The furthest that we ventured on our holiday to Wales was Portmeirion, about 50 miles – or an hour and a half car ride – north.
We decided to go on the Tuesday because the weather forecast suggested it would be bright and sunny. In reality it was a little overcast with intermittent sun, but as we were anticipating rain for the whole week we weren’t complaining.
Portmeirion is a strange place.
It was created by the architect Clough Williams-Ellis from 1925 to 1976, who wanted to show how a naturally beautiful site could be developed without spoiling it.
I’m not sure if he achieved that, but it is definitely a quirky place.
This is no doubt why it was felt to be the ideal place to film The Prisoner, the surreal 1960s television series starring Patrick McGoohan.
It reminded me a little of Gaudi Park in Barcelona, in that it consists of a lot of strange buildings whose intent is surely more artistic than practical.
My good lady was less impressed – she thought it was all a bit of a mish-mash and it didn’t appeal to her artistic and aesthetic sensibilities at all.
We were also both slightly disappointed in that it was much smaller than we were expecting.
Nonetheless, we managed to happily spend the day there.
It doesn’t take long to walk around the village, except for the fact that I stopped to take photographs from just about every conceivable angle.
There are a few shops, including one dedicated to The Prisoner. There are also a couple of cafes, which we made good use of.
We walked down to the beach at one end of the village, and then at the other end we took the train ride through the forest. It isn’t really a train; it is a few carriages pulled by a tractor. If you are even remotely able-bodied it is a bit of a waste of time as you can walk the route in about 10 minutes, which is what we did once we disembarked from the train. The train is free though so shouldn’t grumble.
It is worth taking the walk as it provides a good view down over the village. There are also longer walks for the more enthusiastic visitor.
Patrick McGoohan spent a lot of time trying to escape from the village, but I don’t know what all the fuss was about: we got out quite easily. I was keeping a wary eye out for large, menacing white balloons as we did so, however.