Beautiful village of Portmeirion in Wales that has hosted major stars including Paul McCartney and Ingrid Bergman is well worth a visit

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What do Noel Coward, Ingrid Bergman and Paul McCartney have in common?

They have all visited the rather unique and beautiful Portmeirion. And it is perhaps most famous as the setting for the 1960s British TV series ‘The Prisoner’ created by and starring Patrick McGoohan, who plays an unnamed British intelligence agent who is abducted and imprisoned in a mysterious coastal village after resigning from his position.

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Noël Coward wrote Blithe Spirit while staying in Portmeirion. George Bernard Shaw and H. G. Wells were also early visitors.

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Other famous guests included Gregory Peck and the village has many connections to the Beatles. Their manager Brian Epstein was a frequent visitor, along with Paul McCartney, and George Harrison spent his 50th birthday there in 1993. Musician Jools Holland visited whilst filming for the TV music show The Tube, and was so impressed that he had his studio and other buildings at his home in Blackheath built to a design inspired by Portmeirion.

Described as a ‘folly tourist village’ in Gwynedd in North Wales, Portmeirion lies on the estuary of the River Dwyryd, two miles from Pothmadog. Designed and built by Sir Clough Williams-Ellis between 1925 and 1975 it is now owned by a charitable trust. It’s a place I have read about and always wanted to visit, so, on a recent little holiday to nearby Barmouth, took the opportunity. At £20 a head for adults to enter the village it did seem a bit steep but once inside I was entranced by the beauty and majesty of the place. It’s well worth the price and you can easily spend a few hours wandering round and taking in the sights. It did help that the weather on the day was lovely, sunny and exceptionally warm.

Entering Portmeirion really is like stepping onto a film set. The stunning architecture set against beautifully manicured lawns and gardens is breathtaking. Many of the buildings within the village are listed by Cadw, the Welsh historic environment service, for their architectural and historical importance, and the gardens are listed as Grade II* on the Cadw/ICOMOS Register of Parks and Gardens of Special Historic Interest in Wales.

Williams-Ellis has perfectly captured the vibe of the Mediterranean in a little corner of Wales. With a magnificent hotel overlooking the sea as the centre piece of Portmeirion, the various buildings are now available for guests to enjoy a holiday in this unique location. There is also a series of woodland walks surrounding the village with lots of hidden carvings, bridges, a variety of plants and flowers and seating areas. I fell in love with Portmeirion, it reminded me of a model village on an adult scale, strangely enough. A vision of a perfect place to live that one man made come true.

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