Wednesday, 27 July 2016


Following my post about dawn at the estuary, here are some more photos of the wonderful private village of Portmeirion in North Wales.  For those not familiar with the history, the village was the dream of a chap called Clough Williams-Ellis, who painstakingly brought his vision to life over the decades from 1925 until his death in the late 1970s.  It's a complete indulgence, all this Italian style architecture in the far North of Wales.  Today it's owned by a charity, and day visitors can pay an entrance fee to explore the village for the day.  Alternatively, you can pay (fairly heftily) to stay in the guest accommodation on site.  There's the main hotel building, the village buildings, and the castle further up the hill.  As we were travelling a fair way from South Wales, I decided we should definitely stay.  We couldn't have timed it better with the weather - arriving in 31 degree heat, it felt like we'd stepped off a plane rather than out of my car!

First stop then was a dip in the pool, which is heated these days, a step up from when there would have been a bracing freshwater pool in the 1920s.  The pool is small but was just what we needed after a 4 hour drive in warm weather, and feeling refreshed, we explored the village a little.  It's a compact site, centred around some beautiful gardens.  There are lots of little shops and places to eat, including a 'diner' style cafe in the Town Hall, and an ice-cream parlour.  If the filming of the 1960s TV series 'The Prisoner' interests you then you can visit the gift shop, which I think was Number 6's cottage in the programme.  The village is surrounded by woodland, and there are lots of paths veering off if you're feeling exploratory.  You'll come across little follies and look-out points if you do.  After a quick change, it was then time for drinks on the hotel terrace, followed by a picnic overlooking the estuary.  Apparently the restaurant is top-notch, but it is pricey, and we were a bit too hot to sit inside for a formal dinner.  We had cold salmon and salad off plastic plates, washed down with some wine.  Classy!


Sunday, 24 July 2016

Dawn at The Estuary

One of the places that's always been high on my UK tourism wish-list is the quirky village of Portmeirion, and this week I finally made it there.  I went up to North Wales with my husband for a mini holiday, and the Italian style village of 'The Prisoner' TV series fame was our first stop.  I have hundreds of photos to sift through, so until then I am sharing a handful of photographs from a beautiful early morning stroll along the estuary.  We were the only people walking at that time in the morning, and it felt like we were on our own private archipelago.  Please suspend your disbelief that I'm wearing shorts in the UK in these photos; we had precisely 1.5 days of blissful warmth.

Dawn at the estuary

Wednesday, 20 July 2016

Llanerch Vineyard Afternoon Tea Review

For my mother's birthday, she fancied a trip out for some afternoon tea.  We've already been to Miskin manor a few times but wanted to try somewhere different.  My sister Louise came up with the great suggestion of Llanerch Vineyard, near Hensol in the Vale of Glamorgan.  Like the manor, it's not far from the M4 and so in easy reach.  Llanerch is doing well with its 'Cariad' (Welsh for 'darling') brand of modern wines, and the site has expanded to offer a gift shop, restaurant and boutique hotel rooms.  My first impression was that the site is very smart and modern looking, and if the wind hadn't been blowing rain sideways at me, I could almost have believed I was in California.  Almost.

Llanerch Vineyard
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