Portmeirion Village
Minffordd, Penrhyndeudraeth, Gwynedd, LL48 6ER

The gorgeous, Italian-inspired Portmeirion Village is located in Gwynedd, North Wales and has been the central location of television shows and movies. Visitors from around the globe come here to visit for a feel-good adventure in a flavorful town. Buildings are ornate and brightly colored and definitely reminded us of Italy. Portmeirion is on its own private peninsula and was created by Welsh architect Clough Williams-Ellis. The locals come to Portmeirion for the day just to stroll around the village.

A great photo op of the village is down by the quayside, next to the Amis Reunis, a stone boat which is also a great place for kids to play pirates. You can meander through the Woodland and check out the wishing trees and the lighthouse along the coastal walk. There are quaint little shops and spots you can pop into for a cup of tea or a bite to eat. You can easily spend a day or two at Portmeirion relaxing with your family. Did I mention that there is a spa and swimming pool? Come to think of it, it would be a great place for a family reunion!

Our crew had the pleasure of staying overnight for a couple of evenings. We usually work 12-14 hour days so being able to enjoy a resort such as Portmeirion is definitely a perk of the job that leaves a lasting effect. There are a variety of room styles that are offered on various parts of the property from suites at the Castell Deudraeth to rooms at the hotel to small cottages. Each spot is beautifully decorated and offers a warm welcome after a long day. No wonder artists, politicians and well-known people such as Frank Lloyd Wright, Gregory Peck, Ingrid Bergman and Paul McCartney have all stayed in Portmeirion.

Portmeirion is best known as the backdrop for the series The Prisoner which was a popular television show in the 1960’s. There is a Prisoner Convention held each year at Portmeirion and fans of the show can also find a shop available with memorabilia from the series. It might be fun to check out the series before you make a trip to Portmeirion.

Overall, I would say that the village offers families a time to unwind. A visit to Portmeirion has everything you need, but it’s not a theme park! It’s a place where you can use your imagination, enjoy nature, read and relax. If you crave time together as a family, this might be the ideal place for it.

Some Additional Tips & Fun Facts about Portmeirion:
• Guests staying at Castell Deudraeth enjoy free access to all Portmeirion village’s facilities including an outdoor swimming pool.
• There is a courtesy mini bus service available between Castell Deudraeth and The Hotel Portmeirion.
• Lunchtime patrons of the Castell restaurant receive a free after lunch entry ticket to Portmeirion village.
• The cottages can sleep from 3-8 people and have kitchens
• Baby sitting can be arranged with prior notice.
• Complimentary 20 minute guided tours are available at the Welcome Area
• The Portmeirion Pottery factory shop is next to the entrance

Passport_stampFfestiniog Railway
Harbour Station, Porthmadog, Conwy LL49 9NF

Not far from Portmeirion, we had the opportunity to ride on the Ffestiniog Railway, which the world’s oldest narrow gauge railway. In fact, the company is in the Guinness Book of World Records as the oldest railway company in the world, founded in 1832. Riding on the Ffestiniog Railway is like taking a step back in time so if you have history and train buffs in your family, you don’t want to miss this experience!

Luckily we arrived within plenty of time to see the train crew loading up coal in order to operate the steam engine. I got a chance to talk with the engineer and he confirmed that his passengers love the whole experience of prepping the trains for the journey. It’s really half the fun, so don’t be late!

The Ffestiniog Railway and it’s sister the Welsh Highlands Railway offer a unique opportunity to explore the beauty of North Wales. The historic trains pass through forests, and by lakes and even waterfalls. Be careful not to lean out the window! I almost learned this the hard way…in some parts of the route, the passageway is quite narrow and I came very close to hitting my head on a pole. When I heard the crew take a gasp followed by a sigh of relief, I knew I was one lucky lady!

Food and drink are available on the train. You can also break up the ride and stop at one of the restaurants along the way. One of the best parts about the train ride is that one child’s fare is free with one paid adult ticket…and we always like FREE! I hope your family will enjoy this experience as much as we did. Make sure you bring your camera to get pictures of all the beauty shots along the way.

Smallest_houseSmallest House in the UK
Conwy Quayside, Conwy LL32 8BB, United Kingdom

The Quay House, located in Conwy, is known as the smallest house in the Great Britain. It stands just 122 inches high and 72 feet wide. The last person on record to have lived in the house was a very tall local fisherman named Robert Jones. It has recently been refurbished for a clean, neat look as many guests from around the world come to explore the area.

Your family can see “The Smallest House in Great Britain” for a very low price. Admission is only 50 pence for children and £1 for adults. Guests are welcome to take a look inside the house for their own perspectives on how the previous owners lived their daily lives in extremely small spaces. Of course the tour is a short one, but it’s quite remarkable to know that someone made this tiny little house his home!

Additional Tip: While you’re here at the Smallest House in the UK, make sure to soak up the unique shoreline atmosphere and continue on the quayside to view the beautiful beachside scenery. The entire city of Conwy is lovely. There are quaint shops, beautiful hotels (we stayed at the Castle Hotel which was over the top gorgeous complete with an amazing restaurant and lively pub!) and of course Conwy Castle.

Say What?
Llanfairpwllgwyngyll Station, Holyhead Road, Anglesey, Isle of Anglesey LL61 5UJ

If your family enjoys learning about unique bits of information, then you’ll love visiting the train station with the longest name in the world, Llanfair¬pwllgwyn-gyllgo¬gery¬chwyrn¬drobwll¬llanty¬silio¬gogo¬goch. It is located in the village of the same name and in English it means Saint Mary’s Church in the hollow of the white hazel near a rapid whirlpool and the Church of Saint Tysilio of the red cave. Say that 10 times…in either Welsh or English!

I met up with a local guide who taught me how to say the name properly in Welsh, but we also chatted about the Welsh language in general, which is very much alive throughout the country. Everywhere we went we heard people speaking in Welsh and most signs were written in both languages. Rob explained that it was very important to people to keep the language and customs alive for their children and grandchildren in order to maintain the unique culture of Wales.

After meeting with Rob, I popped into the train station which had some fun souvenirs, clothing and even a restaurant. The crew had fun stamping their passports with thellanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwyrndrobwllllantysiliogogogoch stamp and sending off a few postcards the old fashioned way to our family back home. Definitely worth the stop!

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