A series of familiarisation trips to a variety of places across North East Wales have proved very popular with local businesses. Designed to highlight interesting and key destinations to local tourism businesses; the trips have been well received enabling businesses, local groups and volunteers to share the knowledge and encourage visitors to delve deeper into the local history, culture, landscapes, attractions, and hospitality venues.
Organised by Denbighshire County Council in partnership with Wrexham and Flintshire, over 60 businesses and 170 people have attended in total. The 6 trips have included walking the 11-mile Pontcysyllte Aqueduct & Canal World Heritage Site, behind the scenes tours at Theatr Clwyd and Bailey Hill in Mold, visiting the castles of Denbigh, Rhuddlan, Chirk and Flint and a city centre tour of Wrexham exploring Ty Pawb, Xplore!, Wrexham Museum and a tower climb at St Giles Parish Church. The final few trips have included visits to Ruthin, Denbigh, St Asaph and Bodelwyddan to learn more about the local arts and heritage, calling at Nantclwyd y Dre, The Old Courthouse, Gaol and Craft Centre in Ruthin, Denbigh Library and Town Walls, St Asaph Cathedral, and the nearby Marble Church. The group discovered more about the coastal venues of Rhyl, Prestatyn and Talacre during the final trip as well as a final stop at the munitions works in the village of Rhydymwyn which played a key part in our wartime history.
Local tour guides were recruited to guide each trip. Sarah Jones, Blue badge Guide for Wales who has guided and attended many of the trips said:
“Thank you so much for all the excellent familiarisation trips. I was really pleased to visit the coast recently as it’s an area I want to discover more about. It’s been really useful to revisit many local places to learn more about the local history and culture which will be of great use to me in future tours. I hope the trips can continue as they are so beneficial to all the various businesses in Denbighshire and help to promote the area so well.”
Richard Hughes, owner of Bracdy Campsite and Cottage near Denbigh commented:
“A huge thank you for organising all the informative trips. They have provided lots of ideas for me to pass on to our visitors who are already enjoying the Vale of Clwyd and surrounding areas. All the guides have been very knowledgeable and were able to answer any questions. It’s also been great to meet other businesses and share experiences.”
This project has received funding through the Welsh Government Rural Communities – Rural Development Programme 2014-2020, which is funded by the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development and the Welsh Government.
The trips form part of the wider Denbighshire Tourism Ambassador Scheme which provides people with training and knowledge about the special qualities of the county. A series of online modules on a variety of themes is available to everyone, free of charge. This includes walking, cycling, history, arts, Welsh language, coast, sustainable and food tourism. There are 3 levels of awards – bronze, silver, and gold, depending on the number of modules completed. Denbighshire was the first to launch an online course of its kind in Wales. Eryri and Brecon Beacons National Parks, Conwy, Gwynedd, Ynys Môn, and Carmarthenshire have since launched courses and Flintshire, Wrexham and Ceredigion are busy preparing to launch later this year.