The living film-set “The Prisoner” - that is Portmeirion village located at the top of the Lleyn Peninsula, North Wales. It’s a confection of bright-coloured houses, baroque splendour, charming gardens and quirky statuary.
According to the official Portmeirion website it "was built to show how you could develop a naturally beautiful setting without spoiling and with sufficient skill and care and architectural good manners can actually enhance the natural environment".
"Cherish the Past
Adorn the Present
Construct for the Future" - said Clough William-Ellis
We have wanted to go to this village for some time and it was a lovely place to spend a few hours exploring and the views were incredible.
Portmeirion is a great place!
It was like stepping into a living picture book or melting through the mirror into Looking Glass Land.
It’s definitely the prettiest and quirkiest village we’ve ever been to.
It was a beautiful sunny day so of course everything looked even more magical there but you honestly feel like you're in a different little world when you're exploring all the tiny little paths.
Clough Williams-Ellis used his brilliant architectural skills to design a gloriously unique mini-town of Italianate buildings where every corner reveals an unusual viewpoint. His idea was to build a village that would enhance the surrounding area rather than blend in as so many others wanted. Transporting unwanted buildings from all over the UK, between 1925 and 1976 he created this little gem of architectural oddities that somehow works.
We spent around four hours wandering around, exploring and discussing what life might have been like for those in the little houses and mini castles, deciding which of the house we would have chosen as our own. There were only a couple of other people up there, and we pretty much had the whole place to ourselves. It was so peaceful.
Williams-Ellis began building the Italianate village of Portmeirion purchased this land for £20,000 in 1925 and he described it as:
“a neglected wilderness – long abandoned by those romantics who had realised the unique appeal and possibilities of this favoured promontory but who had been carried away by their grandiose landscaping…into sorrowful bankruptcy.”
Over the next 50 years he lovingly constructed what is now an absolute romantics dream. There are - sensual curves, nymphs on plinths, ethereal looking statues of women in flowing robes, Grecian pillars aplenty and everything doused in a rainbow swathe of warm Mediterranean colours - it's filled with tiny little buildings like coffee shops and art galleries in loads of different colours making it look so unique and bright and it has the most stunning gardens!
It’s the view of the undulating ridged sands which meet the sky where the sea rolls in, that takes the breath away.
Every inch of the village is unique designed, in contrast with the wilder forest and coastal paths that surround it. But somehow, the combination works, and the colourful buildings blend seamlessly with the Welsh countryside and bay of which it overlooks. There’s something magical about the place that made me feel intrinsically happy by just being there.
Maybe it is the sunshine also helped. There was one hidden gem which was a sort of underground shelter with walls made out of huge shells.
A shell grotto that was just like the Little Mermaid’s deep-sea garden.
It was so magical!
We ate a delicious lunch – homemade sandwiches - probably one of the nicest meals we have ever eaten - was it the food, the scenery, the solitude, the company? Probably all of these things but it was one of our nicest meals ever.
We wandered through the gardens and woods, walked the coastal path, feasted on delicious pizza at Caffi Glas, relaxed on the benches, took a train ride through the woods and took lots and lots of pictures.
We came across a many trees filled with different types of coins - it was a wishing tree so you had to place a coin into the bark and make a wish!
We hope to return, one day.
But we already have happy memories of a sunny October day in fairy tale place!
Mermaid Cottage was already on the site when Clough bought the land. It was built in the 1850s and Clough adorned it.
view inside into window glass: