Not many people can say an estate has been in their family for four hundred years. Nor can many people say the first mention of a castle whose remains are on the estate today was by Gerald of Wales in 1188. Two arms of land embrace the sea, in the heart of which lies Portmeirion. The whole of the estate includes not only Portmeirion, but Brondnaw Gardens, a true wilderness at the foot of the mountains. The garden was begun in 1550, improved in 1660 and in the early 1900s, its modernization and improvements were undertaken by the man who inherited the estate, Clough Williams-Ellis.
Clough had a big job on his hands. He bent his will toward restoring the family manor house in Brondanaw, adding a kitchen here, a bathroom there, and buttressing the whole of the building. Slowly, as he obtained money, he rebuilt the family manor, while at the same time clearing the land and improving the garden begun so many centuries before by his ancestors. His idea of a garden embracing the mountains in the distance is a reality today; and a most beautiful reality it is. Then Mr. Williams-Ellis bent his will to founding Portmeirion, whose estate at the time consisted of a fading manor house overlooking a stunning vista.
The man restored castle, gardens and township. That he did so with an eye toward architecture he loved, specifically Italian, has caused much comment among both visitors and experts alike. However, none can deny that, architecturally speaking, the results were sheer beauty. But it’s not only that. Portmeirion, tucked between the mountains and the sea, has a timelessness to it that surpasses any man-made architectural trend ever invented. The visitor will feel this timelessness the instant they drive up to the hotel.
Standing on the sands of the estuary looking back at the hotel, for example, the visitor would swear he was seeing an Italian villa and knowing its village backed it. What he wouldn’t see standing on the sands, but would notice from an aerial shot, would be the way the estate blends in with the surrounding land. Its creation did not rape the earth, but was built as a complement to her. The estate’s buildings and gardens only surpass their respect for the area they are built on by their beauty.
There is much to do and see for the visitor to Portmeirion. There are guided tours of the town, shopping, theatre and hiking, biking and zoo trips. The sands of the estuary, especially at sunset, simply are not to be missed. Native pottery and china are also to be found in Portmeirion. Weddings and other family celebrations are held here, with top chefs preparing wondrous feasts to celebrate. Many TV and movies can boast scenes filmed in Portmeirion, which will be included in the tours of the town. Souvenirs and photography, among other arts, will give the visitor a beautiful memory of the wonders he found in the town and surrounding beauty.