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North Wales: A Weekend in Portmeirion & Criccieth

Portmeirion

This past weekend I took a little weekend break to Portmeirion & Criccieth in North Wales. We based ourselves in Criccieth, a pretty little town close to the quirky and magical village of Portmeirion – somewhere I had been wanting to visit for absolutely ages!

Criccieth

We arrived in the evening, just in time to catch a glimpse of Criccieth Castle at sunset. I just couldn’t get enough of the beautiful light and how it perfectly illuminated the castle.

 

A photo posted by Helen Davies (@helenwonderlust) on

Waking up to another lovely sunny day on Saturday, our first stop was a trip to Criccieth Castle, just a few yards from our hotel. Criccieth Castle, North Wales I am a bit of a history geek, and climbing upwards towards the twin towers, I was excited to explore the ruins. The legends, the battles, the beauty, the stories, so much history contained within the walls. If only they could talk.    Criccieth Castle, North WalesCriccieth Castle, North Wales Criccieth Castle lies on a hill with 360 views over the Irish Sea and surrounding countryside. Construction of the castle began around 1230 AD, initiated by Llywelyn the Great and building work continued until around 1280. To put that into context, the castle was being built during the lifetime of Scottish legend, William Wallace aka ‘Braveheart’.   Criccieth Castle, North Wales We spent around an hour wandering around on the hill, exploring and discussing what life might have been like for those in the castle, deciding which of the rooms we would have chosen as our own. There were only a couple of other people up there, and we pretty much had the whole place to ourselves.  Criccieth Castle, North Wales Next we hopped in the car and drove the 9 miles to the village of Portmeirion.

Portmeirion

Arguably the prettiest village in the UK, Portmeirion was built by arthitect, Clough Williams-Ellis between 1925 and 1975. Williams-Ellis always denied that the village was based on the Italian town of Portofino and would only say that the aim of the village was to capture the Mediterranean atmosphere. I think he did pretty good. Portmeirion, North Wales Portmeirion is a real treat to visit. At every turn there is something to see, discover and photograph. Every inch of the village is perfectly designed, in contrast with the wilder forest and coastal paths that surround it. But somehow, the combination works, and the colourful buildings blend seamlessly with the Welsh countryside and bay of which it overlooks. It’s fun and refreshing, and there’s something magical about the place that made me feel intrinsically happy by just being there. I’m sure the sunshine also helped! Portmeirion, North WalesPortmeirion, North Wales The iconic village is also famous for the setting for the 1960’s cult TV show, The Prisoner and also famous for Portmeirion Pottery.

 

  A photo posted by Helen Davies (@helenwonderlust) on

We wandered through the gardens, walked the coastal path, dipped our toes in the sea, feasted on delicious pizza, relaxed on the grass, took a train ride through the woods, ate ice-cream and took lots and lots of pictures!

Portmeirion, North WalesPortmeirion, North WalesPortmeirion, North Wales

Portmeirion, North Wales  Portmeirion, North WalesPortmeirion, North WalesPortmeirion, North Wales

Then, it was time for wine with a view! One thing is for sure, it’s definitely the prettiest and quirkiest village I’ve ever been to. I just wish more places looked like this – although, I doubt I’d get much work done, I’d be Instagramming all day.

Portmeirion, North WalesPortmeirion, North Wales

We spent the evening back in Criccieth and took a stroll down to the beach with a cheeky little glass of champagne to watch the sunset, before enjoying a wonderful meal at Tonnau Restaurant at The Caerwylan Hotel. The view was fantastic and the staff were lovely! The food was pretty fabulous too!

Criccieth, North WalesCriccieth, North Wales

If you are looking to bring a little bit of magic to your weekend in the UK, head to Criccieth and Portmeirion, you won’t be disappointed. I can’t wait to head back to the area to explore more of what Wales has to offer!

Essential Info:

Portmeirion

  • If you book tickets for Portmeirion online they are cheaper than on the day. £8.50 (adults), £8 (concessions), £5.50 (child 5 – 15). We paid £10 each on the day.
  • If you go after 3.30pm, tickets are reduced!
  • You can also stay in Portmeirion village, something I’d love to do in the future as I think it would be beautiful and very romantic at night! Especially on a clear night, with a full moon!
  • We had a lovely pizza for lunch at Caffi Glas.

Criccieth

  • I highly recommend the Tonnau Restaurant. The restaurant is also part of a hotel, so perhaps an option for where to stay!
  • Castle Fish and Chips is another popular spots with both locals and tourists, with people queueing out the door!
  • Tickets for Criccieth Castle cost £3.50 (adults), £2.65 (concessions and children under 16) and£10.50 (family ticket) and it is open 10am – 5pm (April – October) and 9.30am  4pm (November -March). We found 10am a great time to go. They also have a small museum!
  • We stayed at The Marine Hotel B&B. The decor is a little dated, but the owners were really friendly and they do a great breakfast. Our sea view (and castle view) room was really comfortable and the hotel was in a great position, close to the main high street, the castle and the beach.

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North Wales: How to spend a weekend in Portmeirion & Criccieth 

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I'm a travel blogger and tour operator with a passion for Africa travel. I love the great outdoors, going on epic trips around the world and helping others travel!

