You may know the name of Portmeirion from their iconic china patterns – the botanic prints surrounded by herb leaves. But there’s another side to the business, which you might know from the 1960’s BBC cult classic, The Prisoner. Amazingly, it’s a small Italian-style village nestled into the sea-front in North Wales. I’d heard about this place when I lived in Wales, but never had the opportunity to visit. I decided to make the trip north, and at the suggestion of friends, I booked in for dinner, an overnight stay and then breakfast on site.
While most of the local architecture of Wales is stone and slate, the buildings in Portmeirion are pastel wedding cakes! Originally constructed in the 1920’s in the Arts & Crafts style, the village evolved after WWII and until the 1970’s in more of a Palladian style, one of my favourites! The architect was Clough Williams-Ellis, who had conceived the village as a whole and executed the plans he been devising for years.
The village is unoccupied, but guests can stay in the flats and villas. There’s also a sea-front hotel, and some shops and cafes, and the village also owns a castle up the road. From staying under a huge domed building overlooking the village to the campanile overlooking the sea, each lodging is unique.
The village is ornamented in every conceivable way. Urns, statuary, gilding, festooning, gardooning and much more adorn every building. And the colours, especially the signature turquoise, are gorgeous.
I had such fun wandering around the village, marvelling at the myriad details and admiring the thought and care that went into building this special place. Everywhere I turned, I found something that captured my attention.
For more information on Portmeirion, please click here. And I will just leave you with the words of the founder, which resonated with me.
This was on the personal welcome letter I received upon my arrival.