February 26, 2020 3 min read

Portmeirion Villlage, North Wales


Portmeirion (sometimes mis-spelt as Portmerion) is a tourist village in the county of Gwynedd, North Wales. It is located just outside the Snowdonia National Park near to the villages and towns of Penrhyndeudraeth, Minfford and Porthmadog with majestic views over the river Dwyryd estuary. It was acquired by Sir Clough Williams-Ellis in 1925.

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Portmeirion Architecture

Portmeirion village is the design folly of its founder, the architect Sir Clough Williams-Ellis. His creative vision for a private peninsula on the Snowdonia coast, demonstrating how architecture and nature can live together, finds a physical manifestation in Portmeirion village. Clough acquired the wilderness site in 1925 and dedicated his life to building a miniature Italianate village, drawing heavily on the coloured facades of Portofino for inspiration.

Portmeirion - Views of the buildings from the Central Square

He set out to salvage classical buildings from demolition, giving rise to Clough's description of Portmeirion as "a home for fallen buildings". Clough continued with the development of Portmeirion throughout his life with the building continuing in stages until 1976. Clough died in 1978, but his legacy lives on with buildings such as the Gothic Pavilion, Bristol Colonnade and Hercules Hall, all celebrating his motto: "Cherish the Past, Adorn the Present, Construct for the Future"

The architectural styles of the buildings range from Arts & Crafts to Classical to Baroque, painted in pastel hues, surrounding a reflecting pond and central lawn. Clough included elements of the original ruins and bits of salvaged buildings into his designs, including many disparate styles. Among other things Clough called the village his “home for fallen buildings” and the extensive grounds are dotted with follies, sculptures, and ornamental ponds all part of his “light opera” approach to architecture.

Portmeirion - River Views

 Portmeirion Woodlands and Grounds

Portmeirion village is not just a summer destination. The 130-acre site, set amid woodlands and carefully manicured gardens, offers some of the most stunning scenery in Wales – magical for autumn colours and beautifully still on a winter morning. The micro-climate of the peninsula also protects it from the worst of the winter frosts.

Take the gorgeous 40-minute walk through the Gwyllt woodland to explore a wild garden designed by the horticulturalist Caton Haigh, an authority on Himalayan trees and exotic plants. The rhododendrons, azaleas and magnolia bring new textures to each season. Look out for the Dog Cemetery, established by former tenant of the manor house Mrs Adelaide Haig, where many of Portmeirion pets have been buried during the last century. The eccentric lady of the manor preferred dogs to people and used the Bible to read to her pets. Within the woodland grounds just outside the village, there are some remains of a medieval castle which has been known variously over history as Castell Deudraeth, Castell Gwain Goch and Castell Aber Iâ). This castle was recorded by Gerald of Wales in 1188. 

Portmeirion on the Television and in the Films

Portmeirion Village became world famous when it was used as the setting for the wonderful 1960s British TV cult classic “The Prisoner,” and to this day, still hosts a Prisoner weekend every year. The village has been used for films or television, including

  • Danger Man
  • Doctor Who
  • Citizen Smith
  • Cold Feet

... and many others.

Stay at Portmeirion

It addition to its architectural heritage, its stunning setting and sub-tropical gardens, Portmeirion has two stunning hotels and self-catering cottages, numerous shops, cafes and restaurants and an authentic Italian gelateria! The main hotel is located on the banks of the river Dwyryd with spectacular views of the estuary and the other, Castell Deudraeth is located at the top of the village.

Portmeirion - Views over the Dwyryd river estuary from the hotel grounds

About FelinFach

Our company, FelinFach Natural Textilesis located in the heart of the Preseli area of Pembrokeshire near to Boncath. We design Welsh blankets, Welsh woollen blankets and throws which are traditionally woven at Welsh mills. We also design and make natural hand dyed yarn, cotton, silk and wool scarves and other handmade products. We are a proud supporter of the Campaign for Wool, Global Welsh and Wales International.

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Last Updated 29th February 2020

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