PORTMEIRION: A LITTLE MORE IN LOVE WITH WALES

PORTMEIRION: A LITTLE MORE IN LOVE WITH WALES

“She gazed out at the seductive vista. The countryside was dressed in its prettiest May garb- everything budding or blooming or bursting out in the exuberance of late spring. For Laura, the landscape at thirteen hundred feet up a Welsh mountain was the perfect mix of reassuringly tamed and excitingly wild. In front of the house were lush, high meadows filled with sheep, the lambs plump from their mother’s grass-rich milk. Their creamy little shapes bright and clean against the background of pea green. A stream tumbled down the hillside, disappearing into the dense oak woods at the far end of the fields, the ocher trunks fuzzy with moss. On either side of the narrow valley, the land rose steeply to meet the open mountain on the other side of the fence. Here young bracken was springing up sharp and tough to claim the hills for another season. Beyond, in the distance, more mountains rose and fell as far as the eye could see. Laura undid the latch and pushed open the window. She closed her eyes. A warm sigh of the wind carried the scent of hawthorn blossom from the hedgerow.” ― Paula Brackston, Lamp Black, Wolf Grey

You would think by now I would have discovered everything North Wales has to offer, I am literally there all the time, well every weekend but nope, Wales keeps surprising me and with every new discovery I fall a little more in love. And last weekend I found what can only be described as my spirit village, if there was anywhere in the world I should live then Portmeirion is the place.

Hello beautiful, Portmeirion was designed by Sir Clough Williams-Ellis in the early 20th century, Portmeirion’s Riviera-inspired houses, ornamental garden and campanile are a beautiful pocket of madness like no other. I can only describe the village as a cross between Alice in Wonderland, Fantasia and a lot of magic mushrooms. It’s one of those places that you could return to time and time again and still keep discovering something new you didn’t spot the last time.

A little more…….Portmeirion is the physical manifestation of how Clough Williams-Ellis’s creative vision for a private peninsula on the Snowdonia coast could showcase how architecture and nature could live together. Clough acquired the wilderness site in 1925 and dedicated his life to building an Italianate village, drawing heavily on the coloured facades of Portofino for inspiration.

He set out to salvage classical buildings from demolition, giving rise to Clough’s description of Portmeirion as “a home for fallen buildings”. Building continued in stages until 1976 and Clough died in 1978, but his legacy lives on with buildings such as the Gothic Pavilion, Bristol Colonnade and Hercules Hall, all celebrating his motto: “Cherish the Past, Adorn the Present, Construct for the Future”.

As I was walking around snapping I noticed a couple with a pile of photographs, yes boys and girls before the age of mobile phones and go-pros people used to take pictures and have them printed! (mind blown). At first I tried not to butt in, but after seeing them hold pictures up for the third or fourth time I couldn’t stop myself and stopped to ask them questions. The couple in their late 50’s were from Devon and her mother had recently passed, while sorting through her belongings they found hundreds of holiday snaps from her trips to Wales. Now this couple were retracing her mothers foot steps and travelling around wales retaking the images exactly how she had taken them. The story bloody broke my heart, they let me flick through her photographs some with her mother in smiling away, enjoying the Welsh countryside. Its stories like this that make me happy and make me love people!

One thing I love about Portmeirion is the random mix of styles. It’s as though someone has selected the best parts of lots of differenty styles and mixed them together to create this random but magical village. There are Italian style houses, pastel colours from the British seaside, art-deco designs, Christian monuments next to golden Buddha’s and palm trees next to fern trees. To say Portmeirion is random would be an understatement.

I love the randomness of Portmeirion and the fact that someone has simply thought, ‘I don’t care if these things don’t go together. I like them both so who cares!?”

There’s even a medieval castle from the 1850s on the property! Honestly this place is my spirit village, random is my bag and I was walking around my own personal daydream!

Pretty sure when I grow up I want to be this house! A lot of the cottages are now self catering cottages to let guests spend the night, it would be a dream to stay, could you imagine walking around at sunset!

It costs just £12.50 to explore Portmeirion, possibly the best way I have ever spent £12.50. I walked around the village a good six times, each time discovering something I missed. I am pretty sure I could visit for the rest of my life and discover something new every single time. During the few hours I was there I actually took 300 pictures (be thankful there isn’t more pictures in this post then there already is, sorry not sorry).

And the house I would please like to live in, pretty please with sugar and pink icing on top!

Fun Facts:-

With the warping of space, time itself is twisted: buildings from different historical periods stand side by side, while plaques on statues memorialize not single years but multiple centuries at once.

Phony picture windows are meant to be looked at, not looked through.

“On a clear day . . . one is captured in a 360-degree sensurround screen of architectural fantasy, sea, sunshine, sand and, occasionally, snow on the surrounding peaks.”5

It’s a port, yet the estuary is so shallow that only the occasional dinghy can approach.

There’s a lighthouse on a rocky promontory, but no light.

There’s a boat on the harbour, but it’s permanently anchored because it is, in fact, a building made of stone (complete with slate floor), serving as a retaining wall.

As the afternoon settled in so did the big black rain clouds, lucky I have more clothes in my car then I do my wardrobe, its slightly concerning how many times I have gotten changed in my car this year!

In numbers

  • 50 Years taken to build Portmeirion
  • 58 Number of hotel rooms available to rent in the village
  • 70 Size of exotic woodland (in acres) surrounding Portmeirion
  • 17 Number of episodes of the cult 1960s, Portmeirion-set TV show The Prisoner

Eventually, those big black clouds started to leak a lot of rain so I decided to move on to my next destination, I had no idea where but I figured I would drive until I saw the sunshine again. Portmeirion was an absolute dream, a dream I want to jeep having time and time again. Next time I visit I will be looking at staying the night, the hotel looked wonderful and the views were to die for. Portmeirion you can keep a piece of my heart until I return again.

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2 Comments

  1. Barbara Taylor
    May 9, 2019 / 8:29 am

    Great post but I am biased as I have a home not far away! Best thing you can do is to print off pics as one day the digital images will disappear into the internet but your Grandchildren will marvel at your printed photos.

    • forever1955
      Author
      May 9, 2019 / 8:34 am

      Thank you so much!! I am obsessed with printing prints! They are so much better to look at while having a cup of tea on a rainy day x

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