29 April 2018


"I am not a number, I am a free man" said Patrick McGoohan as number 6 in the 1967 cult TV series "The Prisoner". The series followed a British former secret agent (McGoohan) who was abducted and imprisoned in a mysterious coastal village resort. The occupants of the village went about their daily business quite happily, in a slightly similar way to The Stepford Wives. No one had names, only numbers. McGoohan's captors were trying to extract information from him, he was trying to escape, and every time he did he was brought down by a huge white floating ball that just popped up. It was a bizarre series but very good, and became addictive.

It was filmed in the picturesque north Wales village of Portmeirion, a divine collection of pretty, quirky houses, beautiful gardens, a cafe, restaurant, shops, holiday cottages and a hotel.
I first visited over 15 years ago, this visit was in 2013.

Portmeirion was created by the architect Sir Clough Williams-Ellis. He had nurtured an idea of a small coastal village on some romantic clifftop site, perhaps on an island or a remote estuary. This idea stayed with him for about 20 years until in 1925 he found the Aber Iâ estate on the Dwyryd estuary near his home. It was more or less exactly what he had been hoping for, and it was for sale - he bought if for what is said to be around £5,000. 
The first thing he did was change the name. Aber Iâ can mean 'frozen river mouth' which isn't an ideal name for a holiday resort. The name Portmeirion comes from 'Port' to put it on the coast and 'Meirion' the correct spelling of Merioneth, the county in which is was located. Building took place in two stages, from 1925 to 1939, and, once post war building restrictions had been lifted, from 1954-76. 
Sir Clough's daughter, designer Susan Williams-Ellis founded Portmeirion Pottery in 1960. 

Portmeirion hotel.
It's highly unlikely that I will marry again, but if I did I would want to do it here. 
Surrounded by beautiful gardens and water gardens, coastal walks
and 70 acres of exotic woodlands, it's definitely worth a visit. 

We stayed in Betws-y-Coed
our B&B was lovely, the rooms were themed around flowers,
I was in the Bluebell room.

A few miles away was The Ugly House Tea Room.
Despite its name it's a lovely little place and serves delicious food.
The cottage is full of history, legend and mystery. It's not clear who built it or when. It's said to be a Tŷ Un Nos, a ‘one-night house’, a custom whereby if you could build a house overnight on common land, with smoke rising from the chimney by daybreak, it was yours to keep. The tearoom has a honeybee centre upstairs. It is surrounded by five acres of ancient woodland and wildlife garden tended by volunteers. The volunteers also run a project to rear a supply of queen bees to boost the population of healthy honeybees in the Conwy Valley and beyond.

I like trains so a trip on the Ffestiniog railway was a must.

The weather has turned cold again, and more rain. The lawn is looking lovely.

I'm currently binge watching "The Alienist" on Netflix. It's very good but I do think
the protagonist should spend less time theorising and more time detecting,
but then I guess there would be less atmospheric suspense. 

And, after much neglect I am back working on my dolls house

~Be warm and well ~
Polly x


  1. Your photos brought back lovely memories of a holiday there in the early 90s.

  2. Jenny and I visited Portmeirion some years ago when we were on holiday in North Wales. An extraordinary place, quite unique. We've also been on the Ffestiniog railway, which a friend helped to restore in the early seventies when we were staying at Borth-y-Gest on the other side of the Dwyryd estuary.

    1. As you say Nick, unique and extraordinary. He had a brilliant mind to formulate the idea and wait such a long time before making it happen.

  3. I have never been but it was a joy to be taken along with you on your little tour. I am a fan of the old steam trains too.

    1. I remember the station in my home town when it was all wooden floors with wooden steps leading up and over the tracks to the platform on the other side, when the trains went through the steam rose up through the gaps in the wood!

  4. I've never been there but your post makes me want to explore.

  5. Being pedantic,but the quote is "I am not a number, I am a free man" (sorry!)

    I remember The Prisoner from the first time around, it appealed to me as it as so very sixties and cool and somewhat baffling. I didn't realise at the time it was in a real town.

    1. I wasn't sure but I think you're correct. I didn't know it was a real place at the time either, I was excited to visit the first time.

  6. beautiful.. picturesque.. the ugly tea house is very beautiful and cute indeed..

  7. Oh, I ADORE it! SO pretty! I wonder where it is -- I need to look things up. Rick and I are going to England with a stop in Wales in October and I need to get a lay of the land. I might have to mail you with a few questions!

    1. Hi Jeanie, it's in north Wales, in the Snowdonia National Park area, the whole area is beautiful and definitely worthy of putting on your "To visit" list :-) x

    2. PS please feel free to ask any questions, I'm only to pleased to help x

  8. I've never been but would certainly like to go ...
    I do like the sound of rooms being named after flowers, and you mentioned the Bluebell room, which reminded me of the lovely blue bells I saw today - blue and white together they did look lovely.

    I enjoyed your post and your photographs too, thank you.

    All the best Jan

  9. What a pretty town, I love the colours of the houses. I wish we did that more here. I'm just trying to imagine how my neighbours would feel if I painted my house my favourite colour.. blue 😀😀 Thanks Polly, this was a delight to see ✨


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