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Puzzling Portmeirion:
An Unconventional Guide to a Curious Destination

Portmeirion village is a whimsical seaside tourist destination on the west coast of Wales, attracting 250,000 visitors annually.  A retirement project by an eccentric British architect named Sir Clough Williams-Ellis, this “home for fallen buildings” is a fascinating architectural garden for day visitors and an elaborate resort for overnight guests.  Portmeirion is famous as the shooting location for the 1960s cult television series “The Prisoner,” starring Patrick McGoohan.  Portmeirion is also internationally known for the line of botanical-themed pottery it produces.

Puzzling Portmeirion is an involving, insightful guidebook that explores Sir Clough’s trailblazing experiments in virtual reality, his subtle but powerful time-warping and space-folding tricks, the little-known myths and legends echoing down every footpath, and the myriad restless spirits at play.  Eccentric globe-trotters will have their eyes opened, curiosities piqued, intellects tickled, feet motivated, and pens recording the most fascinating entries in their travel diaries, bar none.

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Chapter 1 » “In Search of a Gold Leaf Shadow”


Puzzling Portmeirion has detected a labyrinth of wonder and discovery that exists within the village’s many layers.”  —Simon Wells, Kindred Spirit Magazine

“Craig’s whimsical descriptions bring a fairy tale essence to the Village and the quirkiness of Sir Clough Williams-Ellis” creation is given new life. . . . Craig regards Portmeirion as a work of genius, with its own soul and eerie hidden forces.  Certainly, the magical essence of the resort is caught perfectly in this bold little book, its author not afraid to give an entirely new and unashamedly idiosyncratic view of the place.”  —Roger Langley, Free For All Magazine, Six of One: The Prisoner Appreciation Society

“Prisoner fans are frequently accused of ‘reading too much into’ the little details and nuances of our favourite series.  Here at last is a book that does the same for the programme’s location.  By turns weird, wonderful, and then even weirder, Puzzling Portmeirion is a strange, but oddly satisfying, companion to the more esoteric aspects of the village (few, if any, of which can have been Clough’s original intention).  The analysis of the spatial trickery and trompe l’oeil effects is quite well addressed, ‘treasure hunts’ based on various details are included, and the whole book has a rather childlike innocence—reading it reminded me rather of how I felt (or at least what I can remember feeling) when I first saw Portmeirion at the age of nine.  The book also wanders off down some very odd mythical and mystical paths which I found less convincing (do fairies really live on toasted cheese in the Portmeirion woodlands?  Craig Conley seems pretty sure they do), but one can view Puzzling Portmeirion as an off the wall, artistic response to an off the wall, artistic place, with something, at least, of interest for almost any reader.  Potential purchasers with more esoteric interests than mine will also be interested, and very probably charmed, by the two sets of tarot cards using Portmeirion landmarks and details, which are also available.”  —Gareth Hughes, The Unmutual Prison Fanclub

Copyright © 2020 Craig Conley