Portmerion & Criccieth Wales

This week I’m still in North Wales. On the hunt to see as many castles as I could I set out to Criccieth on the coast. There were two places I had planned on seeing, Portmerion and Criccieth Castle.

Criccieth & Criccieth Castle

My first stop was Criccieth Castle set above the beautiful seaside town of Criccieth. There’s only one way in and one way out of the castle and very limited parking. GPS will drop you on the road below the castle, where you can park if there is space available. The town itself is picture-perfect, speckled with art galleries and eateries. Spend the day wandering its narrow streets or down at one of the two beaches surrounding the castle.

The castle itself is set on a bluff overlooking the sea. Pretty much a ruin there aren’t any towers to climb or rooms to explore, however, there are several beautifully placed benches and vantage points to take advantage of. So if you’re looking for a place to unwind and take some gorgeous photographs, this is the place for you.

Portmeirion

My next stop, Portmeirion. Portmeirion is this interesting little gem on the coast of Wales which was created by the Welsh architect Clough Williams-Ellis between 1925 – 1973. Williams-Ellis wanted to create an ideal village. Walking around this working village you do forget that you’re in Wales. Instead, you feel like you’re in some sort of Disney creation, like Epcot.

Before Williams-Ellis got his hands on this location there sat a neglected castle on the same spot. The first thing the architect did was to fix and extend the castle. Finished in 1926, that castle became a grand hotel which is still in operation today.

The village operates two hotels, one within the village by the sea and one just outside, the original castle. Also, on-site are several restaurants, specialty shops, and even a spa. It really is a self-contained village. Visitors can also explore several 20 miles of walking trails along the 70-acre complex.

One of the holiday resort’s biggest claim to fame is that it was the set for a cult classic British TV series from the 1960s called  The Prisoner. They even have an entire gift shop devoted to it.  I was so intrigued I had to watch it. Luckily it was included in my Amazon Prime subscription. To be fair I have only watched two episodes so far but it is trippy. Lots of psychedelic swirls and groovy clothes. Watching it you can see where Mike Myers got his inspiration for Austin Powers. Portmeirion is host to The Prisoner convention once a year so fans can relive their favorite scenes. 

TV show aside. This retreat is a beautiful place to have a wedding, there was even one happening during my visit. One area that you can see but is inaccessible unless you are a guest is the onsite hotel. There is a gorgeous pool that overlooks the sea and even though it was chilly the day I was there, there were people swimming, which leads me to think it must be heated.

There are tours available of the complex, they are free and at scheduled times. This is a great place to take the day. Wander around the trails, shops and have a leisurely meal by the sea. If you get there early enough make sure to book yourself in for a spa service to complete your visit.

Take the time to visit this part of Wales

If you do find yourself in Wales, please take the time to explore these two areas. Not only are they gorgeous but they ooze relaxation. What’s the most relaxing place you’ve been to? Let me know in the comments. Next, we continue my trip to South Wales. Until next time.

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