Spectacular scenery from the mountains to the coast, the Snowdonia National Park is truly an area of outstanding natural beauty, here I take a look at the legendary Portmeirion Village and Hotel
Short breaks and holidays in the UK are back in fashion in a big way. If you’re looking for stunning scenery with plenty to see and do, then Snowdonia in North Wales definitely ticks all the right boxes and in my opinion should definitely feature on the top of your ‘to do’ list.
The Snowdonia National Park, covering a vast 840 square miles, is one of the most amazing areas of outstanding natural beauty I have come across. The dramatic mountain ranges, with Snowdon standing majestically in their midst, cascade down into green fertile valleys with streams and sensational waterfalls eventually leading to the sea. Little picture-book villages are scattered high and low, and all seem to have their own story to tell and sights to see. With a breathtaking heritage coastline, castles and culture, industrial heritage, fabulous little railways, gardens, parks and family fun, Snowdonia is just waiting to be explored.
WHERE TO STAY
There’s lots of accommodation choice from camping and caravan sites, to B&Bs and many hotels throughout the region. I decided to combine my stay with one of North Wales’ most popular visitor attractions - Portmeirion
The famous Welsh architect Sir Clough Williams-Ellis certainly picked a fabulous spot in 1925 when he embarked on creating the inspirational village and gardens known as Portmeirion. The Italianate village was finally completed in 1976 and is testimony to how a naturally beautiful landscape could be developed without spoiling it.
Built on its own private peninsular with sensational views across the estuary, I was able to wander and experience a charming, quirky world of meandering streets and cliff top towers. If you’re of a certain age you’ll recall the cult television series The Prisoner starring the late Patrick McGoohan. The series was filmed at Portmeirion in 1967 and was subsequently instrumental in bringing many more visitors to this unique village resort. There’s a dedicated Prisoner shop selling memorabilia and the village is still very much a focus point for Prisoner fans. There are over 50 buildings of various styles and character.
There are shops, cafes, restaurant, an audio visual show and a Portmeirion Pottery seconds shop.
Seventeen of the quirky cottages are now let as self-catering accommodation sleeping from 3 to 8 people. The village is surrounded by over 70 acres of sub-tropical gardens and woodlands. There are lakes and miles of pathways with set walks for you to choose from. I took the opportunity to walk along the headland to the lighthouse, a sensational walk in itself but for me enhanced by simply stopping half way round to listen to the peace and solitude of the area.
The legendary Portmeirion Hotel was the base for my ‘staycation’. This hotel offers superb luxury accommodation still all in keeping with the design and vision of Sir Clough Williams-Ellis. For me to try and describe the view across the estuary from my room (number 6 of course) would be doing it an injustice, it’s just something you will have to see and experience for yourself! I found the level of service throughout the hotel to be excellent. The restaurant, lounge and bar were very comfortable and relaxing and the restaurant offered a first class menu. And as for the full Welsh breakfast in the morning...a definite must! During my stay a wedding took place in the village. Portmeirion is licensed for civil weddings and I must say the village and hotel provided a romantic, fairytale setting for the bride and groom. Their reception was held in the hotel restaurant with delightful background music played by a Welsh harpist. There’s a pdf brochure about weddings at Portmeirion on their website www.portmeirion-village.com The website also gives details of accommodation choice and various offers.