Destination: Port Isaac - A striking fishing village with traditional granite and slatefronted houses located on Cornwall’s rugged north coast
27 June 2018
As you walk through the winding streets of Port Isaac you can see the history of this former trading port set in the cottages’ stonework. The houses stand strong, looking out to sea like the Cornishmen who built them. From the Middle Ages until the 19th Century, Port Isaac was a busy port handling coal, timber, pottery and Delabole slate from the nearby Delabole slate quarry. The traditional granite and slate-fronted Cornish houses now hold significant architectural and historical importance, reflecting Port Isaac’s intriguing history. After the introduction of the railway (which took over the transportation of these goods), Port Isaac increasingly became a fishing port and is still used by local fishermen today.
The magnificence of Cornwall’s north coast is captured in Port Isaac with deep blue waters that dance in the summer sun set against the backdrop of rolling green hills. A stream runs through the village and makes its way to the sea over the harbour wall, from which the horizon stretches out to the cold waters of the Atlantic Ocean. Its picturesque location has lead to Port Isaac starring in numerous films and television series, most notably as the home for popular TV series Doc Martin, as the fictionalised Portwenn. The acclaimed male singing group, the Fisherman’s Friends was also founded here, singing traditional sea shanties, many inspired by Cornwall. Fishing and scenic trips can be taken from the harbour in the summer months, allowing you to be inspired by the same breath-taking views of Port Isaac and the surrounding coastline. Port Isaac is a foodies’ paradise, with a range of excellent restaurants, pubs, cafés and tearooms to choose from, including the Michelinstarred Nathan Outlaw (pictured below).
Neighbouring Port Gaverne is just a short stroll to the east of Port Isaac, featuring a beautiful, unspoilt cove that shelters a sandy beach dotted with rock pools each with its own rich ecosystem to admire. This 19th Century hamlet also handled Delabole slate. The 17th Century Port Gaverne Inn looks out over the cove offering beautiful views out to sea. The Inn provides delicious cuisine in the restaurant, and the new Pilchards café from which you can watch the tide creep up the beach. Head Chef James Lean says: “our cooking at Port Gaverne is an expression of the season. The riches to be found in the local area provide us with ingredients of the utmost quality.” With mouth-watering food and gorgeous views, Port Gaverne Inn is an ideal spot to relax on a warm summer’s day.
The attractive fishing village of Port Quin lies six miles west of Port Isaac along the South West Coast Path and on the other side of the headland to Port Quin, you’ll find Polzeath beach. The wonderful Surfside Café at Polzeath provides local seafood and Tarquin’s Gin crafted in a small distillery nearby. It’s the perfect spot to sit and watch the surf as you sip on a deliciously cold glass of artisan gin, and tuck into their freshly caught crab and lobster dishes. Rock is just around the corner and boasts beautiful sandy beaches such as Daymer Bay that look out onto the Camel estuary. The quirky St Enodoc Church, whose distinctive crooked steeple was built in the 13th Century, is best known through its association with the former poet laureate John Betjeman. Betjeman is buried at St Enodoc Church alongside some of the sailors and fishermen who’ve lost their lives at the hands of the infamous Doom Bar, located at the entrance of the estuary.
From Rock it’s possible to get a ferry over to Padstow, a charming working fishing port and foodie destination with popular eateries such as Rick Stein’s Seafood Restaurant. Padstow is also the start and end point for the Camel Cycle Trail, following the disused railway line once used by the London and South West Railway, it winds its way through the beautiful woods of the Camel Valley and on to Bodmin. CREDIT: Visit Cornwall, Adam Gibbard
This stretch of north Cornwall is famous for the outstanding beauty of its rugged coastline and many wonders along the way. To explore this coast is to explore the story of Cornwall’s past from the Dark Ages to the present day. It’s a magnificent story to behold and one that will leave its mark like the powerful stormy seas on the rugged Cornish cliffs.WHERE TO EAT?
Restaurant Nathan Outlaw offers an elite seafood tasting menu in Port Isaac located in a boutique hotel. Or, if you want something a little less formal, Outlaw’s Fish Kitchen is located in a 15th Century fisherman’s cottage and serves an array of fresh, locally caught fish.WHAT TO DO?
Walk the incredibly beautiful South West Coast Path, visit the mysterious ruins of Tintagel Castle and relax on Rocks sandy beaches. If you enjoy golf, St Enodoc has a brilliant golf course close to the Camel Estuary.FERRIES
Rock water taxi: 07778 105297
Rock Ferry: 6LD, SWCP, Wadebridge PL27
To book your next Cornish break please visit our rentals page.
Port Isaac Main Image: Visit Cornwall, Adam Gibbard