Portmeirion is one of Wales’ most popular tourist attractions. An Italian style colorful village built as a filmset, located at the dramatic coastline of Wales sounds like the ideal tourist attraction. When I visited I discovered that Portmeirion was not like I expected it to be and I want to keep you from making the same mistake. Find out all about Portmeirion in this blogpost!
Portmeirion was constructed between 1925 and 1975 as a filmset with the style of a colorful, Italian village. I love colorful, Italian villages, so when I heard I could find one at the coast of Wales, of course I had to visit. However, I had no idea that Portmeirion is a sort of theme park and that we would have to pay an entrance fee of 20 pounds per person. I did find it very strange that a village can have opening times, but I expected it to be more of a cultural, heritage thing than a fully fledged themepark. We arrived right when it opened, at 9.30AM and parked our car in the gigantic carpark.
Our experience in Portmeirion
When we drove up to Portmeirion everything was still rosy, as we drove through a beautiful lane of hortensias. These walls of hortensias were so striking and so colorful, I hoped it would be a preview of what was yet to come.
It was only at the entrance that I discovered that Portmeirion was a theme park and not the quaint village I imagined. Still, I did not want to let that deter me from visiting, so we paid the hefty entrance fee of 20 pounds. As you can imagine, being a themepark, everything was incredibly fake. I discovered that Portmeirion is a really cheesy spot to visit and that there actually was very little to do. The only think you can really do in Portmeirion is go to a restaurant, go to a shop and have a look at the gardens. The landscaping was really beautiful, but there just isn’t a lot to do. The swimming pool of course is fake, so you can take a picture of it and that’s it. Overall, I was very disappointed, and I wished I had prepared better, so I at least would have known what to expect.
How to do better
Even though I would not recommend visiting Portmeirion as it is so inauthentic, there are better ways to visit. One of them is by booking a two course lunch at Castell Deudraeth Brasserie or booking a Sunday afternoon tea or lunch at The Hotel Portmeirion, both restaurants are located on the premises and these reservations include a free entrance to Portmeirion park. This seems like a better value-for-money than paying an entrance fee of 20 pounds, walking around for an hour and leaving again.