Clare05 July 2019
Captured like a snapshot in time, Port Isaac is a charming little fishing village, set amidst the rugged north coast of Cornwall. Visitors to Port Isaac are enchanted by the narrow winding streets that lead you on a historical journey, past white-washed cottages down to the atmospheric Port Isaac harbour front. Welcoming bars and restaurants sit within centuries-old buildings, where the echoes of traditional village life resonate with warmth and character. Fans of long-running TV series, Doc Martin, will recognise Port Isaac as the setting for the fictional village of Portwenn, and a quick visit to the front of Doc Martin's house is very much on the list of things to do in Port Isaac.
Make the most of your time in this unique corner of Cornwall and discover some of the very best places to visit and things to do in Port Isaac with our local’s guide
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The fishing village of Port Isaac huddles around a scenic harbour which features a pier built in the time of Henry VII. The buildings here exude character, steeped in history which extends back to the 14th century.
Within Port Isaac are numerous endearing features, from the charmingly named ‘squeezy belly alley’, one of the narrowest passageways in Britain, to Doc Martin’s house, Fern Cottage on Roscarrock Hill.
The village took shape before the dawn of the motor vehicle, which makes navigating the narrow lanes by car tricky at best. We advise you to leave your vehicle at the top in St Endellion car park, and take a leisurely meander down.
Although small in size, there's still plenty of things to do in Port Isaac. You could spend hours here simply winding your way through the narrow streets and absorbing the welcoming atmosphere which only a Cornish fishing village can offer. Pause a while on the harbourside to watch the activities of the fishermen landing their daily catch, and pop in and out of the galleries and charming shops which line the streets. Port Isaac Pottery is a creative haven within the old Roscarrock Methodist Chapel and features a range of handmade pottery, gifts and photography, as well as a charming café.
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View from the top of the Methodist Chapel, Port Isaac, now a family-run exceptional cafe as well as rehearsal space for the successful Cornish folk singers "Fishermen's Friends." #fishermensfriends #portisaac #cornwall #methodistchapel #harbour #cornishmusicians #fishermen #cafe #visitcornwall #lovecornwall #stainedglass #chapel #portisaacpottery
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More gifts can be found in the Old Boathouse Stores, as well as groceries, newspapers, magazines and fishing tackle. At the top of the village is the Peapod, selling a range of ladies’ fashion and a selection of homeware. Several other shops are dotted throughout Port Isaac; the best way to see them is just to set off on foot and see where the streets take you!
Port Isaac itself is primarily a harbour, with a small shingle beach suitable for a stroll or a picnic in summer. For the best local beach in terms of surf, head 4 miles down the road to Polzeath where an expanse of golden sand is revealed as the tide retreats. The waves here are slow and consistent, a playground for beginners through to more experienced surfers.
Martin Clunes, who plays Doc Martin, is quoted by the Independent to have named Tregardock as his favourite beach in the area. Reached via a long footpath and with a bit of a scramble down to the beach, it isn’t the easiest spot to access, but once there you’ll be rewarded by a secluded cove which grows as the tide goes out to become a sandy stretch. Backing the beach are dramatic cliffs, peppered with cafes and a waterfall at the end of the beach. Be wary of the tide though, so as not to get cut off.
If it’s sun, sea and sand you’re after, Daymer Bay serves up plentiful quantities of each (weather permitting!) The dog-friendly beach is large and beautiful, lying along the mouth of the Camel Estuary which makes it sheltered and relatively shallow. Perfect for families, it is also a lovely rest point whilst walking along the South West Coast Path.
Port Isaac sits within an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, meaning that the stretch of the South West Coast Path which extends in both directions offers some truly breathtaking walks, and is one of those things to do in Port Isaac that you have to experience. Just around the corner from Port Isaac within half a mile walk is the gorgeous cove of Port Gaverne, which harbours a wonderfully sheltered sandy beach where rockpools provide hours of entertainment for little ones. Energise yourselves for the stroll back to Port Isaac with a tasty meal in the 17th century inn.
To the West of Port Isaac lies Port Quin which you can reach via a 3.5-mile meandering walk along the coast path, taking in beautiful views over the rugged coastline. Towards Port Quin, you’ll encounter Doyden Castle, which once featured in Poldark.
Among the best things to do in Port Isaac, is the chance to explore the coast from a different perspective by book onto a sightseeing or fishing trip to the harbour at Port Isaac. Wavehunters, which have a branch in Port Isaac, offers an array of experiences, from dolphin and seabird watching to powerboat trips. Other water sports experiences include sedate kayaking trips, coasteering and guided swims.
