Exploring Portmeirion: My Quest to “The Village” From The Prisoner TV Show

by joeheg

When I knew that I’d be traveling solo to the United Kingdom, I started to look at my trip differently. While it meant I could book different flights and hotels than a typical trip that I’d do with my wife, Sharon, it also meant a different approach to the activities I’d experience (and it ended up being offered experiences I wasn’t expecting, LOLOL!).

At first, I was thinking about things to do around London that aren’t at the top of my list when I travel with Sharon. We have different tastes, and we try to stick to things that interest both of us or at least won’t bore the other one to tears.

Then an idea popped into my head: I could take the trip to Wales I’d been thinking about for over 20 years. A bonus is that Sharon had no interest in visiting the western coast of Great Britain. This would be a perfect time to take the trip, and I had just enough time during my visit to make it happen.

Why Wales?

The reason for wanting to visit Wales goes back to the 90s when I found a TV show on the local public television station. Every week, they’d show a British spy series from 1967 called The Prisoner. My local PBS station was airing a version of the series from San Jose’s KTEH. which included an intro and summary by TV critic Scott Apel. Here’s the opening for the first episode, “Arrival.”

I’ll not get too much into the show, as you can find information about it online and watch it on YouTube. Back when I found it, the only way to watch was to be there when it aired or set the timer on the VCR.

One fascinating aspect of the show is the exterior scenes, which were filmed at Portmeirion in Wales. This coastal village was designed and built by Sir Clough Williams-Ellis in two phases, from 1926 to 1939 and from 1954 to 1976, even as he approached his 90s.

a body of water with houses and trees

After learning that “The Village” was a real place, I immediately added Portmeirion to my bucket list. However, I soon realized that planning a trip there would be a challenge. Portmeirion is not conveniently located near any major transportation hubs, making it difficult for those without a car to visit.

But I had the time, the desire and the know-how to make this happen—or at least I thought I did. So, I decided to take a large portion of my short trip across the pond to cross Portmeirion off my bucket list.

Traveling to Wales from London

As my trip was starting in London, I needed to figure out how to get from there to Wales. The Avanti West Coast train seemed like the easiest way to travel most of the distance, and there was a train departing from Euston Station that would get me as close as possible. However, being close didn’t mean I had arrived at my destination.

a sign on a wall

I initially considered taking other trains, but their schedules didn’t work for me. Ultimately, I decided that hiring a taxi was the best option. I emailed my hotel and asked if they could help arrange a ride for the 45-minute trip from Bangor, Wales, to the hotel. They assisted me in making the arrangements, and a taxi driver was going to wait for me at the station and drive me to the hotel. The same driver would also take me back to the station after my two-night stay.

I had plenty of anxiety about this portion of the trip. What if the train was canceled? Would the taxi be at the station? Why was I traveling across Great Britain to see a village from a 1960s TV show? What was I thinking?


I booked a room at Portmeirion in The Village section for two nights. If I was going to finally visit, I didn’t want to feel rushed. While guests can visit Portmeirion for the day, only those who are eating dinner at the hotel or staying on-site have access in the evening.

For a travel day where plenty of things could have gone wrong, I was relieved that everything went according to plan. After the 3 and 1/2-hour train ride from London, my taxi was waiting for me at the train station. We had a nice conversation during the 45-minute drive from Bangor, during which I was asked if I wanted to take the scenic drive or the direct route. I opted for the shorter, direct route, which still ended up being quite scenic.

a road with cars on it

We eventually made it to Porthmadog, the nearest town. From there, it’s 2 miles to the community of Penrhyndeudraeth, where you’ll find the entrance to Portmeirion. The village is located on the estuary of the River Dwyryd. For those not familiar with the term, an estuary is:

An estuary is an area where a freshwater river or stream meets the ocean. When freshwater and seawater combine, the water becomes brackish, or slightly salty.

a body of water with trees and hills in the background

First Impression

I can’t describe the feeling when I arrived at Portmeirion. I’d been thinking of this trip for decades, and while nothing kept me from visiting, it never seemed practical to make the trip. Now, I was finally here, checking into my room in “The Village.” There are 32 different rooms and suites in the village, and the check-in desk is located at Castell Deudraeth.

a stone castle with a car parked in front of it

From here, you’re driven to your room in one of the village vehicles. They are available to take you back and forth to the castle, which also houses one of the on-site restaurants.

While I wanted to get settled into my room, I also couldn’t resist going for a walk around Portmeirion at golden hour to take as many pictures as possible. Here’s just one of them of the main area showing many of the buildings.

a pool with a fountain and chairs in a courtyard

It’s surreal walking around a place you’ve only seen on a TV show.


I’ve been dreaming of visiting Portmeirion ever since I first caught a glimpse of The Prisoner on public television back in the 90s. After over 30 years, I finally made the journey, and let me tell you, it was well worth the wait. I’ll share all the details about my visit, the cozy room, the delicious food, and the overall experience in another post. But for now, I wanted to take some time to explain why this trip meant so much to me and why it took me so long to make it happen.

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Marie June 20, 2024 - 6:17 pm

It’s so amazing you made it there. Be seeing you.

MurrayF June 20, 2024 - 9:21 pm

I am envious. Being from New Zealand, English TV is preferred over American and the prisoner is a classic cult favourite. I have the DVD’s and still watch a few programmes of it from time to time. It is such a quirky show. You can see how that and the Avengers are so loved. Its also worth watching Mr Mcgoohan in Dangerman (kind of like man from uncle, an American classic) which he did before Prisioner.

Sara J. June 20, 2024 - 11:20 pm

I grew up watching this show on KTEH, and always wanted to visit.

Scott Field June 21, 2024 - 1:20 am

I’ve loved the Prisoner ever since it came out when I was a boy. Here was a show that was different, it gave you things to think about and didn’t spoon feed you, while still being very entertaining. I’ve also been intrigued by the architecture of the Village, and have long thought it would be fun to visit. I even named my cat, Meiriona after the Village. I’ve watched some videos about Portmeirion, and it looks like it’s very hilly with a lot of stairs along the paths. I now use a Rollator (a walker with wheels) to get around. How practical would it be for someone with somewhat limited mobility to visit Portmeirion? Looking forward to reading more about your visit.


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