The rugged mountains and coastline of North Wales attract many…
Portmeirion is a small village in North Wales on the edge of Snowdonia National Park. The village is one of the most popular and most visited sights in Wales, which became widely known by the 1960s series The Prisoner.
Characteristics of Portmeirion Village
One of the characteristics of Portmeirion Village is that it was built in Italian-style and indeed it feels like walking in an Italian village. Another fascinating thing about the village is that it was built by using parts of demolished buildings. For example. Sir Clough William-Ellis, the architect and owner of the village once bought the ceiling of an old country house at auction for £13. It was later on installed in the Town Hall pictured below.
The village is the creation of architect Sir Clough William-Ellis. Many accused him of copying the Italian village of Portofino, but Clough denied this. However, he did say, he fell for Portofino and it could not not impact him.
Even the name of the Welsh village sounds a bit Italian: Portmeirion. However, this comes from the word ’port’ and ’Meirion’ or ’Meirionnydd’ – the Welsh name of the county it lays in.
Clough bought the land in 1925 and built the village in 50 years. Portmeirion Village is run by a charitable trust today.
Buildings of Portmeirion
There are 96 buildings of all sorts: clock tower, gatehouse, town hall, cottage, watch tower, hotel. Most of the buildings are holiday lets so you can even stay in the village. The rest of the buildings function as cafes, restaurants, shops and offices.
Guests can also stay in the hotel by the beach where Noel Coward wrote one of his famous plays. Other celebrities stayed in Portofino as well: George Bernard Shaw, H. G. Welles, Gregory Peck, Ingrid Bergman, Paul McCartney, George Harrison spent his 50th birthday here.
Portmeirion Village is open from 9:30am until 5:30pm. As it’s a very popular place, it’s worth arriving early to beat the crowds. Tickets can be bought online or at the gates.
The village is fabulous and has so many charming and quirky details. I loved all the details: statues, bells, shop signs, ornaments etc. Who could not not love St Peter with the black sheep or the Roman head on a fuel pump? Not to mention the different bells and lamps on buildings – all painted in turquoise.
There are many views to enjoy and it’s worth walking around the village several times as you may spot something from a different angle. I particularly enjoyed this view:
A walk around the village
I’d definitely recommend walking around the village following the Woodland Walk. The best view of the village is from the gazebo anyway, plus there are other quirky things to see.
On the walk around the village there are more to see: a Chinese Pond, Japanese Garden with a bridge and pavilion, pet cemetery, Dancing Tree.
Down by the sea there’s a gorgeous view of the beach and you can climb up to the quirky lighthouse.
Following the coastal path, passing the Observatory Tower and Lord Nelson’s statue you get back to the hotel and then to the village.
Shops and restaurants
The restaurants offer a good selection of food, however, nothing fancy (hotel menu may differ). But the ice cream in the ice cream shop is amazing.
Shops offer mainly souvenirs but also artisan products and pottery – Portmeirion is also famous for its pottery. The Round House is home to the souvenir shop of the TV series, The Prisoner. Lady’s Lodge was the village shop in the TV series.
It’s a pity there’s not much information about this series in the village. I would have been happy to learn more about the story. I would have welcome a 10 minutes film about it.
Including the Woodland Walk you can easily spend a half day in Portmeirion or even more. It’s tricky to take pictures because of the crowd, however, there are moments when you can get a clear scene you just have to be patient.
Depending on at what time of the day you arrive you may find the tide is in or out. The tidal times are written on your ticket, but if you prefer visiting the village when the tide is in, you have to check the tidal times before your visit.
Hope you’ll enjoy your visit as much as I did.
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