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Porthmadog, Wales

Portmeirion Porthmadog Reviews

joseph98 joseph98
129 reviews
Surrealism by the seaside Oct 29, 2015
Portmeirion is part rural seaside resort, part working village (yes, people actually live here…and visitors stay here too!), but most of all it’s a whimsical, neo-classical folly, the surreal, decades-long pet project of the architect Clough Williams-Ellis.

Williams-Ellis saw it as a labour of love as he had a bold vision that an aesthetically-pleasing village could be built that would lure in paying customers whilst at the same time blending in with, rather than spoiling, the surrounding countryside; which around here is an area of natural beauty in its own right. Portmeirion, built in the neoclassic-inspired Italianate style, is the bizarre, multi-coloured result.

The village of Portmeirion is also, of course, where cult TV series The Prisoner was filmed. If you’re a big fan, like me, then ambling through the streets of Portmeirion is akin to immersing yourself into a living, breathing film set, albeit a weird one. The Prisoner was all about the struggles of a secret agent, known only as No.6, trapped in a strange and isolated place known only as ‘The Village’ with no obvious means of escape. As No.6 encountered many weird goings on – from giant sea-straddling bubbles that are sent to catch those who try to run away to brightly-coloured human chess matches – postmodern Portmeirion could hardly have been a more apt setting.

Fan of this TV series or not, Portmeirion is undoubtedly something of an oddball treat. The blending of religious and mythological symbolism – statues are in just about every direction you care to look – with all the colours of the rainbow splashed along the walls makes for a compellingly bonkers mix. It does help that the village has the gorgeous Gwynedd coastline as its backdrop, and the manicured lawns and flower arrangements give things a pastoral vibe.

This being a tourist-friendly place, there are plenty of outlets – a pottery shop, tea rooms and, yes, a Prisoner memorabilia store – to help you part with your money. It’s worth emphasising that Portmeirion is a village in the truest sense of the word: with people living there, not every nook and cranny is accessible. In spite of this, Portmeirion is still a wonderfully weird slice of Italianate architecture on the North Wales coastline, and very much worth a visit.
Think I'll let all these pictures …
8 / 8 TravBuddies found this review helpful/trustworthy
rsvpme says:
Congrats on the feature...!
Posted on: Nov 06, 2015
rheagirl says:
Congrats on the feature!
Posted on: Nov 06, 2015
joseph98 says:
Thanks Jenny :-) Helen - you should definitely watch the Prisoner! It's a stone-cold classic, is very influential, and has given us so many classic lines (e.g. 'I am not a number, I am a free man').
Posted on: Nov 05, 2015
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davidx davidx
564 reviews
Not convinced Nov 26, 2010
So you thought Portmeirion was a form of tableware - well, you were right but it is also a small village in Wales. That's where I am writing about here. Sir Clough Williams-Ellis bought the site in 1925 for what now seems like a song. What he created was an Italianate village. Why? That's where I am unconvinced. I am very fond of both Wales and Italy. it is trite to say that they are very different countries and not much less so to say that I like the Welshness of Wales and whatever the noun is of Italy. To me an Italianate village in Wales seems a bit unnecessary.

Having said that I can't fault Williams-Ellis on the execution. He succeeded in turning an ancient castle into a hotel without disturbing the Italianate nature of the site. The village has played an important role in TV drama.

However what makes Portmeirion for me is not the village but the estate with its wonderful plants and trees. Just take a look at http://www.portmeirion-village.com/content.php?nID=109;lID=1 and you will see what I mean.
sarahsan says:
Beautiful place David. I checked out the website. I have the Portmeirion tableware, but have never thought of it as a village. It´s now on my list of places to visit.
Posted on: Nov 28, 2010

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