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Who needs to go to the Med?
Member Name: cswann
Date: 17/03/03, updated on 17/03/03 (1088 review reads)
Advantages: Perfect setting, A one-off UK resort
Disadvantages: Can be expensive, Hilly (but wheelchair/puchchair accessible)
The perfect holiday spot if you fancy imagining that you are in a Mediterranean or anItalian resort – but it’s in Wales, so the weather could let you down a little bit! Portmeirion is a place I’ve always meant to visit, I knew how charming it looks, due to seeing those scenes from the 60s cult TV series, “The Prisoner”. Somehow I never got there until last Summer, but I can promise you, it will be the first of many visits!
It’s one of those places that, to be honest, I don’t want to tell everyone about – I’d rather it stayed our little secret, but here goes…
Portmeirion Village dates from 1926, when Clough Williams-Ellis started a project to demonstrate that a naturally picturesque site could be developed and still look unspoilt. A committed designer, he believed that buildings should ‘fit into’ their surroundings, and one look at Portmeirion tells you that he achieved this. Not only was the lovely hilly cove unspoilt, in my view it isn’t stretching it to say it was actually improved.
Much of its charm lies on the fact that it is unique, and it’s such a surprise to see the village – if you’ve never heard of it or seen pictures of it, it really will take your breath away.
Scattered around the gardens are many artefacts and special features – the courtyards, with the fountains and overlooking colonnade, are the most recognisable areas, from “The Prisoner”. But it’s not all Mediterranean in style. There’s a statue of Buddha, which was originally used in the 1958 film “The Inn of Sixth Happiness”, which was filmed nearby.
The Shops are far more select than those in many tourist attractions – there are over 10 shops, and here’s a selection –
Ship Shop, selling Portmeirion pottery, and other giftware
Jam Pot, selling jam, and other edible delicacies
The Prosoner Shop &
#8211; selling memorabilia connected with the TV series
A bookshop, which features Welsh books
The Dome Gallery, selling art prints.
There are many walks through the surrounding forest and coastline. There’s an adventure playground for the kids. A swimming pool, near the beach, looks very inviting, but is for hotel residents only (more of which later).
It’s open every day, all year round, from 9.30 am to 5.30 pm.
Entrance costs are –
Senior citizens £4.00
(Under 4's – free)
Many of the buildings around the village also form part of a very classy hotel.
Now this is the important part – if you stay in the hotel, you get to see the village and the gardens at their very best. Once the day visitors have left, you can stroll in the peace and quiet of the delightful surroundings.
It’s well worth tying in a visit to Portmeirion with a hotel stay there – but it’s on the pricey side –
They vary according to the type of room, and it’s best to expect to pay at least £100 a night for a room for two.
There are room-only rates as well as dinner bed and breakfast rates, so it can be quite flexible according to your needs. For a “superior” room, the cost would be £246 for two people for two nights (dinner bed and breakfast).
If your are staying in the hotel, be prepared to either eat all your meals in the hotel (not cheap), or in the more basic cafeteria – there isn’t really an inbetween, and no grocery shop to buy your own food.
Self-catering accommodation is also available, again in buildings around the gardens.
There are some very special seasonal breaks. For instance, a 3-night stay over Christmas Eve, Christmas Day and Boxing Day (I’d dearly love to do this, but couldn’t afford to take the whole family, which would ruin Christmas) – includes dinner, bed
and breakfast, and, on Christmas Day, lunch as well.
Cost is between £410 to £580 per person, depending on which room you stay in.
There are similar New Year breaks, with similar prices.
As you’ve probably gathered, a hotel stay is definitely for a luxury break, rather than a cheap family holiday.
The Hotel Portmeirion
Gwynedd, LL48 6ET
Tel. 01766 770000
email = firstname.lastname@example.org
There’s a website for the whole village at www.virtualportmeirion.com, which is very informative, as well as having lots of pictures and virtual tours.
P.S. spooky coincidence - Portmeirion featured quite prominently in the final episode of “Cold Feet”, screened on TV last night, minutes after I’d finished writing this review!