Perched on a secluded peninsula that offers breathtaking coastal views, Portmeirion is a unique and incomparable destination in Wales, thanks to the visionary architect Sir Clough Williams-Ellis. The fusion of Italian design and Welsh allure is truly remarkable and is the culmination of Williams-Ellis' dream which began in 1925. Although it took a long time to come to fruition, the wait was well worth it. Today, Portmeirion is one of the most enchanting and soul-stirring tourist villages in Wales. The Village is usually open every day from 9.30am to 5.30pm, apart from Christmas Day. Day tickets are available from the Tollbooth at the entrance. Check out the Portmeirion website for current prices and opening hours.
The village, famously known as the shooting location for the cult 1960s TV series "The Prisoner," consists of a collection of brightly coloured edifices surrounding a central piazza, expansive woodlands, two hotels, historical cottages, gift shops, spas, and award-winning eateries.
Clough Williams-Ellis had dreamed of a tightly-knit coastal village years before he stumbled upon the site, located close to his own residence in North Wales, where he was able to bring his vision to life. Portmeirion has become one of the most successful architectural projects of the 20th century in Great Britain.
Using an eco-conscious approach, Clough designed his Mediterranean-inspired architecture around a central piazza. Rare buildings and unwanted relics from around the world were transported and reconstructed to establish a hub of loggias, imposing porticoes, and tiny terracotta-roofed houses, painted in bold hues.
The village was erected in two phases: 1926-1939 and 1954-1976, by which time Clough was already in his nineties. Most of the buildings were designed and constructed by Clough, but a few were moved from other locations, such as the Town Hall, Bristol Colonnade, and the Dome's facade, which originally served as the upper portion of a Norman Shaw fireplace.
Explore the breathtaking natural scenery surrounding Portmeirion Village, including the enchanting subtropical forest, affectionately called The Gwyllt. This woodland wonderland boasts some of Britain's tallest trees, secret gardens, a crumbling castle, and rare flowers. Wander through the 70 acres of exotic woodlands, following the 19 miles of pathways that lead you through the forests, hidden enclaves, and coastal coves.
Be enchanted by the beautiful Japanese Garden, featuring a pagoda and lily-covered lake. Discover hidden treasures such as the Dog Cemetery, Tangle Wood, Ghost Garden and Shelter Valley.
Many of the unique species of flora found in The Gwyllt pre-date Clough Williams-Ellis. In the Victorian era, former tenants Henry Seymour Westmacott and, later, Sir Williams Fothergill Cook, a renowned botanist, planted an array of trees, including monkey puzzle trees, pines, magnolias, camellias, giant redwoods and various rhododendrons on the estate.
At the turn of the 20th century, Caton Haig, an expert on Himalayan flowering trees, continued Cook's work of planting rare species in the woods, including Portmeirion's famous selection of rhododendrons. Among the 70 varieties of rhododendrons, you'll find the red-flowering Portmeirion-bred cultivar rhododendron, also known as the 'Gwyllt King'. Cook also planted a magnificent magnolia campbellii with its enormous pink flowers and several ginkgo bilobas.
Discover the hidden caves, gullies, and unique plant life as you explore the white sandy beaches of the Dwyryd Estuary at Portmeirion Village. Indulge in an ice cream from Angel Ices Gelateria while soaking up the sun on this private stretch of coastline or take a walk along the coastal path to experience stunning views of the mountains and coast.
Please note that caution is advised when walking across the sands, especially during an incoming tide. High tide times are displayed on site and on all admission tickets. The sand area closer to Portmeirion Village is safe to explore and offers breathtaking backdrops in all directions.
Food and Drinks
On April 2, 1926, Sir Clough Williams-Ellis opened the Hotel Portmeirion. Four years later, in 1930, he extended the hotel by adding the curvilinear dining room. Sir Terence Conran's art deco design for the Dining Room and Bar of Portmeirion Village was completed in 2005. From the Dining Room, diners can enjoy stunning and majestic views of the Dwyryd Estuary. You can pre-book a meal and, if you book a Sunday lunch at the Portmeirion Hotel, you will receive free entry into Portmeirion Village. Click here for more details on their website.
The Town Hall Cafe has 1950s vintage style decor and serves home-cooked meals at affordable prices. Guests can enjoy a range of items such as sandwiches, salads, hot meals, cakes, and filled baguettes. Customers can choose to sit inside and soak up the retro vibes or enjoy the outside terrace with views overlooking the village centre. The Town Hall Cafe is open daily from 9:30am to 5:00pm (during the main season), with hot food being served from 2pm to 4pm.
The are also a number of other cafes in the village that provide quick light lunches and refreshments: you can find more information about each of these here.
Portmeirion Village also offers a variety of shops where visitors can find unique gifts and souvenirs, including Portmeirion Pottery Seconds. Whether you're looking for a special present or a little something for yourself, the diverse range of shops make finding the perfect item easy.
In addition to selling pottery, the stores also feature an eclectic selection of items such as books, homeware, toys and more.
Ffestiniog & Welsh Highland Railways
Minffordd Station, located just a mile away from Portmeirion, boasts platforms for both narrow gauge and mainline services. Board a vintage steam train from here and take a scenic journey through Snowdonia towards Blaenau Ffestiniog. Alternatively, you can take a short but picturesque ride to Porthmadog. For more information about the Ffestiniog & Welsh Highland Railway, visit their website.