20 Comments

  • Toni richardson
    April 23, 2014 at 11:12 am

    Lovely pics Helen x

    Reply
    • Helen
      April 23, 2014 at 11:15 am

      Thank you Toni! It was a lovely weekend away! Have you been???

      Reply
  • Beverley - Pack Your Passport
    April 23, 2014 at 11:26 am

    Helen I think my parents have been to Portmeirion in the past (possibly before I was born, so a good 28 years ago now!) but they love North Wales and now I’ve seen your gorgeous photos of it I definitely want to go. I love little towns with colourful buildings, especially towns by the sea, and now I’m back from the other side of the world I definitely want to explore more of the UK 🙂
    Beverley – Pack Your Passport recently posted…Not Living in SeattleMy Profile

    Reply
    • Helen
      April 23, 2014 at 11:41 am

      Hey lovely! I’m the same! Love travelling around the UK, just don’t do enough of it. I forget just what a wonderful country we live in sometimes! 🙂

      You’d love it! I’d go back again to drink wine by the sea, would love to stay in there too. We had really nice weather too which made it extra lovely as the buildings looked so bright! Plus, the view of the bay was pretty amazing!

      Reply
  • Colleen Brynn
    April 23, 2014 at 3:56 pm

    Oh, you did snap some lovely pics. Sure is different to what I am seeing every day in India…
    I will be in Wales visiting a friend later on in May… sent her this link. She’s a writer so I bet it would be right up her alley!
    Colleen Brynn recently posted…The Sky Is FallingMy Profile

    Reply
    • Helen
      April 23, 2014 at 6:02 pm

      Ha, I bet it’s different from Indai!!! 🙂

      Thanks for sharing and glad you liked it!! Have fun if you go!!!

      Reply
  • rebecca
    April 23, 2014 at 9:42 pm

    stunning photos! Glad you got some good weather
    rebecca recently posted…Oxford day trip comicMy Profile

    Reply
    • Helen
      April 23, 2014 at 11:30 pm

      Thanks Rebecca, weather was amazing!!!! Picked a good weekend! 🙂

      Reply
  • Simone
    April 24, 2014 at 10:01 am

    Looks amazing! We may have to add Wales to our list. Thanks for the information and beautiful pictures.
    Simone recently posted…Inspiring Travelers: Taking the Big BreakMy Profile

    Reply
    • Helen
      April 24, 2014 at 10:13 am

      It’s a great place! Portmeirion is just really different and the Welsh countryside is just stunning. Driving through the green hills with lots of sheep! If you’re in the UK, I definitely recommend you go. And Welsh people are generally pretty lovely too!

      Thanks for commenting! 🙂

      Reply
  • Adelina | PackMeTo
    April 24, 2014 at 7:02 pm

    This is gorgeous! I love all the colours on the buildings especially that bright blue bell. The beach looked pretty magical too.
    Adelina | PackMeTo recently posted…6 Things Teaching Abroad Has Taught MeMy Profile

    Reply
    • Helen
      April 24, 2014 at 8:02 pm

      They are aren’t they! It was a really lovely place! I’d definitely go back! Really want to stay in Portmeirion next time. I can imagine it’s beautiful at night too!

      Reply
  • kami
    April 25, 2014 at 10:20 am

    the image of Wales I had in my head was nothing like that so I was really surprised when I saw your FB updates about the place. And now after reading this post and seeing even more of the pictures I’m officially putting North Wales on the list of places to visit soon!

    Reply
    • Helen
      April 26, 2014 at 12:20 am

      That’s great Kami! So nice to know I’ve changed your perspective on Wales! Let me know if you are coming over! It’s a great place, so much to see! Becki and me have been talking about going to Zipworld… look it up! Woo hoo! x

      Reply
  • Rebecca Jones
    April 29, 2014 at 2:12 am

    Gorgeous! Kindly stop making me yearn for far-away places! On second though, continue. I need to keep my desire alive for another 3 years before my proper trip with only a few baby trips in the meantime!

    I’m actually the opposite with history. Other facts will stick in my mind, but with history forget it. I have a vague sens of Things That Happened, and maybe a very very vague timeline of one geographic consisting of “things that happened recently” “things that happened less recently” “things that happened centuries ago,” and “things that happened in BC and early AD.” I always say I have enough trouble keeping my own time line organized, how am I supposed to remember the timeline of the entire world! Still find it interesting, though.

    Reply
    • Helen
      May 1, 2014 at 6:21 pm

      Sorry Rebecca! 🙂 Ha ha, my own timeline is fuzzy… history, not so much! Funny how the old brain works isn’t it?

      Reply
  • Sally
    May 1, 2014 at 12:01 pm

    Excellent pictures!!! These are gorgeous! I love all the colors on the structures especially that shiny red gong. The seaside seemed pretty wonderful too. Thanks for sharing.

    Reply
    • Helen
      May 1, 2014 at 6:19 pm

      Thanks so much Sally!

      Reply
  • Trees Rotteveel
    April 28, 2017 at 7:25 pm

    A great post! I love places on the sea coast and castles. What a beautiful coloured houses! I hope to visit this one day!

    Reply
  • Lloyd george edward thomas
    March 6, 2019 at 6:01 am

    I live in grants pass oregon USA. I enjoyed your wales trip. Im trying to move there soon as my farm sells. I want to explore where my people came from in the 1850s also i love the brits.

    Reply

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