Close your eyes and imagine a quintessential Cornish fishing village and something like Mousehole in West Cornwall will come to mind. Retaining much of its original character and charm, its narrow roads, lichen-covered fisherman’s cottages and small stone harbour are stuffed with centuries of history and cultural heritage as much as bistros, cafes and galleries.
It’s easy to slip into village life here, which inevitably revolves around the harbour and its two tiny sand beaches. Start your day with morning strolls along the wall with glorious views out to sea, splash around rockpooling and crabbing with the family, tuck into fish and chips dangling your feet over the water’s edge, or pick some up fresh and bake your own stargazy pie. Well, when in Mousehole!
Mousehole is also a great base to explore South West Cornwall which has plenty to see and do. Penzance’s promenade, lido and shops are a short drive away. At low-tide head to Marazion and walk the causeway across to St Michael’s Mount, pack a picnic blanket for the iconic Minack Theatre, or spend the whole day on one of many nearby stunning coves and beaches. If coastal walking is more your thing, you’re in luck – this is one of Cornwall’s most challenging, varied and simply spectacular stretches of coastline.
Don’t miss Mousehole’s famous Christmas lights with stunning illuminations floating in the harbour and lining the streets – best viewed with a hot chocolate or mulled-wine in hand.
With day boats and trawlers landing their catch right outside you’d be right to expect plenty of fish and seafood on the menu here. Locally made sandwiches, pasties or ice cream on the harbour, cream teas in the garden or laid-back fine dining overlooking the sea, you can take your pick in Mousehole. The Old Coastguard and 2 Fore Street are the village’s best. Take in 180-degree seaviews from The Rock Pool café – simply stunning – or stop a while on white iron-wrought seating in the Harbour Coffee and Café’s courtyard. Pack a pasty picnic from Hole Foods Deli. There are plenty of traditional tea rooms to eat Cornish cream teas every day of the week.
Dogs are welcome along the harbour with exception of the outer quays and beaches (Mousehole is still a working, albeit small, fishing port). With glorious sea views, the tarmacked path between Mousehole and Newlyn – and eventually Penzance and Marazion further along – is the perfect stretch for running or walking your dog. Alternatively, head out along adjoining South West Coast Path for 630-miles of spectacular dog-friendly walking.
Although paved, Mousehole’s narrow and sometimes hilly streets wind through the original harbour village and as such there are few pedestrian pavements. There is easy access on to the second (north) beach and steep steps leading onto the first beach (south). There are two pay and display car parks in Mousehole but if visiting for the day it is recommended to park along Cliff Road between Mousehole and Newlyn and enjoy the walk along the coastline. There are two public toilets situated next to the south and north piers.