Ever wanted to go to one of those pretty little Mediterranean villages, like the ones on the Italian Lakes or in the French Riveria? Can’t afford it? Join the club! Happily, you don’t have to travel across the seas to reach one. You may not know it, but there’s one right on your doorstep (ish). Portmeirion in Wales looks exactly like one of these beautiful villages, but it’s easy to reach by car and by rail. It’s also been used as a film set, probably because it’s cheaper than those ones in the Mediterranean!
The man who designed the village was an English architect. Portmeirion was basically his life’s work – it took 50 years to complete, between 1925 and 1975. The site is incredible – it’s on a beautiful estuary, at the end of the River Dwyryd. It’s surrounded by hills and woodlands. Actually, there are the foundations of a medieval castle in the woods! Within the grounds, there’s a Victorian castle-style building, which is also a hotel.
Portmeirion isn’t a place where people live. Most of it, like the castle mentioned just now, is a hotel. You can stay the night in this almost-Mediterranean haven! It’s probably really expensive, but I’ll bet it’s worth it. As you walk around the village, every cute little window you see is probably a hotel room, so find yourself relaxing with a book as the sunlight drifts gently through your window. Portmeirion is also licenced to perform weddings, and can you imagine going to a wedding there? Perfetto! It also has shops, restaurants and cafes that you can browse as you enjoy the sounds of the sea, the woodlands and the bustling little village. The fountains and the gardens are also really cool – you can see rare and exotic plants being cultivated in the slightly chilly Northern Welsh air! All of this you can enjoy for just £7 child and £9 adult admission fee.
The rich and famous have visited Portmeirion for its delightful atmosphere and iconic landmark status. Paul McCartney is just one of the many glitzy big names to have stayed there. Most famously, it’s the set of the 1960s TV series “The Prisoner”. This gave it a kind of cult status, which has even reached America. It also meant many more things were shot here. A festival is held every year at Portmeirion - the No6 Festival. This began in 2012 and has become a success.
Portmeirion is quite close to a lot of train stations – it’s only a mile away from Minffordd railway station, and only 2 miles away from the fairly big town of Porthmadog. Speaking of dogs, though, unfortunately you can’t take your dog with you to the attraction. It’s privately owned, so the owners of the estate decided not to allow them. As well as a hotel with a swimming pool, there’s also a spa, so Portmeirion is a great place to come and relax. If you want to get away from the city, you really couldn’t get further away than this!
Image from: http://snowdonia.org.uk/attra/portmei.htm