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Published: June 17th 2009
We couldn't have asked for a better day weather-wise for our coach tour to Portmierion and
Porthmadog. I had heard of the former as they make world-famous pottery but not
the latter (apparently the birth place of actor Anthony Hopkins. If it is not,
then when he reads this he can let me know!).
The journey to Portmierion was absolutely beautiful. We went through a few small
towns and through the slate caverns several miles from Portmierion. Up either
side of the roadway rose steep sides made entirely from dark grey/black slate
and jutting out as if in many layers. It was a very unusual sight. The road was windy
but scenic with lots of cottages, farmhouses, streams and waterfalls gracing the
countryside. Coming into Portmierion itself was exciting as we approached the entrance gates.
The strange juxtaposition of styles and buildings of Portmeirion was the dream of architect Sir Clough Williams-Ellis. He designed the resort to engage the visitor with interesting views wherever they should stop. It took around 50 years to complete and was host to 1970s series
"The Prisoner" with Patrick McGoogan (see YouTube). Portmeirion was intended to be a demonstration of how a naturally beautiful site
Our first view
could be developed sympathetically.
It was a sheer delight as soon as we stepped through it's main archway and into
the development. The sea was to the left of the road through the town the view
was spectacular. The architecture was a mixture of Italian, French and Islamic
and the colours of the buildings were white, terracotta, duck egg blue and
yellow. In many ways it was a surreal place, totally idyllic and surprisingly,
not overcrowded by tourists, or perhaps we were just lucky on the day! There is
one small hotel overlooking the shores of the beautiful estuary which had a
winding sandy shore attached. We didn't have time but apparently there is a
lovely coastal walk which can be followed around Portmierion. We will definitely
save that for another day. The village itself has several small shops and cafes
in which to stop and sample the goods in a village which doesn't seem to keep
track of time. There are many birds such as chaffinch, great tits and blackbirds
who come around the cafes to clear up the crumbs. Such a delight.
Just a couple of miles outside Portmierion is Porthmadog (pronounced
Port-maddock). On the road
What a beautiful sight
to Portmadog we passed Castle Deudraeth.
on the left. A splendid looking castle with a busy restaurant attached but with ample car
parking space and it's menu exhibited outside . On entering Porthmadog we passed
a beautiful old railway station called Ffestiniog which boasts a steam train ride
(real old fashioned style) several times a day complete with on board waiter and
with carriages divided into First Class, Second Class and Third Class. The
station itself has a lovely cafe/bar but if you didn't want to buy anything, you
can just sit on the benches in the station and observe all that is going on.
This is a must for any rail enthusiast.
Just further up the road was a lovely marina/harbour with cafes around the outside and plenty of seats to sit on
and admire the view. It was a busy shopping town with furniture/clothes/pet
shops/charity shops/bookshops and cafes and is well worth a visit if you are in
Portmerion as it is only a couple of miles away. The Tourist Information Centre is easily located upon entering the
town from Portmerion for information as well as to hear the lovely Welsh accent
spoken by the employees.
First view of the estuary coming from the village
We had a very interesting and intriguing day and the road home around the coast of North Wales
was the icing on the cake!
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