Where is Portmeirion and What Can You Do There?
One of the most beautiful, iconic locations in North Wales, Portmeirion brings a touch of the Mediterranean to the Welsh countryside.
Although famous for its numerous appearances on film and television – most notably in cult ‘60s classic The Prisoner – there’s far more to Portmeirion than that.
Designed and constructed by Welsh architect Sir Clough Williams-Ellis between 1925 – 1975, the idea of Portmeirion was to show that careful development could enhance, rather than spoil a beautiful location. In this case, in the style of the Italian Riviera.
An inspirational location
Portmeirion has been inspiring creativity since its initial construction. Noël Coward wrote Blithe Spirit while staying in the village. George Bernard Shaw, H.G. Wells, Gregory Peck and Ingrid Bergman were all visitors. Beatles Paul McCartney, George Harrison and their manager, Brian Epstein, were also regulars in the village.
Discover why Portmeirion has been enchanting visitors for nearly a century for yourself with a day out or short break in the area. Besides its natural beauty, unique architecture and sub-tropical gardens, there are a variety of shops, restaurants, places to stay and even an authentic Italian-style gelateria to explore. Read on to learn more about this unique tourist village.
Where is Portmeirion?
Portmeirion is located on the coast of North Wales in Gwynedd. It is about a mile from the village of Minffordd, between Porthmadog and Penrhyndeudraeth, and is signposted from the A487.
What was filmed in Portmeirion?
As a filming location, Portmeirion has appeared in everything from Doctor Who, to Cold Feet to CBeebies’ Gigglebizz. Its most famous association, however, is with The Prisoner. The surreal 1960s series, created by and starring Patrick McGoohan used Portmeirion as the location of ‘The Village’ – the idyllic-looking prison where Number 6 – McGoohan’s character – was held captive.
What to do in Portmeirion during your visit
Portmeirion has a number of shops catering to visitors and reflecting the village’s heritage.
Fans of The Prisoner will be delighted by the world’s only shop dedicated to the cult show, located in the house where Patrick McGoohan’s character lived in the series.
In contrast, The Ship Shop – located in a Grade II listed building – sells a variety of quality gifts from deluxe brands. Everything from home furnishings to designer bags, to handmade chocolates and books.
Readers will also enjoy The Golden Dragon bookshop. With a wide range of titles about Portmeirion and Wales, the shop also specialises in Welsh language books. It’s also the perfect place to pick up your postcards.
Two further shops highlight local specialities, with The Seconds Pottery Shop selling a selection of famous Portmeirion pottery at discount prices. And for foodies, Pot Jam sells the best of Welsh produce, with an extensive selection of preserves, chutneys, wines, champagne, cake and biscuits.
Can’t get enough of the local creativity? The Rob Piercy Gallery sells works by the renowned local artist, with much of his art inspired by and featuring the village.
Dining and hotels
Whatever your taste in food, Portmeirion has a treat in store for you.
The 4-star Hotel Portmeirion is the centrepiece of the village. It offers 14 luxury bedrooms and an art deco dining room and terrace serving Welsh cuisine, afternoon teas and outstanding Sunday lunches (which include free village entry in the price).
Castell Deudraeth is a converted 19th Century castle, now running as a hotel. Its brasserie-style restaurant serves fixed-price lunches and an a la carte menu too.
The Village Rooms provides luxury hotel accommodation for all party sizes and budgets, and there are also 13 unique self-catering cottages in Portmeirion too.
The Town Hall Café offers a fun diner with a retro 1950s interior, offering a range of sandwiches, salads, hot meals and cakes. The village also has four more cafes.
Fans of Italian cuisine will love Caffi Glas, which offers a selection of pizza, pasta and salads. Meanwhile, Caffi No 6 is a great choice for sandwiches, pasties or cream tea.
If you’re a coffee enthusiast, Caffi’r Sgwâr is the place for you. Or, if you’d rather try some tasty gelato, visit Caffi’r Angel – Portmeirion’s very own Italian gelateria.
In addition to shopping and dining, the village offers a variety of stunning architecture and beautiful views of the Dwyryd Estuary. There’s also more than 70 acres of woodland, with 20 miles of walking paths to discover.
Explore the village on your own or as part of one of the regular guided tours, with a choice of 20-minute complimentary tours or several specialist ones. You can even take a full day tour which includes 2hrs 20mins in Portmeirion, visits to several other local attractions and a sightseeing drive through Snowdonia.
Alternatively, you can take a group tour and not only visit the village but also take in the sights including Caernarfon Castle, Conwy Castle, Snowdonia National Park, and lesser-known sights all without the hassle of driving.
Entry to Portmeirion is by ticket only and you currently need to book in advance. Prices start from just £11 for a day ticket, depending on the season. It’s free for under-5’s, and guide and assistance dogs are welcome throughout the village.
Nick, your trusted guide to Wales travel and exploration, shares a deep passion for this enchanting land. With years of exploration, Nick offers expert insights into the best of Wales. Join him on a journey through its captivating history, culture, and hidden gems, as he inspires you to create unforgettable Wales travel experiences.