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Marvel at the beautifully designed village of Portmeirion, built in the 1920s as an exercise in aesthetics. Italian-style architecture blends in with the wooded hills and overlooks a tranquil, secluded bay. Colorful accommodations are scattered across this picture-perfect village, which is located on the edges of the spectacular Snowdonia National Park.
Admire the designs of Sir Clough Williams-Ellis, the architect behind the Portmeirion experiment. His aim was to recreate a Mediterranean-inspired town and to prove that an area of natural beauty could be developed without being ruined. The village was built in two parts, firstly between 1925 and 1939, then after the war from 1954 to 1976. Williams-Ellis’ beautiful village subsequently became famous as the setting of the cult 1960s TV series The Prisoner.
Start in the Visitor Centre for information on the history of the village. Here, pick up maps of the area and booklets pointing out what you can see. Ask about the free walking tours that happen during peak season, from March to October.
Stroll around the village center to appreciate the results of Williams-Ellis’ hard work. The central piazza transports you to the shores of the Mediterranean, with pastel-colored houses, classical statues and a bell tower. Stop by sights such as the Bristol Colonnade and the Gothic Pavilion, while looking around every corner for more architectural curiosities.
Explore the Gwyllt Wild Gardens, which burst to life with dozens of rare plant species. The mild climate of Portmeirion allows for exotic plants to survive here. Follow one of the walking trails to enjoy the biodiversity of the gardens.
Come to the village in September to experience Festival Number 6. This increasingly popular weekend includes music, comedy and art within this scenic setting.
Portmeirion’s enticingly remote location is easiest to access by car. The nearest major train station is in Blaenau Ffestiniog, although a narrow-gauge steam railway runs to the nearby village of Minffordd. Park next to the village then explore the site on foot. Stay in one of the hotels or cottages in Portmeirion to truly experience the atmosphere of this famously picturesque destination.