Portmeirion is an Italianate resort village on the coast of Snowdonia in
North Wales. The village is located on the estuary of the River Dwyryd, two
miles south-east of Porthmadog, and one mile from the railway station at
Minffordd, which serves both the narrow gauge Ffestiniog Railway and Arriva
Trains Wales (Cambrian Line).
Comments made - Admission charges as of July 2010 are £8 for adults, children £4, concessions £6.50 with various family tickets, if you go after 3pm apparently it's half price. Cheers :-)
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Portmeirion has served as a location for many
films and television shows, notably The Prisoner.
Despite repeated claims that it was based on the real town of Portofino,
Italy, Sir Clough Williams-Ellis, Portmeirion's designer, denied this, stating
only that he wanted to pay tribute to the atmosphere of the Mediterranean.
Williams-Ellis designed and constructed the village between 1925 and 1975. He
incorporated fragments of demolished buildings, including works by a number of
other distinguished architects. Portmeirion's architectural bricolage and
deliberately fanciful nostalgia have been noted as an influence on the
development of postmodernism in architecture in the late twentieth century.
The main building of the hotel, and the cottages called "White Horses",
"Mermaid" and "The Salutation" had been a private estate called Aber Iâ
(Welsh: Ice estuary), developed in the 1850s, itself on the site of a
foundry and boatyard which was active in the late 18th century. Williams-Ellis
changed the name, which he interpreted as "frozen mouth", to Portmeirion - Port
to place it on the coast, Meirion from the county of Merioneth / Meirionydd in
which it then lay.. The site (and
very minor remains) of a mediaeval castle (known variously as Castell Deudraeth,
Castell Gwain Goch and Castell Aber Iau) are in the woods just outside the
village proper, recorded by Giraldus Cambrensis (Gerald of Wales) in 1188.
In 1931 Williams-Ellis bought from his uncle, Sir Osmund Williams Bt, the
Victorian castellated mansion Castell Deudraeth with the intention of
incorporating it into the Portmeirion hotel complex but the intervention of the
war and other problems prevented this. Williams-Ellis had always considered the
Castell to be “the largest and most imposing single building on the Portmeirion
Estate" and sought ways to incorporate it. Eventually, with support from the
Heritage Lottery Fund and the European Regional Development Fund as well as the
Wales Tourist Board, his original aims were finally achieved and Castell
Deudraeth was opened as an 11 bedroom hotel and restaurant on August 20, 2001 by
The grounds contain an important collection of rhododendrons and other exotic
plants in a wild-garden setting which was begun before Williams-Ellis' time by
the previous owner George Henry Caton Haigh and has continued to be developed
since his death.
Portmeirion is now owned by a charitable trust, and has always been run as a
hotel, which uses the majority of the buildings as hotel rooms or self-catering
cottages, together with various shops, a cafe, tea-room and restaurant.
Portmeirion is today a top tourist attraction in North Wales and day visits
can be made on payment of an admission charge.
Portmeirion in popular culture
The village of Portmeirion has long been a source of inspiration for writers
and television producers. For example, Noel Coward wrote Blithe Spirit
while staying in the Fountain 2 (Upper Fountain) suite at
Portmeirion. In 1956 the village was visited by architect Frank Lloyd Wright,
and other famous visitors have included Gregory Peck, Ingrid Bergman and Paul
McCartney. Musician Jools Holland visited whilst filming for TV music show
The Tube, and was so impressed that he has had his studio and other
buildings at his home in Blackheath built to a design heavily inspired by
Portmeirion. Further to this, in 1987 he starred in a spoof documentary, The
Laughing Prisoner, with Stephen Fry, Terrence Alexander and Hugh Laurie.
Much of it was shot on location in Portmeirion, and it included archive footage
of Patrick McGoohan.
A number of television series and films have filmed exterior shots at
Portmeirion, often depicting the village as an exotic European location.
Examples of this include the 1960 Danger Man episode "View from the
Villa" starring Patrick McGoohan, a mid-1970s episode of Doctor Who
entitled "The Masque of Mandragora" set in Renaissance Italy, and an episode of
Citizen Smith in which the eponymous hero visits Rimini.
Without question the best-known use of the location occurred in 1966-67 when
McGoohan returned to Portmeirion to film exteriors for The Prisoner, a
surreal science fiction drama in which Portmeirion itself played a starring role
as "The Village". On request from Williams-Ellis, Portmeirion was not identified
on screen as the filming location until the credits of the final episode of the
series, and indeed Williams-Ellis has stated that the levy of a reasonable
entrance fee was a deliberate ploy to prevent the village from being spoilt by
overcrowding. The show became a cult
classic, and fans continue to visit Portmeirion, which hosts annual Prisoner
fan conventions. The building that was used as the lead character's home in the
series was, for many years, operated as a Prisoner-themed souvenir shop,
with one of the Village vehicles used in the series parked outside the door.
Many of the locations used in The Prisoner are virtually unchanged from
Due to its Prisoner connection, Portmeirion has been used as the
filming location for a number of homages to the series, ranging from comedy
skits to an episode of the BBC documentary series The Celts which
recreated scenes from The Prisoner. In 2003 some scenes were filmed there
for the final episode of the TV series Cold Feet .
Portmeirion, along with Morfa Bychan, was used as the location for the
filming of the Supergrass video Alright. The video includes numerous
references to The Prisoner.
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|Portmeiron is truly a magical
place which is very beautiful a must see.
|my wife and i will visit very soon, me being half
welsh and a great fan of the prisoner
|brilliant.. my 1st wish is to