13th November 2023
We embarked on another winter adventure, returning to the charming Portmeirion Hotel. The food is delicious, the scenery stunning, and there’s always something new to discover. While I dream of seeing the gardens in bloom or catching a ride on the mountain railway, a winter visit offers its own unique charm.
Our journey began with a quick lunch and “splash and dash” charge (electric vehicle top-up) at Tesco in Welshpool. Next stop: Porthmadog, where we parked at Tesco again for a slower, cheaper than the hotel charge. We explored the town, browsed charity shops, and enjoyed tea and cake at the Portmeirion Kitchen Shop. A visit to the Purple Moose Brewery is definitely on the list for next time!
Reaching the hotel, we checked in at Castell Deudraeth and drove to the residents’ parking. I wanted a full charge for a later outing, which slightly delayed the porter (who doesn’t love an extra task?). To my surprise, I ended up helping other residents who weren’t as prepared with charging apps as I was!
Our room, Neptune 1, felt familiar and comforting – a first for us to stay in the same room twice. That evening, we savoured a fantastic meal at the Portmeirion Hotel.
The next day, we spent the morning wandering the extensive gardens and woods – a full day adventure if you wish. In the evening, we opted for dinner at Castell Deudraeth. A buggy ride sounded tempting, but we chose to walk along the lit pathways. The roaring fire in the foyer and another excellent meal warmed us from the inside out. As we strolled back to our room under a star-studded sky, the silence and peacefulness were blissful. Who says it always rains in Wales? Despite the gloomy forecast, we were blessed with sunshine and barely a drop of rain.
Exploring the surrounding area was our plan for the third day. Blaenau Ffestiniog and Cwmorthin Waterfall were first on the list. But upon arrival, a sea of school buses and excited children convinced us to find a quieter spot. Undeterred, we attempted another waterfall, only to encounter even narrower roads. Zip World and the slate mines, promised as being open on their website, remained frustratingly closed with only a handwritten note on the actual door (several hundred yards from the entrance). Pah!
Seeking sustenance and local charm, we found ourselves at the Lakeside Cafe, bustling with friendly locals and a few tourists. Their delicious soup and bread hit the spot. Apparently, a walk to the waterfalls is possible from here, though parking for the waterfalls was forbidden.
Our afternoon drive was a scenic treat, taking us through Betws-y-Coed (outdoor gear galore!), Capel Curig, Beddgelert, Porthmadog, and back to Portmeirion. The sun peeking through the clouds cast a magical light on the extremely cold landscape.
Back at the hotel, we enjoyed a final delicious meal before charging the car for the journey home. The drive was uneventful, except for a free charge at a Starbucks in West Bromwich! My card wouldn’t work, and a kind man rescued me from my embarrassment. It turned out he was from IONITY and was maintaining the chargers.
Our winter escape to Portmeirion was a delightful mix of familiar comfort, unexpected challenges, and stunning scenery. It’s a reminder that even the “off-season” holds its own unique beauty and adventures. Until next time, Portmeirion!