A land of great legends, formidable castles and majestic mountains - Wales would be an excellent location for Upland. There are many interesting and beautiful towns that I could have nominated, but I ultimately decided upon Portmeirion - An Italian designed sea-side village made to imitate the beautiful towns of the Mediterranean.
A Short History:
The land was bought by a Welsh architect named Clough Williams-Ellis in 1925 with the intention of designing a project to showcase and enhance the natural beauty of the land. Williams-Ellis was inspired by the sea-side towns of Italy and thus decided upon this location to design his masterpiece. The location itself is draped in history - originally named Aber Iâ, it is a site of a castle that was built in the early 12th century named Castell Deudraeth which was often visited by the great kings of the time.
Clough changed the name to Portmeirion when he bought the land and decided to re-design the town. Building of the town started in 1925 and continued until 1976. Also, as an interesting bit of trivia - espionage show 'The Prisoner' was filmed in Portmeirion in the late 60's - a show that has developed a cult following over the years.
Evidently Portmeirion will not provide towering skyscrapers and ambitious modern architecture, but it is a very interesting little town with beautiful views, nearby castles and a compelling history.
Architecture of Potential Properties
When looking at buildings, I think it's fair to say that castles rank pretty highly on the style list.
Castell Deudreath is just outside of the town and is a beautiful building that could go for some UPX in Upland. Also just outside the town there is another historical and majestic castle by the name of Harlech castle which was built by Edward the first in the 13th century. This is the location of the famous siege of Harlech - which was the longest siege in the history of the British Isles, lasting 7 years and was a result of the War of the Roses. This event was memorialized in the famous song 'Men of Harlech' which is famously sung in during the last stand in the movie 'Zulu'. It is a UNESCO world heritage site - therefore is recognized world over as a historically significant site.
Alongside these magnificent castles, there are many buildings and gardens inside the town that could serve as properties to buy:
Therefore it is a beautiful town full of diverse buildings, gardens and castles that complement the sea-side views. Snowdonia national park is also on it's doorstep which is one of the most beautiful mountain ranges in the world. If you enjoy nice cafe's, long hikes and sea-side views with a range of charming architecture - it's a fantastic little slice of Wales.
One of the best events that happens once a year is the well-renowned Festival no.6 - one of the most unique and fun music festivals in the entire UK scene. The name derives from the show that I mentioned earlier - 'The Prisoner' - as the secret agent was simply named as 'Number Six'. It's hosted by the village and surrounding area - encompassing the forest around it. It takes you into another world of mystery and beauty. Activities include paddle boarding, wood-fired hot tub sessions, torchlit processions and a lot of very surreal and almost pagan inspired rituals and costumes.
There are many stages and tents that have a variety of performances - you'll be wandering through the village and forests and will stumble upon musical performances, stand up comedy and even some lectures. Howards Mark - a former international drug smuggler and somewhat cultural icon was there a few years ago reciting his stories on the stage and even passing around joints among the crowd. Music performers that include The Manic Street Preachers, Grace Jones, Bastille and many others have played there including a range of Welsh musicians and orchestras.
A unique Italian inspired sea-side town in the heart of the Snowdonia mountains, Portmeirion is a small gem to be found in the United Kingdom. It has a range of buildings, restaurants and cafe's that could be an interesting addition to Upland. Views, history, food, uniqueness - what more could you want from a small town.
And who doesn't want to own a castle or two?
I hope you guys enjoyed reading my entry into the Upland contest. It's not as big or as ambitious as some other locations/entries but I feel it's an interesting little slice of Wales. Thank you for reading!