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13 things to do in Portmeirion

Find fantastical architecture, lush gardens, mountain hikes and more things to do in this bewitching, Welsh tourist village

By Sarah Gibbons |
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Portmeirion, Wales
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Entering Portmeirion village is a bit like walking into a fairytale. You may be in North Wales, but you’re instantly transported to an Italianate village complete with turrets, an elaborate piazza and a rainbow of ornate façades. Architect (and total legend) Sir Clough Williams-Ellis dreamt up this tourist village back in 1925, it’s where 1960s show ‘The Prisoner’ was filmed and now it’s an absolute must-see.

RECOMMENDED: Discover nearby Snowdonia

A perfect day in Portmeirion

Portmeirion
Photograph: Shutterstock

First up

Take a tour around the village. Entry to Portmeirion is £11, and that includes a 20-minute guided walk along the cobbles. Discover quirky details in every nook and cranny, and learn which films were set on these colourful streets and which celebs love hanging out here.

Portmeirion, wales
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Soak up the vibes

Wander along the stunning coastal path at the edge of the village and soak up the scenery of the Dwyryd Estuary before circling back through a subtropical forest, dubbed The Gwyllt. Don’t miss the elegant Japanese Garden, complete with a pagoda and lily-pad-carpeted lake.

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Portmeirion, wales
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Stop for lunch

Grab a hearty hot roast bap from Caffi No 6, or enjoy a dollop of homemade gelato – the bara brith flavour is dangerously good – at Caffi’r Angel. For a sit-down affair, head to Hotel Portmeirion and its art deco restaurant. Try the welsh rarebit risotto or marmite-roasted cauliflower.

Slate caverns, Wales
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Go on an adventure

With walking routes aplenty, Snowdonia is made for adventures, but some of the most exciting jaunts are hidden out of sight. For a quirky day out, check out Snowdonia’s mining history at Llechwedd Slate Caverns, a fascinating site buried deep under the mountains, where brave explorers go 500ft underground on the steepest cable railway in Britain.

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Hebbog Cafe, Wales

Drink like a local

The nearby village of Beddgelert is bursting with olde-worlde charm. Hebog Cafe serves light bites and locally brewed beer while The Saracens Head has a good selection of ales. Both overlook the river and postcard-perfect bridge; top spots to relax with a well-earned drink.

Snowdonia

If you do only one thing

You can’t visit Snowdonia without heading to the summit of Snowdon. Stand at a soaring 3,560ft and be blown away by the landscape of craggy peaks and deep valleys dotted with lakes. On a clear day, views stretch as far as Ireland. Don’t fancy the hike? Take the heritage Snowdon Mountain Railway. We won’t judge.

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And if you stay the night, wake up here

If sinking into your hot tub with a glass of vino after a long day exploring sounds like your bag, then look no further than Forest Holidays Beddgelert. Its Scandi-style log cabins are as snug as they are bright and airy, making the most of the leafy surrounds with huge windows and a private deck for alfresco dining. The best part? The location. Based in the heart of Snowdonia National Park, Forest Holidays is just a short drive from Pen-y-Pass, a popular starting point for treks up Snowdon – don’t forget yer walking boots. Forest Holidays, Beddgelert Snowdonia. From £655 for three nights. www.coolplaces.co.uk

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