Portmeirion Village in North Wales was designed by the Welsh architect Sir Clough Williams Ellis. He bought the naturally beautiful site in 1925 and developed it over 50 years. His idea was to enhance the background without spoiling it, and this is certainly the case. You will probably remember the cult classic television series “The Prisoner” starring Patrick McGoohan and this was filmed in the village in the 1960’s.
We went to enjoy the Steampunk event and the village is really an ideal location as the imaginative costumes blended well into the quirky surroundings. The surreal Italianate architecture and Mediterranean atmosphere lends itself perfecty to such an event. The defintion of Steampunk is : A creative social movement that draws inspiration from Victorian and pre-war history in an anachronistic mix of science fiction, modern values and a sense of fun”.
You can stay in Portmeirion village itself either in one of the hotels or the self-caterng cottages, but we decided that the price of £269 per night was too much for our budget. We stayed instead at the Travelodge in Porthmadog on the Cambrian coast. The hotel is situated on a small industrial estate, which does not sound attactive, but we actually had a nice view of trees and hills from our bedroom. It was a short walk (on the flat) into the town. However, the best place for breakfast was at the nearby Breaktimes cafe. From the outside, it looks unpromising, but once you go inside it is clean, bright and there is a great selection of food at a reasonable price.
Porthmadog has a good range of shops and attractions including the narrow-gauge railway. This heritage railway hub has three lines – the Ffestiniog, the West Highland and the Heritage Railway. We ate one evening at The Australia, and the other evening at Y Llong (The Ship). In order to watch the Liverpool FC match, we also went for a couple of drinks at the Station Inn situated on the platform of Porthmadog railway station on the Cambrian line. It was a friendly pub where all the locals were Liverpool supporters, so we learnt a couple of Welsh swear words when there some near misses! We were also given instructions on a short cut back to our hotel. It was very dark and we had a couple of near misses ourselves on the narrow path next to a small brook!
Portmeirion village is so beautiful, that we will definitely be returning next year for the Steampunk event. We are looking forward to the teapot racing, the tea duelling and of course the magnificently dressed participants. Guaranteed a great weekend!