Cheshire Life - - North Wales Special -

The per­sonal pas­sion project of Welsh ar­chi­tect, Sir Clough Wil­liams-El­lis, who ac­quired this pri­vate penin­sula in 1925 and set about cre­at­ing a Riviera-in­spired vil­lage, com­plete with pi­az­zas and painted ter­ra­cotta cot­tages, Port­meirion is a beau­ti­ful, whim­si­cal, slightly surreal cel­e­bra­tion of a Portofino life­style – on the Snow­do­nia coast. Wil­liams-El­lis in­tended to demon­strate how na­ture and ar­chi­tec­ture can ex­ist har­mo­niously to­gether – al­most a cen­tury on no­body can ar­gue pretty, Port­meirion has failed on that front. Though here’s the curve­ball for some; it’s not ac­tu­ally a real vil­lage.


Don’t be one of the dis­ap­pointed vis­i­tors who turn up at Port­meirion ex­pect­ing a ful­ly­func­tion­ing real-life vil­lage. It’s ac­tu­ally a tourist attraction, com­plete with en­trance fee (£12 for adults) and open­ing hours

(if you’re not stay­ing in one of the ap­proved ac­com­mo­da­tion op­tions, the gates shut at 7pm). De­spite that slight Dis­ney

World slant, it re­mains the per­fect place to pot­ter, whiling away a day in its shops, cafes and cob­bled squares. Beyond the vil­lage, you can see why Wil­liams-El­lis wanted to work with the nat­u­ral landscape; it’s phe­nom­e­nal. A 70-acre sub­trop­i­cal for­est, known as The Gwyllt, me­an­ders to­wards the coast­line and con­tains some of Bri­tain’s largest trees, a derelict cas­tle and a plethora of stun­ning rare flow­ers.


Floor-to-ceil­ing win­dows look­ing out to Vic­to­rian gar­dens and fine Welsh fare make the Brasserie at Castell Deu­draeth a lovely op­tion for an in­for­mal lunch or din­ner. Should you want to take the views up a notch, take af­ter­noon tea on the ter­race of The Ho­tel Port­meirion. Or to trick your senses into believ­ing you re­ally are on the Ital­ian coast pick up a gelato from Caffi’r An­gel – their flavours are all made on-site and in­clude bara brith, an icy take on the tra­di­tional Welsh fruit bread.


Want to stay the night? Then you have the choice of two ho­tels or var­i­ous self-cater­ing op­tions, be it an en­tire cot­tages or one of the lux­ury rooms scat­tered through­out the vil­lage. Of the cot­tages, we have a soft spot for The Toll House – a quirky Grade II-listed weather boarded af­fair which sleeps six and of­fers seascapes from al­most ev­ery win­dow. Both ho­tels are four-star rated – The Ho­tel Port­meirion of­fers by­gone Vic­to­rian grandeur, Castell Deu­draeth does Gothic glamour.

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