FANCY an Italian-inspired break without the hefty price tag? Then look no further than North Wales and the unique coastal village of Portmeirion. This colourful collage of architecture, sub-tropical gardens, exotic woodland walks and glorious coastal paths is like nowhere else in the UK.
It reached the height of its fame when used as the filming location for the popular 1960s TV series The Prisoner, and is now one of the premier attractions in Wales.
Combine this coastal delight with a trip to Chester and a journey through Snowdonia National Park on the Ffestiniog Railway - the oldest independent railway company in the world - and this is a trip to savour.
On day one, travel to the medieval city of Chester and explore the streets with their attractive timber-framed buildings, Roman city walls and two-tiered shopping galleries.
After a good night's sleep, the next stop is Portmeirion - one of Wales' premier attractions that welcomes more than 200,000 visitors each year. There are shops, cafes, gardens, beaches and even its own false metal lighthouse. Many of the buildings in Portmeirion are made up from parts rescued from various sites in the UK, rebuilt here to conserve their architectural beauty.
The land around the village has received the same attentive treatment. There's an oriental lake with its own chinoiserie pavilion and bridge, and a temple pond built in the 1960s with its own temple.
You can also acquire some of the famous pottery as this is the only place in North Wales that stocks pottery seconds.
On the final day of the trip, head to the slate-quarrying town of Blaenau Ffestiniog to board the train for an included journey to Porthmadog.
The Ffestiniog Railway is the oldest independent railway company in the world, founded by an Act of Parliament in 1832, and is now one of Wales' top tourist attractions.
During the 13.5-mile journey, the train takes passengers through tranquil pastures and magnificent forests, past lakes and waterfalls, and round horseshoe bends - all while clinging to the side of the mountain or tunnelling through it.
Later, re-board the coach for the return journey.
(c) 2015 ProQuest Information and Learning Company; All Rights Reserved., source Newspapers