Portmeirion was designed and created by architect Clough Williams-Ellis to show how a beautiful site could be developed without spoiling it. An ongoing project which he led for some fifty years from the 1920s to the 1970s, Portmeirion is now owned by a registered charity. The site was inspired by Mediterranean villages, particularly Italian ones, and contains a bewildering array of Grade I and Grade II listed historical buildings in wildly differing architectural styles. They are painted in sunny colours and the whole place looked stunning for our visit.
After the train we explored part of the village before heading down to the waterside where we decided to attempt the Coastal Walk without the aid of a 'dotto train'. Dave was suffering from the aftermath of a bad cold so was particularly breathless so we hoped this walk would be flatter than the forest one. It mostly was - until the two routes merged! We sat on a porticoed terrace and climbed up to a lighthouse viewpoint before ambling back past ponds and a red Japanese bridge where Dave made friends with a surprisingly tame robin.
Briony Clarke who has her studio overlooking the lawns. Initially on a six month residency, Briony ended up staying for four years and has created a fascinating painting technique combining locally gathered pigments with moving water. She has developed a trio of machines, one of which - a spiral of water going down a drain - produces spookily beautiful monochrome landscapes that could almost be the water painting where it has come from. I know that sounds weird, but the work is amazing! Unfortunately I forgot to take any photos.
I am so glad that I finally got to visit this incredible village and I certainly wouldn't rule out returning at some point in the future. As well as day tickets there is also self-catering accommodation and a hotel at Portmeirion so perhaps we could treat ourselves for a future anniversary?