How about taking a stroll around the cobbled streets of a Mediterranean village, getting lost in a subtropical forest, and dipping your toes in the sand while enjoying an Italian ice cream… without leaving the country? No, we haven’t gone insane: that’s exactly what you can do at Portmeirion, North Wales.If you were hoping to plan a truly unique day out, keep reading: you certainly won’t find anything like it in the whole UK.
What exactly is Portmeirion, North Wales?
Portmeirion is a one-of-a-kind tourist village located in Gwynedd, North Wales. Inspired by the nostalgic atmosphere of the Italian Riviera, Sir Clough Williams-Ellis designed it as a tribute to small Mediterranean towns and it was built between 1925 and 1975.Portmeirion North Wales is now a colourful cluster of Mediterranean buildings centred around a traditional piazza (square) and overlooking the coastal view of the estuary.Populated by memorable architecture, woodlands, shops, cafés, restaurants and a sandy beach, it’s certainly one of the best things to do in North Wales
. Whether you’re with your partner, a group of friends, or your entire family, Portmeirion has something that will capture your heart.
Exploring the village and its architecture
While there are lots of shops to visit, walking around the village is a breathtaking experience in itself.Portmeirion includes a dramatic nest of porticoes, loggias and little houses with terracotta roofs, as well as statues and sprouting fountains. They mainly consist of unused buildings and artefacts from all over the world, saved by Portmeirion’s architect to give them a second life.No wonder this picturesque tourist village has been used as a filming location multiple times, with the most famous being the 1960s show The Prisoner!
Scattered around Portmeirion are seven different shops with all sorts of items and products.From traditional gift shops to a quaint bookstore and a pantry shop full of traditional Welsh produce, you really don’t want to miss out on any of them. This village has even incorporated North Wales’ oldest department store, built in 1874.Portmeirion also has an art gallery and its own range of home fragrance products, ideal to take some Mediterranean magic back home with you.
The Gwyllt, Portmeirion Gardens
Located on a scenic peninsula, Portmeirion is surrounded by 70 acres of sub-tropical forest. This exotic woodland is commonly known as the Gwyllt, Wildwood in Welsh. It hides over nineteen miles of pathways that will take you from the forest to the most hidden coastal coves.From the lily-covered lake in the Japanese Garden to the spooky Dog Cemetery and Ghost Garden, the entire woodland is full of postcard-worthy landmarks and views to discover.
Just like the most famous Mediterranean coastal villages, Portmeirion features a sandy beach.Enjoy a stroll along the estuary and let your kids have the time of their lives with sandcastles and kites.Featuring gullies and different plants species, it’s most definitely an upgrade from the pebbly beach that you’re accustomed to.Don’t forget to check out the Amis Reunis, usually referred to as ‘the stone boat’. Obtained when Clough himself decided to moor a local trading ketch, it now offers a scenic view of the estuary (and an excuse to play pirates).
Eating at Portmeirion
No Italian-inspired experience would be complete without something for your taste buds! Just like on the Mediterranean Riviera, at Portmeirion North Wales you’re really spoiled with choice.For dinner, this tourist village lets you choose between two outstanding options, both relying on the tastiest local produce. The former is an award-winning fine dining restaurant with a menu full of modern twists on traditional classics, while the latter is a more informal but contemporary brasserie.If you were looking for a snack or an unforgettable al fresco lunch, you’ll be torn among Portmeirion’s five cafés. Are you going to opt for an Italian pizza, a home-made gelato, or a sandwich served in a 50s diner?
Portmeirion’s Mermaid Spa
If you really want to pamper yourself or give someone the present of a lifetime, you could also consider Portmeirion’s spa.Overlooking the estuary, it’s the perfect place to switch off from the outside world and relax body, mind and soul.
Visiting Portmeirion North Wales
You can always opt for a day ticket, currently ranging from £9 to £13 with lots of family discounts (plus, children under 5 don’t pay).Or maybe you can already tell that you’re going to fall in love with this charming Mediterranean-inspired village? Luckily, they also offer an annual membership, full of perks and starting at only £30.Portmeirion in North Wales is only one of the many attractions to visit in this area. Do you wish you could make the most of it for the rest of your life without worrying about hotel stays? Check out our lodges in North Wales
to find a Welsh home away from home.