St. Endellion, 2 miles inland, is home to Long Cross Victorian Gardens, a beautiful spot which encompasses a maze, play area, dovecote and Impressive blooms throughout the year. The small village has also become well-known for its bi-annual music festival which has been hosted here since 1959.
View this post on Instagram(Video) PORT ISAAC | Exploring Port Isaac, Cornwall, home to Doc Marten and Fisherman's Friends
If you’re lucky enough to witness the ‘Fishermen’s Friends’ in action during your visit, you’re in for a treat. Established in 1995, the group of sea-shanty singers is made up of men of the sea and has even performed at Glastonbury Festival. Having achieved a UK top 10 album, they now tour the country with their hearty sound, and during the summer you may catch their mellow tones drifting up from the beach in their hometown of Port Isaac.
It may be small, but in Port Isaac, you’ll never find yourself hungry. Around every corner, there’s a homely café or local pub: a charming selection which you can work your way through during your stay. You may find tea and cake, fish and chips and or a fine-dining restaurant experience pretty high on your list of things to do in Port Isaac.
For a sweet treat, head for Buttermilk Artisan Confectionery on Church Hill where your senses will be dazzled by the choice of delicious buttermilk-based fudge.
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For lunch or a coffee stop, pop into Cornish Cove Café at the top of the high street. Homemade food prepared with locally sourced ingredients and served with a smile – the mouth-watering cakes are literally irresistible!
Hidden away in Port Isaac’s oldest building is Outlaw’s Fish Kitchen, where fresh seafood is served up in an array of delectable dishes to enjoy whilst appreciating the harbour views.
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For a hearty pub meal, you’d be hard pushed to find a better option than The Golden Lion. With a roaring fire to warm the cockles on cold days, you can choose from a variety of dishes including seafood and steaks. A quirky feature of this unique pub is the old smuggling tunnel which leads down onto the beach.
Port Gaverne Restaurant is an AA 5 star, 2 Rosette rated establishment located just 10 minutes away from Port Isaac. Here, the team of incredibly talented chefs turn simple seasonal food into award-winning meals. Definitely worth a visit.
4 miles inland, St Kew Inn is a top choice for Sunday lunch. A lovely family pub, it has a large garden next to the church which is perfect for al fresco dining.
A fishing village since the early 14th century, Port Isaac has always been intrinsically linked to the sea, and fishing still plays a huge part in the lives of the locals. The name Port Isaac is derived from ‘Porthysek’ in Cornish, which means ‘corn port’, reflecting its historic industry. Most of the present-day village dates back to the 18th and 19th centuries and many of the buildings are now listed and protected.
The port would have once dealt with cargo ranging from coal and wood to stone, pottery and salt, as well as the vitally important seafood brought in by hard-working fisherman from the local waters.
Port Isaac is equidistant between the towns of Camelford and Wadebridge, both of which boast all the amenities you’ll need during your holiday. The market town of Wadebridge is bursting with independent shops and boutiques and is a convenient spot to join the famous Camel Trail. Leading all the way to Wenford Bridge in one direction and Padstow in the other, the multi-use path can be enjoyed by walkers, runners, horse riders and cyclists. If you haven’t got a bike with you, you can find various hire shops in Wadebridge.
Camelford is an ancient town which is often dubbed the gateway to Bodmin Moor, a wild expanse of romantic moorland which invites you to pull on your walking boots to discover scenic delights such as the endearingly named ‘Brown Willy’ (no sniggering please!) and a plethora of Bronze Age Hut circles, ancient churches and enchanting rock formations.
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Siblyback Lake (26.5 miles from Port Isaac), on Bodmin Moor, is a veritable haven for water sports enthusiasts, boasting an array of activities, including fishing for Rainbow Trout. If you prefer to stick to dry land, the miles of paths surrounding the lake provide an alternative to the coast path, and a children’s play area and café provide the perfect spot to stop and recharge your batteries while keeping the younger members of your family happy! Nearby Dozmary Pool is sure to enchant those interested in myths and legends, as it is believed to be the place where King Arthur’s sword, Excalibur still lies.
Back on the coast again, Tintagel is well worth the 8.5-mile drive. Its awe-inspiring castle perched on the headland is reason enough, but it is also steeped in legend originating from the fact it’s thought to be the birthplace of St. Arthur. There is a selection of good eateries here: atmospheric places to ponder the myths surrounding the area. Take time to explore Tintagel Old Post Office, a 14th-century yeoman’s farmhouse with a collection of Victorian postal memorabilia.
