If you think Portmeirion looks too magical to be real, you’re right. It’s kinda fake.
It was designed by Clough Williams-Ellis between 1925 and 1975 in a style of an Italian village. It does feel rather foreign in contrast with what you typically connect with North Wales. It’s wildly colourful and summery; with fantastic gardens and ponds outside airy, welcoming buildings. It might look too perfect and a bit spooky though once you realise it’s a village built for the sake of being built, rather than organically developed by generations of people.
Portmeirion is situated by the water, with beautiful views and picturesque beach, and to make things even more perfect, there was a huge double rainbow over the horizon when we visited, although I’m pretty sure it was not part of the architect’s decor…
Surrounded by woods, the village is a great place for a walk. A little stroll through the forest reveals another quirky feature – coins wedged in tree stumps.
As it turns out, it’s an old superstition – coins hammered into so-called ‘wish trees’ are supposed to take away any illness you might be suffering. There are thousands of pennies stuck in trees across the village and you can spot some in other parts on northern Wales – we found quite a few on our way up Snowdon.
As we got there late, it was all rather quiet, and the shops and restaurants were already closed, but on the flip side, there were very few tourists around. And it was still a great little adventure.
So the village is fabricated – so what? It’s still impressive. And, in Portmeirion, money does grow on trees…
What to do
Tip: Entry is a bit pricey (I think it was £12 per person ‘on the door’), so make sure you set off early to enjoy the day there and visit the shops and restaurants, or book online for cheaper tickets.