Results 1-10of 12 Reviews
S36 6UF, England, United Kingdom
August 24, 2013
From journal North Wales
ashbourne, United Kingdom
February 6, 2012
From journal Portmeirion Break
January 26, 2012
September 26, 2007
From journal Portmeirion and Beyond
Leicester, United Kingdom
August 25, 2006
From journal Light Up the Love at the Lighthouse
Mont Albert North, undefined, Australia
August 21, 2003
by Bear in Britain
Windsor, United Kingdom
November 8, 2002
Don’t get me wrong: it’s as an interesting day out. It’s quirky, amusing, and set amongst some gorgeous countryside. But it is a LONG way from anywhere else, it’s more expensive than comparable tourist attractions, and there’s very little to do once you’re there.
First, some history. Architect Sir Clough Williams-Ellis, quintessential eccentric Brit, dreamed of building a perfect Mediterranean style village on a warm island somewhere that he could turn into his own personal paradise. Failing to find the spot, he set to work on a slice of family land on a rainy, windswept peninsula in Wales. He patched together bits of rescued architecture with his own designs and came up with his fantasy village.
The only thing you’ve ever seen quite like it is Disney, and you expect small people in character costumes to pop out at any minute. Some of the buildings are spectacular. You have to chuckle admiringly at the way Dutch gables, medieval gee gaws, Spanish tiles, and Mediterranean colors come together in a wacky whole. If I were a pirate queen in a 1950s Errol Flynn flick, I would live here.
Its isolated position should have doomed Portmeirion to the oblivion of other architectural white elephants. Three things intervened.
First, The Prisoner. This surreal ‘60s television show was filmed here and became a cult favorite. There’s a shop here dedicated to the show, and fans travel here to pay homage.
Second, the hotel. At some point someone decided to turn the whole place into an upscale holiday village. You can stay in the big house at the bottom of the village, next to the tidal waters of a broad estuary, or in one of the quirky buildings that make up the village. As a tourist attraction, I bristle at paying xx to see a stage set. As an unusual hotel backdrop, it works.
Third, the china. Clough’s daughter Susan started a china company named after the village, and her "Botanic Garden" pattern became one of the biggest sellers of the late 20th century. Interestingly, the pattern is far more prized in America than it is in its home country. Many collectors of the china come here to see what inspired it, and with the thought that they’re going to get some good deals. There is a shop here, but it doesn’t carry the full range and you can find it cheaper. The factory outlet in Stoke on Trent is the place to go for the real bargains.
So, my final take on Portmeirion. I recommend it IF: (A) you realize that you’re basically paying to walk around a hotel, and (B) you’re ready to drive a couple of hours each way to do it.
From journal Grandeur & Luxury in North Wales