A lovely day trip from Port Isaac takes in the up-market village of Rock (6.5 miles), next to which lies the magnificent Daymer Bay. You’ll be spoilt for choice by the eateries on offer, but if you can tear yourself away from the allure of the little shops and delis, yet more await a ferry ride across the water in Padstow. Stroll around the harbour, picking out your favourite artworks in the many galleries and treating yourself to mouth-watering delights which range from freshly cooked pasties to seafood landed the very same day. Spend an educational hour or so in the small yet informative Lobster Hatchery, close to which you’ll find Rick Stein’s fish and chip shop – foodie paradise!
Stay in Pibbies
Stay at Pibbies, a lovely family holiday home in the heart of Port Isaac. Tasteful interiors and spacious rooms characterise this one-of-a-kind Cornish hideaway. The property is situated within yards of the harbour and all the best restaurants in the village. A perfect home-from-home, you feel relaxed as soon as you arrive in this superb prospect. Find out more...
Port Isaac is the perfect setting for a relaxing holiday on the North Cornwall coast and Stay In Cornwall have a wonderful collection of accommodation to suit all needs, from large family houses to dog-friendly properties. Take a look at our Port Isaac accommodation to find your perfect home-away-from-home.
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Disclaimer: Whilst every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of the information at the time of writing,please ensure you check carefully before making any decisions based on the contents within this article.
Port Isaac is absolutely worth visiting, especially if you're a fan of Doc Martin. There are lots of filming locations in the village, along with charming Cornish scenes. Plus, this area of the North Cornish coastline is particularly spectacular – hike westwards for immense views of the village.What is Port Isaac famous for? ›
Port Isaac has become a popular location for both films and television series. The village is possibly best known as the fictional Portwenn from the ITV television series Doc Martin, starring Martin Clunes.What to do in Port Isaac in the rain? ›
- Twycross Zoo.
- Immersive Gamebox London.
- Bewilderwood Cheshire.
- Odds Farm Park.
- Hobbledown Heath.
- Ballie Ballerson.
- West Midlands Safari Park.
- The Postal Museum.
Quaint little granite cottages, narrow winding streets and a beautiful harbour can be seen throughout the TV series Doc Martin. Named 'Portwenn' in the series, the actual location is Port Isaac on Cornwall's stunning north coast and yes, it is really like that!Can you walk around Port Isaac? ›
Port Isaac Circular Walk – A short, three-mile walk from Port Isaac's cliff top car park into Port Gaverne will lead you through a valley and farmland up to the hilltop for fabulous views before taking you across Roscarrock Hill and on the coast path to Port Isaac via Lobber Point.What is being filmed at Port Isaac? ›
The fictional village in Doc Martin is actually filmed in the historic fishing village of Port Isaac, which can be found on the north Cornwall coast.What movies have been filmed in Port Isaac? ›
- Doc Martin (2004–2022) ...
- Fisherman's Friends (2019) ...
- Fisherman's Friends: One and All (2022) ...
- Saving Grace (2000) ...
- Poldark (1975–1977) ...
- Oscar and Lucinda (1997) ...
- Swept from the Sea (1997) ...
- The Nightmare Man (1981)
Nestled between Rock and Polzeath you'll find the gorgeous golden sands of Daymer Bay, whose wide, shallow beach presents a particularly beautiful spot for swimming.What is the best time to visit Port Isaac? ›
The best time to visit Port Isaac is May-June
While Port Isaac is a popular destination to visit all year round, May-June is the ideal time to go due to a number of factors such as the climate, cost of travel and accommodation, as well as avoiding peak holiday periods.
With our vast indoor Biomes and huge Outdoor Gardens, Eden is a great place to visit whatever the weather.
- Have a spa day.
- Explore top attractions in the area. Even if a locale is known for its stretches of sand, it likely has a few top attractions that can be enjoyed indoors. ...
- Catch a movie. ...
- Take a self-guided food tour. ...
- Bust out the games. ...
- Keep cozy in bed. ...
- Embrace the rain.
- Read a Book.
- Binge Your Favorite Shows.
- Play Games.
- Do a Workout.
- Meal Prep.
- Tackle Home Projects.
- Do a Puzzle.
- Take a Nap.
