The historic fishing village of Polperro is situated on the south east coast of Cornwall. It’s one of the most picturesque and charming villages with its own working harbour and narrow winding lanes crammed with white-washed fisherman’s cottages, many only accessed by foot.
Famously quoted as the “Once upon a time fishing village twinned with the 19th century”, Polperro can offer you a much-needed escape from everyday life.
Walking down or catching the tram, passing the bubbling River Pol that flows alongside and under the village, you soon discover that the streets were built way before cars, only wide enough for the fishermen to get their catch home.
Why not discover this beautiful Cornish gem for yourself with ten great reasons to visit this year?
1. Relaxed pace of life
One of the great things about Polperro is that once you enter the village, the rest of the world feels like a million miles away along with the stress and trials of everyday life. Whether it’s gazing at the sea and perhaps catching dolphins playing, watching the fishing boats land their catch or walking around the tiny narrow lanes, there is something so immeasurably calming and relaxing about the pace of life that visitors fall in love with and return year after year. Dogs are as welcome as humans and can go everywhere that owners venture.
2. Stunning walks & scenery
Polperro is situated in an ‘Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty’ and was one of the first Conservation Areas in S.E Cornwall, also lying in an area of Heritage Coast. Polperro is a walker’s paradise with stunning coastal walks and inland footpaths meandering through valleys, forests and alongside estuaries and rivers. To the east of the village along the coastal path is Talland Bay which has its own beach café, rated as one of the top 10 beach cafes in Cornwall, and a licensed restaurant. Further along the coastal path is the seaside town of Looe. To the west of Polperro along the coastal path is Lansallos, Lantic Bay and Polruan, which offers a slightly more challenging walk but with the most stunning and breath-taking of views.
3. An exciting calendar of events
Polperrro boasts an exciting calendar of events from the annual ‘Polperro Arts Festival’ held in June, to the popular fireworks evening (Saturday 3rd November), Christmas market and Lights Switch-On (Saturday 8th December) and the infamous New Year’s Eve fancy dress party. The village pubs and British Legion all hold regular live music and comedy nights throughout the year plus there are arts and crafts exhibitions showcasing local talent. Other highlights include the annual duck-race, Morris dancing and the Fisherman’s Choir singing on the quay.
4. A dark and murky past
Like many Cornish fishing villages, Polperro has a deep and murky past which is both fascinating and intriguing. The fishing village dates back to the 13th century. Fishing has been the main occupation of its inhabitants for centuries and pilchards were caught in abundance in the 19th century and processed and packed in three factories near the harbour. Smuggling was commonplace when Britain was at war in the 18th century and duty was increased considerably. Goods such as tea, gin, brandy and tobacco were often smuggled to Polperro from Guernsey. Zepaniah Job arrived in the village to manage the smuggling trade and became the greatest single benefactor in the village’s long history. Today exploring the caves, on the beach and cliff path, you almost expect to meet Captain Jack Sparrow at every turn!
5. Attractions on your doorstep
This year the Model Village and Model railway re-opened after a fire destroyed the main building. Visitors of all ages will enjoy this popular attraction which features a tiny replica of Polperro. The ‘Heritage Museum of Smuggling and Fishing’ houses a remarkable collection of early photographs, ship models and memorabilia dating back over 200 years giving visitors an insight into the history of the village when smuggling and fishing thrived. The Museum is open daily from Easter to October.
Polperro also has its own beach, caves and rock pools, perfect for keeping children occupied. There are frequent boat trips to Looe and Fowey or for the more adventurous they can even hire their own fishing boat. The harbour, which is one of the most picturesque and photographed views in Polperro, is the oldest part of the village. At the turn of the century it supported a fishing fleet of around 50 boats, now around 7 fishing boats and 5 tripping boats operate and visitors can watch them bring their catches ashore to the Fish Market. The harbour is also home to the historic lifeboat ‘Ryder’ which was used to rescue countless people over 100 years ago.
6. Spoilt for choice for eating out
Visitors are spoilt for choice when eating out in Polperro which has everything from fine dining seven course taster menus and award winning eateries to fish and chips and take-away
pasties. The village boasts a number of traditional pubs selling fresh local seafood and other Cornish fayre plus bistro’s, tea-rooms, café’s, restaurants, a bakery, sweet and fudge shops, sandwich kiosks and ice-cream parlours. A number of local eateries also provide a take-away service for those preferring to stay in.
7. An abundance of quirky independent Shops
Unlike many seaside resorts where you often find shops selling tacky and unwanted goods, Polperro boasts an abundance of quality, quirky and independent shops. Here visitors can find a variety of goods including antiques, artwork, jewellery, pottery, candles, luxury toiletries, clothes and unique gifts. Polperro offers the visitor everything without having to leave the village with its own newsagent, bakery, post office, hardware store, pharmacy, doctors, off-licence and convenience store. There are also several galleries selling paintings by local artists and you can often watch artists creating their masterpieces by the side of the harbour.
8. Accommodation for every taste & budget
Polperro offers every kind of accommodation facility from self-catering cottages, hotels, pubs and B&Bs to campsites. There is something to suit every taste and budget whether its staying in a 5 star cottage to enjoying the more basic amenities of a campsite.
9. Convenience & modern facilities
You may be able to escape the trials of everyday life but Polperro still offers every modern facility with free wifi, a post-office with banking facilities & cash points. Mobile network coverage for users of Orange and T Mobile is excellent. Polperro has restricted vehicle assess however there is a large public car-park at the top of the village with regular trams that transport visitors down to the village.
10. Easy access to nearby attractions
Polperro is ideally situated to explore further into Cornwall and is in close proximity to key attractions such as the Eden Project, the Lost Gardens of Helligan, the towns of Fowey, St Austell and Charlestown plus the stunning National Trust properties of Lanhydrock, Anthony House and Cotehele. The bustling city of Plymouth is only 30 minutes away by car, Looe Train Station is only 4 miles away and Newquay Airport is one hour by car. There is also a regular bus service providing transport to the surrounding villages and towns.