Quaint UK village that looks like the Amalfi coast is filled with hidden gems


If you’re contemplating a staycation yet yearn for the allure of a Mediterranean getaway, Portmeirion in Wales could be your perfect destination.

This stunning village in Gwynedd is the masterpiece of architect Clough Williams-Ellis, who devoted 50 years to refining the site after purchasing the land in 1925.

Over the years, numerous buildings and follies have been added to Portmeirion, typically reflecting the Baroque style favoured by William-Ellis. One of the first structures to open was the Portmeirion Hotel, originally a 19th-century mansion named Aber Ia.

The mansion, believed to have been built around 1850, was chosen by William-Ellis as the ideal starting point for his dream village.

Portmeirion now boasts an extensive collection of listed buildings, including the Grade I Listed Portmeirion Town Hall, also known as Hercules Hall, which was erected in 1938.

The hall was designed in a classical 17th-century style, and its impressive vaulted ceiling showcases the Twelve Labours of Heracles, alongside the signs of the Zodiac, giving the hall its alternative name.

A 19th-century Gothic Pavilion was introduced to the village in 1966, with William-Ellis sourcing this from Nerquis Hall in nearby Flintshire, where it had served as a porch.

Other additions over the years include a Pantheon, added in 1961, a Baroque-style bell tower in 1931, and a two-storey gatehouse, which was added in 1955, becoming the first new addition following the Second World War.

Portmeirion cleverly incorporates several pre-existing structures. One of the lodges of Aber Ia mansion has been transformed into a shop selling Portmeirion Pottery, while an 18th-century cottage was expanded in 1966 and attached to the Observatory Tower, constructed in 1937.

Another notable feature of Portmeirion Village is Castell Deudraeth, believed to have been erected in the 1700s on the site of a late 12th-century castle that had since been demolished.

Visitors to Portmeirion have showered praise on the village on TripAdvisor. One visitor wrote: “Lovely hidden gem that is great in all weathers. Yes, entry is a little pricey but worth it for all the maintenance that goes into keeping the site beautiful. We loved the views, range of buildings and colours, the beach and woodland walks.”

Another visitor gushed: “The best afternoon tea in the world, in one of the nicest places. The village is stunning and we really made the most of it, being amongst the last to leave. We had afternoon tea in the hotel, which was absolutely delicious.”

A third visitor commented: “One would think one was on the Amalfi coast in Italy. A quaint and wonderful village which would look and feel better if the weather had been sunny.”

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