Notes on...

Why I'll never want to escape Portmeirion

I'm tired of London, but I'll never tire of this strange little place

25 October 2014

9:00 AM

25 October 2014

9:00 AM

My husband and I stay for a week most summers in Portmeirion, the strangest and loveliest ‘village’ in the world. Built amid 20 miles of woodland on the peninsula of Tremadog Bay in Wales, it was called ‘a home for fallen buildings’ by its creator Clough Williams-Ellis, a local landowner. It was opened in 1926, and George Bernard Shaw, H.G. Wells and Bertrand Russell were early visitors; Noël Coward wrote Blithe Spirit here in 1941. I won’t try to describe it; if you’ve never seen it, just google it and prepare to be astonished.

But oy, the drive! In the past we’ve motored from Brighton through Birmingham, a trip of more than eight hours. This time, we stopped at a hotel near Shrewsbury created by Williams-Ellis for luvvies who couldn’t make it all the way without a dry martini or a wet wash: the Mytton and Mermaid.

The mermaid is the symbol of Portmeirion — but the Mytton bit is nowhere near as enchanting. ‘Mad Jack’ Mytton was a local squire who devoted his life to causing havoc; he took 2,000 bottles of port to Cambridge, predictably leaving without a degree, and his favourite dogs were fed on steak and champagne. He once rode a bear into his drawing room; she bit him on the leg and survived, but later attacked a servant and was put down. He killed a horse by forcing it to drink port; he threw his wife’s lapdog into a fire and died bankrupt in jail. Still, what a gorgeous place the hotel is! We sat in the grounds drinking martinis in the blazing sun by the river Severn before a lovely dinner at ‘Mad Jack’s Bar’.


It would take us just two more hours to reach Portmeirion, and we were soon driving through Snowdonia where, last year, a bunch of al-Qa’eda wannabes from Luton took several trips in order to prepare themselves for Afghanistan. I wonder what the sheep made of them.

There are two hotels at Portmeirion, but I prefer the self-catering option (there’s a sentence I never dreamt I’d write). We stay at a house called White Horses, right on the estuary, which is where Patrick McGoohan lived while making The Prisoner. There are 15 cottages here, and although normal inside, they are topped and tailed by the most astonishing sugared-almond carapaces, domes and spires, neoclassical colonnades and Ionic columns. It’s all set in weird and wonderful woodland featuring dancing trees, ghost gardens and a dogs’ cemetery where Miss Adelaide Haig, who lived in the mansion which became the Portmeirion Hotel with no one but her dogs (reading them the scriptures from behind a screen each Sunday), buried her pets.

Up to 3,000 visitors a day can arrive in the summer, but they leave at dusk and then this wonderland is inhabited by the fortunate residents of the hotels and cottages. Some reviewers on TripAdvisor have complained that there is ‘nothing to do’ here. If your idea of fun is running with the bulls, you might find it tame. But I am with Williams-Ellis, who called beauty ‘that strange necessity’, and am happy just to sit and stare and sip.

He who is tired of London isn’t necessarily tired of life — just tired of ceaseless noise, overcrowded streets and the sight of Boris on that stupid bike. The first time I came to Portmeirion I was necking a considerable amount of ecstasy, and thought that this might well be influencing my reaction. Well, I’m tired of E, and I’m certainly tired of London. But the day I tire of Portmeirion, you can plant me in the dogs’ cemetery and be done with it.

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  • Gwangi

    Always wanted to go there. Never been. Maybe next year… I’m just ‘down the road’ in South Wales anyway.

  • Mack

    Thank you! Esp. thanks for the Williams-Ellis quote about beauty as a “strange necessity.” Perfect.

    • balance_and_reason

      Mack, you seem strangely fixated on religion…you don’t believe in god do you?

      • Jackthesmilingblack

        “you don’t believe in G(g)od do you?”
        Which one? Spoilt for choice I venture to suggest.

        • balance_and_reason

          Jack, there is no God (but I’m leaving it with a capital G just in case I’m wrong.)

          • Jackthesmilingblack

            Nothing like hedging your bet. An alternative to Pascal’s Wager; what have you got to lose, bar your integrity? Self-respect? Credibility? So a win-win, right.

          • Nele Schindler

            I’m afraid that if you are wrong (and you are), the capital ‘G’ won’t make the slightest difference. 🙂

          • balance_and_reason

            Nele, your family may make lifts but I know they don’t go that high……god is a lovely cosy creation by mankind for mankind and jolly good job it did too….I think perhaps, at present, in certain parts of the world the allusion is still needed…but not sure about the UK.

          • Jackthesmilingblack

            Common ground there.

  • Polly Radial

    Third cottage on the left after the square.
    Ask for Elsie.

  • MC73

    Marvellous place. I prefer it a little off-season when it is quiet all the time.

