Friday 6 October 2017

Portmeirion, Wales: The Village by Night

On this trip I was hosted by Visit Britain.

In September I had the good fortune to revisit a place I haven't seen for 25 years: the beautiful village of Portmeirion in Wales.

Not that it's a real village. Rather it's a confection of Italianate buildings and facades, put in place over decades by the late Sir Clough Williams-Ellis.

The architect wanted to show how architecture and nature could work harmoniously together; so he rescued demolished statuary and facades from around Britain, reinstalling them here.

The result is a beautiful though slightly odd village which feels too sublime to be real: a fairy-tale place.

It was this curious quality which led actor/director Patrick McGoohan to film his surreal mystery-drama TV series The Prisoner here (below I'm wearing a characteristic badge of the Village's inhabitants in the series).

By chance the 50th anniversary of its first screening fell in September, and it's still a spectacular viewing experience - I recommend it to you.

Portmeirion is mostly visited by day-trippers, to whom it's open during daylight hours. But if you stay overnight in the hotel or one of its rooms scattered through the Village, you can roam around freely after dark.

This is what Narrelle and I did, and were rewarded with a magical experience. The sky was clear, the stars were out, and Williams-Ellis' remarkable creation was even more beautiful than ever.

After seeing these photos I took on the night, I hope you agree.
As the inhabitants of the Village were fond of saying in The Prisoner, "Be seeing you!"

And a small additional note: this post was written in the grand John Rylands Library in Manchester. A beautiful space for composition, I think you'll agree:

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