When we arrived at Portmeirion we had an hour to walk on the sandbar before it was too dangerous to do so (they recommend that you leave the sandbar three hours before high tide to avoid the quick sand). So, we walked around out on the sandbar for a while, then walked around in the gardens for a while. We found the playground and a couple of ponds. My son made some friends on the playground.
After that we decided we weren't hungry enough for lunch and had an ice cream instead. We watched the Portmeirion video (not really worth the time if you had the book, IMHO), did some shopping and sat in the garden.
The short history of Portmeirion - Clough Williams-Ellis on a peninsula off the coast of Snowdonia to show how 'the development of a naturally beautiful site need not lead to its defilement'. It is owned by a Registered Charity called The Second Portmeirion Foundation and managed by Portmeirion Limited. The BBC did an 80th anniversary show in 2006.
There is a pottery which was taken over and renamed the Portmeirion Pottery by Susan Williams-Ellis and husband Euan Cooper-Willis in 1960. Patrick McGoohan's television series The Prisoner was filmed on location at Portmeirion in 1966-67.
Portmeirion is open 365 days a year from 9.30am to 5.30pm. The village shops are open from 10.00am to 5.30pm and the Town Hall self-service restaurant is open from 10.00am to 5.00pm.
Castell Deudraeth Bar & Grill is open from 11.00am to 11.00pm every day.
The Hotel Portmeirion Dining Room is open for lunch and dinner daily except Monday lunchtime. The dining room is often booked for wedding functions on Saturdays.
Charges 2006 - 2007 are as follows:
Children under 4 free of charge
No dogs allowed (guide dogs excepted)
Always check tide times as printed on addmission tickets and never venture onto estuary sands within 2 hours of next high tide.
- Family Travel
- Arts and Culture
Admire the beautiful buildings
Portmeirion is one of North Wales' popular tourist attractions. The Village is privately owned and run by a charitable trust. Visitors are only allowed to visit the Village during the day unless they are lucky enough to be staying in one of the charming cottages or the waterfront Portmeirion Hotel.
The buildings in Portmeirion are similar to those on the Ligurian coast of Italy. Many of the features and architectural styles of the buildings and colors are only seen in that part of the world. Some of Portmeirion's buildings have been dismantled, brought to this location, and rebuilt. Others have been purpose designed by its architect, Sir Clough Williams-Ellis to compliment the whole effect.
Once you have paid the entry fee you are free to wander around the paths and gardens and soak up the ambience.
Admission Charges for 2009;
Adult - £7.50
Concessions - £6.00
Children - £4.00
Half price entry after 15:30
Opening times; 09.30 - 19.30
- Arts and Culture
Potmeirion lies just south east of the town of Porthmadog on its own private peninsula. There is a lovely coastal path than can be walked but beware do not go onto the estuary 2 hours before next tide - the sea comes in rapidly and can be dangerous. Tremadoc Bay, and the larger Cardigan Bay can be seen. The River Dwyryd passes by Portmeirion, leaving at low tide wide expanses of sands.
Gwyllt Wild Gardens
Thes beautiful gardens were largely developed by Caton Haig, one of the highest authorities on Himalayan flowering trees. On his death in 1941 Clough acquired the Gwyllt gardens which he added to his existing holdings at Portmeirion. From 1953 onwards his daughter Susan Williams-Ellis worked with Clough on the general development of the Gwyllt gardens Tall Conifers and Maidenhair trees, Gingko biloba and large Rhododendrons, notably Rh. falconeri with its fine brown-backed foliage can be enjoyed - reaslly makes for lovely walks all season. If trees are your passion them do get the tree trail leaflet.
The Colonnade was built about 1760 and formerly stood before a bathhouse in Bristol, England. It was falling into decay when the structure was relocated to Portmeirion. Several hundred tons of delicate masonry were disassembled and transported to Portmeirion with every stone numbered, and replaced according to precise measurements.
Gazebo and Gardens
Clough Williams-Ellis died in 1978. but his memory lives on in the village - in 1983 a new Gazebo was erected to mark his centenary. Its located on the hill overlooking Portmeirion's village and is passed on one of the trails in the gardens of Portmeirion. There are many varities of trees and shrubs to enjoy and free leaflets can be obtained at the entrance to the village to help you enjoy these features.
