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Review: Snowdonia


North Wales, United Kingdom

Snowdonia's Portmeirion

  • By SilverTraveller TravelEditor

    36 reviews

    Ribbon Ribbon

  • May 2010
  • Wife

121 people found this review helpful

Short breaks and holidays in the U.K. continue to grow in popularity. If you’re looking for stunning scenery with plenty to see and do, then Snowdonia in North Wales definitely ticks all the right boxes. The Snowdonia National Park, covering a vast 840 square miles, is one of the most amazing areas of outstanding natural beauty I have come across. The dramatic mountain ranges, with Snowdon standing majestically in their midst, cascade down into green fertile valleys with streams and sensational waterfalls eventually leading to the sea. Little picture-book villages are scattered high and low, and all seem to have their own story to tell and sights to see. With a breathtaking heritage coastline, castles and culture, industrial heritage, fabulous little railways, gardens, parks and family fun, Snowdonia is just waiting to be explored.

There’s lots of accommodation choice from camping and caravan sites, to B&B’s and many hotels throughout the region. I decided to combine my stay with one of North Wales’ most popular visitor attractions – Portmeirion

The famous Welsh architect Sir Clough Williams-Ellis certainly picked a fabulous spot in 1925 when he embarked on creating the inspirational village and gardens known as Portmeirion. The Italianate Village was finally completed in 1976 and is testimony to how a naturally beautiful landscape could be developed without spoiling it. Built on its own private peninsular with sensational views across the estuary, I was able to wander and experience a charming, quirky world of meandering streets and cliff top towers. If you’re of a certain age you’ll recall the cult television series The Prisoner starring the late Patrick McGoohan. The series was filmed at Portmeirion in 1967 and was subsequently instrumental in bringing many more visitors to this unique village resort. There’s a dedicated Prisoner shop selling memorabilia and the village is still very much a focus point for Prisoner fans. There are over 50 buildings of various styles and character. There are shops, cafes, restaurant, an audio visual show and a Portmeirion Pottery seconds shop. Seventeen of the quirky cottages are now let as self-catering accommodation sleeping from 3 to 8 people. The village is surrounded by over 70 acres of sub-tropical gardens and woodlands. There are lakes and miles of pathways with set walks for you to choose from. I took the opportunity to walk along the headland to the lighthouse, a sensational walk in itself but for me enhanced by simply stopping half way round to listen to the peace and solitude of the area.

The legendary Portmeirion Hotel was the base for my ‘staycation’. This hotel offers superb luxury accommodation still all in keeping with the design and vision of Sir Clough Williams-Ellis. The view across the estuary from my room (number 6 of course) was breathtaking. I found the level of service throughout the hotel excellent. The restaurant, lounge and bar were very comfortable and relaxing and the restaurant offered a first class menu. And as for the full Welsh breakfast in the morning a definite must! The website gives details of accommodation choice and at the times I have looked at the site there have been regular offers available.

Holidays and short breaks in Britain are back in fashion, but with a difference. Nowadays we tend to travel in search of new experiences; culture, heritage, activity and adventure. In addition we expect excellent standards of accommodation and food – I’m sure you’ll find Snowdonia ticks all these boxes.

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This review is solely based on the opinion of a Silver Travel Advisor member and not of Silver Travel Advisor Ltd.

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Other Members' Thoughts - 3 Comment(s)

  • ESW
    over 5 years ago
    I have osteoarthritis and use a walking stick. I visited Portmeiion last month. It is a short walk from the car park (there are disabled bays close to the entrance). You won't have a problem getting around the village itself. Have a look at the access plan here.
    As you can see most of the village has wheelchair access. It is surrounded by wooded slopes with loads of footpaths. Some of these are steeper than others. There is a tonka train which takes you for a short ride around part of the estate and none of these tracks are very steep. I manged them without any problems. The drop down to the hotel on the beach is probably the steepest climb around the village, but again should be manageable. You can also walk from the hotel which takes you along the coastal path. This is a lovely walk with views down onto secluded sandy beaches and across the estuary to the mountains of mid Wales. There are a few climbs but again none of them are too steep. If there has been a lot of rain your main problem may be mud...

    My web page of pictures is here and may give a better idea of what it is like.

    From my experience, I'd say go for it!
  • Stells
    over 5 years ago
    We are thinking about visiting Portmeirion in the next couple of months. What I need to know is how hilly is it. I use a walking stick due to being disabled and my husband has impaired mobility due to osteoarthritis. Would we be able to get around.
  • ESW
    over 8 years ago
    Portmeirion is such FUN. It is a photographers delight as you have to use your eyes. The vistas designed by Clough Williams-Ellis with the buildings and trees change as you walk. Close by is Brondanw House and Gardens where Clough Williams-Ellis lived. The gardens are open (courtesy box) and are well worth a visit. They have been designed to the same principles as portmeirion only using trees rather than buildings to define the views.

    Close by is the Ffestiniog railway which is a superb run up through the Vale of Ffestiniog, especially if you are being pulled by one of the unique double Fairlie engines. The sheer naked power of one of these pulling a heavy train of 12 coaches uphill is exhillarating.