Mevagissey is a picture-perfect, charming, attractive, yet still authentic fishing village on the south coast of Cornwall, with around 2000 people living there. Once the heart of the Cornish pilchard industry, it is still said to be home to over 70 small fishing boats. Gig rowing is popular here, too, with an annual regatta.
It also has pastel traditional stone, slate and cob buildings in its maze of winding streets. The name sounds beautifully Cornish, originating from the names of two saints, St Meva and St Issey.
Mevagissey is one of the top spots for dolphin watching in Cornwall, so keep your eyes peeled. We don’t want to speak too soon but its secret is that it is one of the quieter, unspoiled areas of Cornwall, even in the summer months.
The M4, M5 and M6 motorways have made travel to Cornwall simple and straightforward, so whichever direction you are coming from, join the M5 to Exeter, then take the A30 to St. Austell and then the B3273 to Mevagissey.
If you’re driving to South Cornwall in a plug-in electric vehicle, see our list of charging locations here.
The train station is in St. Austell adjacent to the bus station. Taxis and luggage service available from Mevagissey Cars.
Look out for the sign on the left hand side as you enter the village, for the easiest car parking in Meva at the Willow Car and Coach Park.
There’s plenty of spaces (300) so it is a no brainer for no-stress parking. To walk to the village takes around 7-10 minutes, but you avoid driving around the narrow streets. You can also park your campervan in this car park overnight. Toilets are nearby.
Mevagissey has several car parks, including Sunny Corner, Church Street, River Street and one on Mevagissey Harbour itself, but the drive around the village is not pleasant for you or for pedestrians, especially if you have a large vehicle, so please ideally use Willow or be prepared to do lots of reversing to amuse the locals.
Try the Wheelhouse pub/restaurant with gorgeous views, ultra-fresh seafood on the menu and a superb view overlooking the harbour.
For ice cream check out She Sells Meva, with a dreamy view of the harbour, which also sells hot drinks, galettes, crepes, cakes, etc., depending on the weather.
For a sit down meal, why not try the family-run Alvorada, a Portuguese restaurant on the quay? Here, authentic Portuguese cuisine couples with locally-sourced produce.
Alternatively, there is the intimate Salamander, which also uses high-quality Cornish produce. The Sharksfin is in a glorious location, right on the quay, perfect for an evening G & T. For high quality international cuisine, try Roovray’s. Meanwhile, there is a huge choice for those with special dietary requirements at Number 5.
More tucked away are a couple of bars at The Fountain Inn, which is at the foot of Cliff Street and popular with the locals. Fifteenth century, it is the oldest public house in the village. Here, you will find plenty of tales of smuggling to accompany your refreshments.
For something special try The Nutty Duck at Trevalsa Court.
The harbour is a treat for crabbing, and fish and chips or excellent pasties!
If any of your children love trains, then check out the Mevagissey Model Railway. It has a new children’s layout at floor level, and yes, Thomas does get in there, too!
Just over 2 miles from Mevagissey, you will find a web of cycle trails through a small woodland with scenic streams. Bikes are available on site for the whole family. The cycle trail in Pentewan is along a stream and meanders through a woodland. The main trails are flat, smooth and great for young children.
A visit to Mevagissey is not complete without a trip to Digby’s Sweet Shop.
Be aware, it is hard to access as it involves walking along the South West Coast Path and descending around 200 steep steps to reach the cove below. But it is well worth it for it will invariably not be crowded.
The beach itself is around 200 metres long, with shingle leading to sand. It is an attractive cove with shelter from the wind provided by the cliffs behind.
Booklovers, seek out Hurley Books. The website has a jolly ‘chewing the fat’ blog, too.
The pretty obvious response is to go to The Eden Project with its rainforest and Mediterranean biomes, where you are largely under cover.
In Meva itself try the three-floor Mevagissey Museum, a quaint local museum of artefacts, or the Mevagissey Aquarium, a charity project set in the old lifeboat building, free entry (donation appreciated). You can read more about Mevagissey’s history here.
The Lost Gardens of Heligan are world-renowned, and offer a truly magical day out. Originally created by the Temayne family in the mid-18th century, they were neglected after the First World War and not restored to their former glory until the 1990s. Their history is fascinating, but so are the displays, including the sculptures.
Take a short fishing trip or a deep sea fishing day trip on board the swift charter boat, the Bessie Vee. Enjoy trips to Fowey River, Looe, Falmouth, St. Mawes or the Helford Passage to catch a glimpse of seals, dolphins and basking sharks! Or, try a relaxing coastal cruise with Seas the Day.
Alternatively, try sea fishing with Aquila. Try your hand at catching some mackerel on one of the many charter boats available from the harbour. If adrenaline is more your thing, then the Bouncin’ Betty offers a rib ride suitable for all the family.
The Eden Project is around 10 miles from Mevagissey, about a 20-25 minute drive on main roads.
Keen walkers might walk the South West Coast Path from Mevagissey to Charlestown, from where you can return by bus. It is a moderate to strenuous 8-mile walk with lots of steep sections. The iWalk Cornwall app is really useful.
Check out the Mevagissey to Fowey ferry across sheltered St Austell Bay (it takes about 40 minutes) – you might see some seals between these two picturesque and contrasting ports. Boatbuilding is a meva industry, with a boatyard between the inner and outer harbour. This is where fishermen land their daily catch, clean their boats, and repair their nets as they have since the 15th century, part of the lifeblood of the village.
18 minutes from Mevagissey lies a castle set within rolling hills and gardens. The 19th century castle was designed by John Nash. When you visit the castle, you can also spend some time on Caerhays (pronounced Car-hays) beach, where there is sometimes good surf.
Mevagissey’s driest months are April and September but October/November seem prone to rain. Its warmest month is July (20-25 degrees C on average) and its coldest February – but crashing waves and roaring fires still make it an attractive winter destination. This is Cornwall, and the weather varies.
Toilets are to be found at West Quay and Valley Road. They are paid for by residents via the Parish Council, so please treat them well to help with the upkeep.
With its quaint charm and pretty backstreets, Mevagissey is a quintessential Cornish fishing village, with a lot to offer.