It’s easy to imagine life in Port Isaac as it was 700 years ago. Sleepy, charming, picturesque. Whitewashed 18th-century cottages, narrow-winding streets and cobbled alleys lead you down to the harbour where you can watch fisherman land their catch.
While Port Isaac is arguably one of Cornwall’s most famous fishing villages, it still retains its traditional charm and a vibrant local community.
It’s also a film and music star in its own right, so don’t be surprised to stumble across film crews and singing performances as you stroll around. Port Isaac (Portwenn as it’s fictionally known) is the real life set for TV series Doc Martin starring Martin Clunes. The famous sea shanty singers the Fisherman’s Friends also call Port Isaac home.
Seafood lovers may already know that Britain’s only two-Michelin-starred fish restaurant has also made it’s home here amongst local galleries, arts and craft shops.
The neighbouring beaches at Port Gaverne, two miles along the coast, and Port Quin a little further along offer a quieter alternative, with the fun of Polzeath, Rock and Padstow a short drive away.
Nathan Outlaw is to Port Isaac as Rick Stein is to Padstow. Two-Michelin-starred Restaurant Nathan Outlaw overlooks the harbour, as does his Michelin-starred Outlaw’s Fish Kitchen – think tapas-style plates in a bistro setting.
Food rules at the more casual eateries too. We love the character and charm of the 18th-century Golden Lion pub, or for light bites, coffees and Cornish cream teas head to the Chapel Café or the Edge Restaurant for views overlooking Port Isaac Bay and Port Gaverne.
Dogs are welcome in Port Isaac where you’ll find a small beach at low tide. It’s neighbouring beach Port Gaverne, accessed via the dog-friendly coastal path, offers a larger stretch of sand to play on.
Port Isaac’s narrow, windy streets are beautiful but make vehicle access tricky, particular in the summer. The two car parks at the top of the village are the best option from which to wonder by foot down to the harbour.