Explore the woods around Portmeirion
Portmeirion is surrounded by fantastic woodlands where you can follow the waymarked trails and enjoy the natural beauty this area has on offer. On entering Portmeirion Village you will be given a map of the area which also includes a map of the woodland walks which take you past some ornate fishponds with japenese bridges & Gazebo's. The climate is very mild here so you will find a wide variety of plants, shrubs and trees growing here. It is an oasis for wildlife and nature lovers alike.
- Hiking and Walking
On a terrace path above the village is a Japenese garden with bridge and pagoda temple - a really pretty place for a stroll - and of course ideal place for reflections :-) It came about in the 1960's when Clough marked out areas in the Gwyllt which he would like made into ponds or lakes. His daughter Susan supervised the landscaping of these lakes and designed and sited the Chinese bridge and pagoda for the largest lake.
Portmeirion Village Buildings
The village was created gradually and several buildings were rescued from those falling into decay, indeed the village was known as the "Home for Fallen Buildings" - such as the colonade - see later tip for details. The Unicorn Cottage is a minature of a stately Chatsworth home - elongated windows, long pillars, and an undersized gate make the Unicorn seem tall, but in fact it is a dressed-up bungalow... only one story high! The mermaid panel to the front of the balcony is one of around thirty that Clough got from the Seaman’s Home in Liverpool.The unicorn is just one of several properties that can be rented to stay in.( See last tip)
For more info on the buildings in the village - follow the web link for an interactive map
Staying in Portmeirion
Its possible to stay in the village - at a price though - many of the buildings are available for rent and just above the entrance is a castle hotel. Portmeirion also won the Wales Tourist Board's Best Place to Stay in Wales award - certainly unique don't you think.
Hotel Portmeirion has 14 rooms in main building and 26 rooms and suites in the village
plus 17 self-catering cottages sleeping from 2 to 8 people
The Castell Deudraeth has 11 contemporary styles rooms and suites
Hotel Portmeirion is beautifully situated on the estuary front and was the original mansion of Aber Iâ. It was built around 1850 and first described by Richard Richards in 1861 as "one of the most picturesque of all the summer residences to be found on the sea-coast of Wales.” This would be my choice of place to stay in Portmeirion. Famous guests here include H.G. Wells, George Bernard Shaw, Bertrand Russell, Noël Coward and Sir Kenneth Clark.
Walk along the Coastal Path
There is a lovely coastal path at the foot of the village which goes past the Portmeirion Hotel, a model of a stone boat then towards the observatory tower on the headland. There are lots of pretty floral displays along the way together and plenty of benches if you fancy a rest or are looking for somewhere to eat your picnic.
- Arts and Culture
Clough Williams-Ellis built Portmeirion from 1925 to 1975 on a peninsula off the coast of Snowdonia. His italinate designed village and gardens was to demonstrate how a naturally beautiful site could be developed without spoiling it. Its quite an unusual place to visit and worthwhile seeking out this remote part of Wales.
On the coastal path this dummy lighthouse is passed - it was created by Clough Williams-Ellis in the 1950s and was given the title by him of "The Round House". Not long after this building the path enters the wild gardens - altenatively take the path on the left and head for he beach.
A strange eerie place in the gardens (before it descends to the lakes) is this dog cemetry. This pet cemetry was established by one of Portmeirion’s eccentric tenants, Mrs Adelaide Haig, who lived in the mansion from 1870 until her death in 1917. She preferred the company of dogs to human beings and thus remembered them here.
Portmeirion village is a created village in an Italianesque style, perched on the edge of North Wales!
On a picturesque penninsula, Lord Clough Williams-Ellis created his vision of an achitectural delight in harmony with the environment in which it sits. The result is both exquisite and bizarre. So strange, in fact, that it was the set for the 60's surreal thriller "The Prisoner".
It is also the origin of Portmeirion pottery, but which is now made in Stoke-on-Trent, Britain's ceramics capital.