Bert Large's restaurant is best viewed from Fore Street looking across the harbour to Roscarrock Hill. It's the private house just below Doc Martin's surgery (Fern Cottage).Who owns Doc Martin's house in Port Isaac? ›
The White House in the village of Port Isaac, where the popular ITV drama is filmed, is owned by retired GP Anthony Hambly who has even provided expert advice for the comedy actor before. It has been in his family for more than 400 years and he inherited it at birth.Where is Aunt Ruth's farm on Doc Martin? ›
Aunt Ruth, played by Dame Eileen Atkins, is Martin Clunes' on-screen aunt, as avid viewers will know. The location of the house is in the beautiful Port Isaac, which stands in for the fictional village of Portwenn in the show.Can you drive through Port Isaac? ›
Drive into Port Isaac using the top road,and you come to a car park named " MAIN CAR PARK for Port Isaac". Now this is ONLY a name for the car park, and its a parking area owned by Port Isaac town council parking for an hour is £3 and it is the car park that they would like the disabled to use.How far is the coastal walk from Port Isaac to Port Quin? ›
Get to know this 5.8-km point-to-point trail near Port Isaac, Cornwall. Generally considered a moderately challenging route, it takes an average of 1 h 44 min to complete.Where do you park when visiting Port Isaac? ›
- New Road, Port Isaac, PL29 3SB.
- Polzeath Beach, PL27 6SS.
- New Polzeath, PL27 6UF.
- Goldsworthy Way, Wadebridge, PL27 7DS.
- Piggy Lane, Wadebridge, PL27 7AP.
Residents of a tiny fishing village on Cornwall's north coast are "celebrating" the end of the Doc Martin series, after ITV announced the new season would be the last ever. The hit drama series has been filmed in Port Isaac, which doubles as the fictional seaside village of Portwenn, for the last 18 years.Is Fisherman's Friend filmed in the same place as Doc Martin? ›
When it comes to filming locations, Port Isaac is most famous for its 'Doc Martin' TV series scenes around the quaint fishing village. But in 2019, the film 'Fisherman's Friends' became a big hit on the big screen and this too is set in Port Isaac.
Season 10 ended on a high with nearly six million viewers tuning in to find out whether Martin would accept a prestigious post in London, or stay in Portwenn. A near fatal accident prompted him to reconsider his priorities and he decided that his wife and family must come first – so they stayed in Portwenn.Which beach is used in Doc Martin? ›
If you're a fan of the TV show Doc Martin, this fully guided walking tour will take you around the fictional Cornish seaside village of Portwenn. In reality, Doc Martin is filmed on location in Port Isaac, a small and picturesque fishing village on the Atlantic coast of north Cornwall.Can you visit where Doc Martin is filmed? ›
Go behind-the-scenes of British TV drama Doc Martin on a 90-minute walking tour of Port Isaac in Cornwall. Spot memorable filming locations like the Doc's house, Louisa's school and Mrs. Tishell's pharmacy as you stroll around Port Isaac, seen on-screen as the fictional Portwenn.Where is the castle in Doc Martin Ever After? ›
Known as Pentire Castle in Doc Martin, the romantic and rural Doyden Castle is found in Port Quin, a deserted natural harbour near Rock and a couple of miles south of Port Isaac, and it features heavily in the dramatic finale of series five.Can you crab at Port Isaac? ›
Port Isaac beach is perfect for crabbing and rock pooling when the tide is out. Skim stones, jump over the waves and scour the beach for treasure whatever the weather.Can I park on beach at Port Isaac? ›
Parking. The town's main car park is some distance from the harbour and beach, situated up the hill on the edge of the village around 10 minutes walk away. There are parking spaces on the beach itself. However, it is advisable to park above the high water mark or to keep a very close eye on the tide!Can you swim in the River Camel? ›
Open to both experienced and novice sea swimmers, give it a go if you fancy swimming in the Camel River. Find out more here.Is Camelford worth a visit? ›
Located in Cornwall, United Kingdom, Camelford is home to an impressive selection of attractions and experiences, making it well worth a visit. Located in Cornwall, United Kingdom, Camelford is home to an impressive selection of attractions and experiences, making it well worth a visit.Is Port Isaac very hilly? ›
Visit because... Port Isaac is just stunning. Because it's hilly and stacked up, you're never looking at the same thing for any two paces, it changes the whole time.Where was Fishermans Friend filmed? ›
The sleepy fishing village of Port Isaac is where the Fisherman's Friends call home and it is also the main filming location. It's narrow winding streets are lined with old white-washed cottages which slope down to the famous harbour, known to locals as " The Platt".
