A Folly of a Village
Portmeirion is a unique and magical Welsh village that was created by Sir Clough William-Ellis between 1925 and 1977. It is mainly built in the style of an Italian village, although there are other influences too. It is though unlike any other place in Britain.
William Ellis named it as Portmeirion as. ‘port’ relates to its coastal position and. ‘meirion.’ is derived from the county of Merioneth (Meirionydd) where it is. Currently it is run by a charitable trust and is a top tourist attraction within North Wales.
Portmeirion became famous during the 1960s when it starred as ‘The Village,’ in the cult TV show, ‘The Prisoner, which is a show well worth watching.
If you go as a day visitor there is a small admittance charge, which is cheaper if bought in advanced online. There is also an option to book into the hotel or stay in one of the rooms within the village which are used both as hotel rooms and for self catering holidays. In the village you will also find shops, a cafe, restaurant, ice cream parlour and beauty spa. There are also woods to explore in you are feeling energetic and if you are not that you can also hop aboard the forest train. Ever since the beginning the mermaid has been used as the symbol of Portmeirion.
The Building of the Village
Sir William Clough-Ellis designed and built Portmeirion. It was his tribute to the Mediterranean village. Many people claim he based it on the Italian village Portofino, but whilst Clough-Ellis confessed that he loved Portfino he disputes the fact that he designed his village based upon it
He had purchased a house and the land for £5,000. The previous tenant had died but she too had been an eccentric who had let the ground become very overgrown, but despite this it was still possible to see that this was a magical place.
The buildings within the village had been inspired or in some places moved from many different places. The main hotel, and the cottages, ‘White Horses,’ ‘Mermaid,’ and, ‘Salutation,’ were already on the site and had previously been part of a private estate known as, ‘Aber la,’ (Welsh for Ice Estuary) and built about 1950s when there was a boatyard there.
Clough William Ellis
Clough William-Ellis was born in 1883 and was the son of a Anglican priest. He was the fourth of the six boys his parents had. He went to a fee-paying school, and later studied at Trinity College, Cambridge but left before he had completed his course. He also fought in World War I and inherited his family estate.
He often wore bright yellow stockings, bold waistcoats and bow ties. Yet, it is also said that he had a simple humour and conservative tastes in art. He was married to Amabel Strachey from London and they stayed united together until his death. They had a son and two daughters together. They both believed that nature needed to be protected and were interested in conservation, between them producing several books and pamphlets. He believed in protecting the essence of Wales.
Portmeirion On TV
Portmeirion first appeared on TV in 1960 in an episode of the British TV show, ‘Danger Man,’ episode, ‘A View from the Villa,’ starred Patrick McGoohan as John Drake. Later other episodes of the same show were filmed there. McGoohan then went on to launch, ‘The Prisoner,’ which ran between 1967 and 1968. The Prisoner was based a secret agent who resigned from his job, only to be kidnapped and held prisoner in, ‘The Village.’ ‘The Village was of course Portmeirion. The Prisoner Appreciation Society – Six of One – still hold their annual conventions at Portmeirion The Prisoner is not the only time Portmeirion has been used for filming. It was used for Ingrid’s Bergman’s, ‘ Inn of the Sixth Happiness,’ in 1958; a production that donated a Buddha statue to the village, Dr Who, ‘ The Masque of Mandragora in 1976, Brideshead Revisited (1981) and the final episode of Cold Feet in 2002.
Portmeirion is open all year round. During the summer months it can become busy and the hotel is more expensive. If you want to stay at Portmeirion there are some good offers during the autumn and winter months. It is also worth following their official Facebook or Twitter page to see what offers are on. The weather is typical of Wales, but even out of season it is OK and it is possible to enjoy your visit without perfect weather. No dogs are allowed into the village itself.
Jools Holland goes to Portmeirion
Portmeirion Central Plaza
Visit the official Portmeirion website Here