    • MC73

      You should try it in Winter JB; log fires in the hotel and the landscape just as beautiful…

  • How I was able to get my husband back from those home breaker

    Hello viewer on this site my name is Mrs Elizabeth Mayberry and am from USA,i am hear to give testimony of how i got back my husband, we got married for more than 9 years and have gotten two kids. thing were going well with us and we are always happy. until one day my husband started to behave in a way i could not understand, i was very confused by the way he treat me and the kids. later that month he did not come home again and he called me that he want a divorce, i asked him what have i done wrong to deserve this from him, all he was saying is that he want a divorce that he hate me and do not want to see me again in his life, i was mad and also frustrated do not know what to do,i was sick for more than 2 weeks because of the divorce. i love him so much he was everything to me without him my life is incomplete. i told my sister and she told me to contact a spell caster, i never believe in all this spell casting of a thing. i just want to try if something will come out of it. i contacted for the return of my husband to me, they told me that my husband have been taken by another woman, that she cast a spell on him that is why he hate me and also want us to divorce.then they told me that they have to cast a spell on him that will make him return to me and the kids, they casted the spell and after 2 days my husband called me and he told me that i should forgive him, he started to apologize on phone and said that he still love me that he did not know what happen to him that he left me. it was the spell that Dr Brave casted on him that make him comeback to me today,me and my family are now happy again today. thank you Dr Brave for what you have done for me i would have been nothing today if not for your great spell. i want you my friends who are passing through all this kind of love problem of getting back their husband, wife , or ex boyfriend, ex lover and girlfriend to contact Dr Brave with this via EMAIL:bravespellcaster@gmail.com or kindly visit he website http://enchantedscents.tripod.com/lovespell/ , and you will see that your problem will be solved without any delay.
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    «´ Thanks to Dr Brave ¨`»

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    • Emmyjo

      Well done, Dr Brave. Sounds like a most challenging assignment.

      *eye roll*

    • altsegel

      Bollocks

      • How to get back your ex husband, wife, girlfriend, or boyfriend,

        Hello to every one out here, am here to share the unexpected miracle that happened to me three days ago, My name is Jeffrey Dowling,i live in Texas,USA.and I`m happily married to a lovely and caring wife,with two kids A very big problem occurred in my family seven months ago,between me and my wife so terrible that she took the case to court for a divorce she said that she never wanted to stay with me again,and that she did not love me anymore So she packed out of my house and made me and my children passed through severe pain. I tried all my possible means to get her back,after much begging,but all to no avail and she confirmed it that she has made her decision,and she never wanted to see me again. So on one evening,as i was coming back from work,i met an old friend of mine who asked of my wife So i explained every thing to her,so she told me that the only way i can get my wife back,is to visit a spell caster,because it has really worked for her too So i never believed in spell,but i had no other choice,than to follow her advice. Then she gave me the email address of the spell caster whom she visited.(bravespellcaster@gmail.com}, So the next morning,i sent a mail to the address she gave to me,and the spell caster assured me that i will get my wife back the next day what an amazing statement!! I never believed,so he spoke with me,and told me everything that i need to do. Then the next morning, So surprisingly, my wife who did not call me for the past seven {7}months,gave me a call to inform me that she was coming back So Amazing!! So that was how she came back that same day,with lots of love and joy,and she apologized for her mistake,and for the pain she caused me and my children. Then from that day,our relationship was now stronger than how it were before,by the help of a spell caster . So, was now stronger than how it were before,by the help of a spell caster . So, i will advice you out there to kindly visit the same Website: http://enchantedscents.tripod.com/lovespell/,if you are in any condition like this,or you have any problem related to “bringing your ex back. So thanks to Dr Brave for bringing back my wife,and brought great joy to my family once again.{bravespellcaster@gmail.com}
        (`’•.¸(` ‘•. ¸* ¸.•’´)¸.•’´)..

        «´ Thanks to Dr Brave ¨`»

        ..(¸. •’´(¸.•’´ * `’•.¸)`’•.¸ )..

  • How I was able to get my husband back from those home breaker

    OMG……
    You’ve told my story….. my name is Mrs Elizabeth Bayberry and am From
    California,United States ,i am hear to give testimony of how i got back
    my husband, we got married for more than 9 years and have gotten two
    kids. thing were going well with us and we are always happy. until one
    day my husband started to behave in a way i could not understand, i was
    very confused by the way he treat me and the kids. later that month he
    did not come home again and he called me that he want a divorce, i asked
    him what have i done wrong to deserve this from him, all he was saying
    is that he want a divorce that he hate me and do not want to see me
    again in his life, i was mad and also frustrated do not know what to
    do,i was sick for more than 2 weeks because of the divorce. i love him
    so much he was everything to me without him my life is incomplete. i
    told my sister and she told me to contact a spell caster, i never
    believe in all this spell casting of a thing. i just want to try if
    something will come out of it. i contacted for the return of my husband
    to me, they told me that my husband have been taken by another woman,
    that she cast a spell on him that is why he hate me and also want us to
    divorce.then they told me that they have to cast a spell on him that
    will make him return to me and the kids, they casted the spell and after
    2 days my husband called me and he told me that i should forgive him,
    he started to apologize on phone and said that he still love me that he
    did not know what happen to him that he left me. it was the spell that
    Dr Brave casted on him that make him comeback to me today,me and my
    family are now happy again today. thank you Dr Brave for what you have
    done for me i would have been nothing today if not for your great spell.
    i want you my friends who are passing through all this kind of love
    problem of getting back their husband, wife , or ex boyfriend, ex lover
    and girlfriend to contact Dr Brave with this via
    EMAIL:bravespellcaster@gmail.com or kindly visit he website
    http://enchantedscents.tripod.com/lovespell/ , and you will see that
    your problem will be solved without any delay. …
    (`’•.¸(` ‘•. ¸* ¸.•’´)¸.•’´)..

