For day 15 of #blogjune, our travelogue continues in Wales…
Portmeirion is a magical village, actually located on an estuary in North Wales near the large town of Porthmadog, but in feeling it’s set quite apart from the real world. We stayed here for four nights of our holiday and it was a very special experience.
Marvelously eccentric Portmeirion Village was designed and built by Clough Williams-Ellis, a likewise marvelously eccentric gentleman, over the years between 1925 and 1975. At first glance it looks like a Disneyland-version of a Tuscan village that has somehow sprouted in North Wales.
While most of the village was built by Williams-Ellis using rescued buildings and fragments from demolition sites – he called Portmeirion “a home for fallen buildings” – he based his village on an existing hotel which continues today, providing rather luxurious accommodations. A couple of other original buildings were renovated and expanded, including White Horses cottage where we stayed.
Portmeirion makes a perfect base for exploring North Wales. It’s just a few minutes’ drive to the railway at Minfordd or Porthmadog, and at Porthmadog you also have the choice of two restored steam train lines, the Ffestiniog Railway which winds its way up the valley to Blaenau Ffestiniog, or the Welsh Highland Railway to Caernarfon.
You can also walk to Minfordd, it takes about 45 minutes walking along a woodland path, and you can continue your walk alongside the railway to Porthmadog town. But we were happy to spend quite a lot of time just enjoying the village and the views across the estuary. It was especially lovely early in the evenings after the day visitors had departed.
If you are a fan of the 1960s television show The Prisoner you will of course recognise Portmeirion which was used as the setting for the village, and Patrick McGoohan actually lived in White Horses cottage during the filming. On our last day we saw people setting up for the annual festival, it looked like fun, but it was also nice to be leaving before the crowds arrived to spoil the magic.