidays, please follow these simple instructions.
Reserve online - once you have chosen your holiday, click on the booking button and complete the online form
OR contact us by phone or email, and we will send by post or email, a booking form to you
OR you can call us direct on 01694 723600, and we will take your reservation over the phone. Please note we cannot take credit/debit card details over the phone; you can, however, post us a cheque. Alternatively, you can pay via the Pay Pal system attached to our website, which allows you to pay either by debit/credit card, or by using your Paypal account if you have one.
We will also accept a Bank Transfer and on request we will supply our bank details to you.
It is important that you read the terms and conditions before you sign the booking form.
Note - if you are reserving a holiday within a month of the start date then the full amount is due immediately and no deposit should be paid.
Secret Hills Walking, 35, Sandford Avenue, Church Stretton, Shropshire, SY6 6BH