When I first saw Portmeirion’s photographs and read that it was in Wales, I thought the article was mistaken. I was sure the little village was somewhere in the Mediterranean as the architecture has nothing to do with the British ones.
Well, after one look on the internet, I’ve learned that Portmeirion was indeed in North Wales.
The little town was built from 1925 to 1973 and designed in the style of a rustic Italian village by a guy named Clough Williams-Ellis.
Sir Williams-Ellis, been an environmentalist, intended to illustrate how a naturally beautiful region could be developed without spoiling it, adopting an eco-friendly approach, using unwanted artefacts from all over the world and restored to create his architectural vision.
His idea was to bring the Mediterranean atmosphere to Wales and create a functional and attractive private village with a nest of arcades, grand entrances and bright colours houses with terracotta-roofs.
In the 1960s, Portmeirion provided the backdrop for The Prisoner, one of the most influential cult classic series in the UK, USA and several other countries at that time. Even The Beatles were fans!
Nowadays, the village is a popular tourist destination, where the Italian Riviera meets rural Wales with a riot of colour and architectural styles.
Situated on a private peninsula overlooking the breathtaking welsh coastal scenery, Portmeirion welcomes over 200,000 visitors each year.
The village contains a cluster of colour-washed buildings around a picturesque piazza, historic cottages, various shops, cafes, one spa, award-winning restaurants, and two hotels.
I was lucky because the day I visited the village was a wonderful day with beautiful sunshine and pleasant hot temperature (a miracle in the UK!).
It was a pleasure to walk in the alleys and discover this picturesque village. But, to be honest, it felt like I was at an amusement park or on a movie set, where everything is so perfectly composed.
Anyway, I thought it was worth spending a few hours getting to appreciate this pretty little town!
The village is usually open every day from 9.30 am to 5.30 pm, aside from Christmas Day. Day tickets are available at the entrance.
However, with the pandemic, I encourage you to book in advance. Check out the Portmeirion website for current prices and opening hours: https://portmeirion.wales
The name is Port because of the coastal location and Meirion is Welsh for Merioneth, the county in which it lay.
What to see in Portmeirion Village?
Clifftop and Chantry Row
It offers sweeping views of the Estuary and visitors can walk down to the Clifftop Rotunda, or Grotto. Here, you will also find The Dome, which presents seasonal exhibitions.
This pleasant little plaza includes guest accommodation, Campanile Bell Tower, the Mermaid Spa, The Round House – a shop selling nostalgic memorabilia of The Prisoner and the coffee shop Caffi’r Sgwâr.
With its Riviera-inspired houses facing it, the exquisite garden is the centrepiece of Portmeirion, featuring a fountain pool, Gothic Pavilion, Gloriette, the Bristol Colonnade and a giant chessboard.
Where the Triumphal Arch is and the Audio-Visual building is featuring a 20 minutes video about the village. On the Portmeirion website, it says that some of the best views of the village are from the Square. The station for the Woodland Train is also located here.
Includes two reception rooms: Hercules Hall, which is open to visitors with a bar, space for art exhibitions and other functions but closed when private ceremonies are held.
And the Tudor Room with space for hosting celebrations, small meetings and parties. In addition, it has a private patio overlooking the village.
Its where the Hotel Portmeirion is as its waterfront hub. The Coastal Path, Estuary and Amis Reunis, the Casino at The Hotel & Quayside, and the Observatory Tower are all in this area.
Y Gwyllt or “the Wild”
Stretch your legs in these 70 acres of exotic woodlands, explore the exotic Japanese Garden, the gilded pagoda and the beautiful lily-covered lake. Search out the Tangle Wood, the Dog’s Cemetery, Ghost Garden and Shelter Valley.
Explore the white sandy beaches and discover hidden caves, ditches and a flurry of exciting plants. Stroll along the coastal path toward the end of the peninsula to contemplate the stunning views of the mountain and coast. And see the Amis Reunis, or “Friends Reunited”, a stone boat where children can play pirates.
Outside the village but within the Portmeirion land, this impressive mansion has a stone facade, tall battlements and Gothic decorations. Castell Deudraeth is now a hotel, and even if you’re not staying, you can have lunch in the brasserie.
How to get to Portmeirion?
There’s plenty of visitor free car parking within 50 metres approx of the entrance. The address is Minffordd, Penrhyndeudraeth, Gwynedd, LL48, 6ER.
A daily bus service runs from Porthmadog, and the journey takes only 5 minutes. For timetable check it here.
Portmeirion is around a mile from Minffordd, where it has a railway station for both the Cambrian Coast Line and the Ffestiniog & Welsh Highland Railways. Check it out the timetable here.
Tremadog – 3 miles from Portmeirion
Llanbedrog – 20 miles from Portmeirion
Portdinllaen – 22 miles from Portmeirion – charming fishing village
Aberdaron – 32 miles from Portmeirion
Porth Neigwl – 32 miles from Portmeirion – peninsula, beaches
Harlech – beach on the south of Portmeirion and a famous castle
There is so much to see and do at Portmeirion, and you can also enjoy the scenic surroundings and extensive woodlands.
It takes about 2.5 hours to visit the little village, depending on how compelling you find the place.
However, if you would like to stay in for a few days, you can either stay in one of the two hotels, The Hotel Portmeirion and Castell Deudraeth or stay in one of the 13 Self-Catering Cottages.
I hope you enjoy your visit there and if you have any questions or suggestions, please leave a comment below.