February 23, 2015

Struth! A little bit of Portofino in North Wales

IN his continuing search for the more weird, wacky and wondrous in the world of travel, David Ellis says it looks picturesquely historic Italian – but in fact this village is in the north of Wales, and was built over a fifty year period between 1925 and 1975.

English architect Sir Clough Williams-Ellis both designed and built what he called Portmeirion on the site of a one-time 18th century foundry and shipyard, and while he said he'd designed it in tribute to the atmosphere of the Mediterranean, he always denied having copied much of it from the Italian town of Portofino.

Today it is a major tourist attraction with a castellated mansion a boutique hotel named Castell Deudraeth after some remains close-by of a castle dating back to 1188, and fifteen original cottages available for rent as self-contained holiday accommodation.

There're also a half dozen shops and boutiques, six tea-rooms and caf├ęs and a public restaurant in Castell Deudraeth.

Portmeirion attracts 250,000 visitors a year with the village open every day except Christmas Day. As well as the architectural attractions of the village itself there are public gardens, adjacent beaches, and woodlands with extensive walking trails.

The village is owned by the Clough Williams-Ellis Foundation that was established to protect and ensure its conservation. Details www.portmeirionvillage.com


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