A day at Eden is a real adventure. The indoor Biomes and the gardens outside cover roughly 30 acres and take about four hours to explore.Should I wear shorts to the Eden Project? ›
Was not prepared for just how hot it would be in the domes, jeans and walking boots not ideal. However we spent a lovely couple of hours there.Do you need a full day for the Eden Project? ›
Because Eden's plants and exhibits change throughout the seasons and year on year, you could spend a good three to four hours visiting, even if you've been before. Your ticket is valid from your reserved entry slot right up until closing time, so you can stop for as many cups of tea as you'd like.How do you spend a full day at the beach? ›
- Read a book. marinabeachmotel. ...
- Kayaking on the water. If you're looking for something a little more active, getting out on the water is a great pastime. ...
- Go swimming. It might seem obvious, but it's still worth mentioning! ...
- Play frisbee. ...
- Cloud gazing. ...
- Stay close to the beach.
- Build a Sandcastle. ...
- Bury Someone in the Sand. ...
- Camp on the Beach. ...
- Celebrate a Special Occasion. ...
- Collect Seashells or Rocks. ...
- Collect Driftwood. ...
- Daydream. ...
- Indulge in Fruity Drinks.
Onlookers spotted the cast and crew filming the final scene in Treyarnon Bay on Wednesday and Thursday this week. They said Doc Martin was called to a cliff edge to help save a woman who has fallen into the sea. The videos show the cast and crew completing a scene in the water around a group of rocks.What was Dean Martin's favorite restaurant? ›
Da Vinci is best known as Dean Martin's favorite joint, and, sure enough, the Dean Martin Booth is adjacent to the small bar.What hotels are used in Doc Martin? ›
The Old School Hotel is situated in the beautiful village of Port Isaac in Cornwall. The village has been the setting for a number of films and television programmes. Currently the hotel is used as the school in ITV's Doc Martin, with Martin Clunes.Why was Joan written off Doc Martin? ›
But why is Auntie Joan departing? Actress Stephanie Cole says it's because she doesn't want to stay in one place for too long: "With TV, after four series I always say, 'Thank you, that's the end of it!Is Martin Clunes daughter in Doc Martin? ›
Ruth Ellingham (Eileen Atkins) is even more perturbed when Martin, worried about her health, offers to perform a mini mental state examination, which confirms Ruth is showing early signs of dementia.Is Doc Martin Autistic? ›
Despite the show's refusal to 'diagnose' the character officially, Doc Martin's eponymous Dr Martin Ellingham is generally read by audiences as being on the spectrum.Does Ruth in Doc Martin have dementia? ›
Ruth is concerned about becoming increasingly forgetful, and is even more perturbed when Martin offers to perform a mini mental state examination. It confirms she is showing early signs of dementia.How many days do you need in port? ›
A rough simple guide: Any Port with a normal full length cork (one where you need a corkscrew to extract) should (when open & stored in a cool place) be consumed within a two-three days to enjoy it at its finest.Can you swim at Port Isaac beach? ›
Nestled between Rock and Polzeath you'll find the gorgeous golden sands of Daymer Bay, whose wide, shallow beach presents a particularly beautiful spot for swimming.Can you get off a cruise ship without an excursion? ›
Do you have to buy shore excursions on a cruise? In most cases, you don't need to book a shore excursion in order to explore a port of call. You can simply walk off the ship and stroll into town or catch a cab to take you wherever you want to go.Do you have to get off cruise ship at port? ›
Can I stay onboard the ship while in port? Absolutely! Whatever the reason, you're in no way obligated to disembark a cruise ship while visiting a port of call. Mosts guests choose to get off in most cases, but they may do so at different times, for different amounts of time, and some won't get off at all.What time should you be at the port for a cruise? ›
Generally speaking, the busiest time for boarding is between noon (when most cruise lines' regular check-in begins) and 2 p.m., so we recommend arriving just before or after that window.How much is car park in Port Isaac? ›
1 April - 31 October. Weekly - £37.80 (for cars only) can only be purchased via the pay by phone system, not at the pay and display. This ticket does not guarantee you a space. It isn't a rover ticket and can only be used in this car park.Is there a shuttle bus in Port Isaac? ›
9.30-10.00am - stroll down through the narrow streets
Alternatively, the Port Isaac Shuttle Service is also available on 07866 223786.
New Road Car Park, PL29 3SB
Otherwise, it costs 90p to park here for an hour or £5.50 for the entire day. Parking from 6 pm to 9 am is also free. If you're visiting from November to March, Port Isaac parking for up to two hours is only £1.30 or £3 for the entire day.
Although Port Isaac has only a shingle beach, there are other attractive sandy beaches within a short distance. Four miles away is Polzeath, the area's best surfing beach, and around the same distance away is Daymer Bay, a beach welcoming both families and pets.