    «´ Thanks to Dr Brave ¨`»

    ..(¸. •’´(¸.•’´ * `’•.¸)`’•.¸ )..

  • edithgrove

    Well its nice to know how the middle classes are spending their money, its made me feel warm and cosy all over.

  • Jackthesmilingblack

    “Why I’ll never want to escape Portmeirion”
    This is seriously sad.

  • How to get back your ex husband, wife, girlfriend, or boyfriend,

    Hello to every one out here, am here to share the unexpected miracle that happened to me three days ago, My name is Jeffrey Dowling,i live in Texas,USA.and I`m happily married to a lovely and caring wife,with two kids A very big problem occurred in my family seven months ago,between me and my wife so terrible that she took the case to court for a divorce she said that she never wanted to stay with me again,and that she did not love me anymore So she packed out of my house and made me and my children passed through severe pain. I tried all my possible means to get her back,after much begging,but all to no avail and she confirmed it that she has made her decision,and she never wanted to see me again. So on one evening,as i was coming back from work,i met an old friend of mine who asked of my wife So i explained every thing to her,so she told me that the only way i can get my wife back,is to visit a spell caster,because it has really worked for her too So i never believed in spell,but i had no other choice,than to follow her advice. Then she gave me the email address of the spell caster whom she visited.(bravespellcaster@gmail.com}, So the next morning,i sent a mail to the address she gave to me,and the spell caster assured me that i will get my wife back the next day what an amazing statement!! I never believed,so he spoke with me,and told me everything that i need to do. Then the next morning, So surprisingly, my wife who did not call me for the past seven {7}months,gave me a call to inform me that she was coming back So Amazing!! So that was how she came back that same day,with lots of love and joy,and she apologized for her mistake,and for the pain she caused me and my children. Then from that day,our relationship was now stronger than how it were before,by the help of a spell caster . So, was now stronger than how it were before,by the help of a spell caster . So, i will advice you out there to kindly visit the same Website: http://enchantedscents.tripod.com/lovespell/,if you are in any condition like this,or you have any problem related to “bringing your ex back. So thanks to Dr Brave for bringing back my wife,and brought great joy to my family once again.{bravespellcaster@gmail.com} ,
    (`’•.¸(` ‘•. ¸* ¸.•’´)¸.•’´)..

    «´ Thanks to Dr Brave ¨`»

    ..(¸. •’´(¸.•’´ * `’•.¸)`’•.¸ )..

  • How to get back your ex husband, wife, girlfriend, or boyfriend,

    Hello to every one out here, am here to share the unexpected miracle that happened to me three days ago, My name is Jeffrey Dowling,i live in Texas,USA.and I`m happily married to a lovely and caring wife,with two kids A very big problem occurred in my family seven months ago,between me and my wife so terrible that she took the case to court for a divorce she said that she never wanted to stay with me again,and that she did not love me anymore So she packed out of my house and made me and my children passed through severe pain. I tried all my possible means to get her back,after much begging,but all to no avail and she confirmed it that she has made her decision,and she never wanted to see me again. So on one evening,as i was coming back from work,i met an old friend of mine who asked of my wife So i explained every thing to her,so she told me that the only way i can get my wife back,is to visit a spell caster,because it has really worked for her too So i never believed in spell,but i had no other choice,than to follow her advice. Then she gave me the email address of the spell caster whom she visited.(bravespellcaster@gmail.com}, So the next morning,i sent a mail to the address she gave to me,and the spell caster assured me that i will get my wife back the next day what an amazing statement!! I never believed,so he spoke with me,and told me everything that i need to do. Then the next morning, So surprisingly, my wife who did not call me for the past seven {7}months,gave me a call to inform me that she was coming back So Amazing!! So that was how she came back that same day,with lots of love and joy,and she apologized for her mistake,and for the pain she caused me and my children. Then from that day,our relationship was now stronger than how it were before,by the help of a spell caster . So, was now stronger than how it were before,by the help of a spell caster . So, i will advice you out there to kindly visit the same Website: http://enchantedscents.tripod.com/lovespell/,if you are in any condition like this,or you have any problem related to “bringing your ex back. So thanks to Dr Brave for bringing back my wife,and brought great joy to my family once again.{bravespellcaster@gmail.com} ,
    (`’•.¸(` ‘•. ¸* ¸.•’´)¸.•’´)..

    «´ Thanks to Dr Brave ¨`»

    ..(¸. •’´(¸.•’´ * `’•.¸)`’•.¸ )..

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