Some places are very special. Polperro is one of them, providing a unique holiday experience in a captivating place. This beguiling historic fishing village, set in a steep wooded valley framed by cliffs, is said to be one of the most beautiful in Cornwall.
Situated between Fowey and Looe, Polperro will enchant you with its smuggling history, and views. It provides perfect opportunities to re-energise away from it all, to walk the coastal path or to see this scenic coastline by boat. It will be a holiday to remember for many years to come.
Your visit to Polperro starts at the charismatic 14th century Crumplehorn Inn and Mill, by the visitors’ car park, which boasts an impressively restored water wheel, a taste of things to come.
Narrow winding streets and lanes lead to a traditional fishing harbour and village where you can step back in time. Walking here is a traffic-free treat, and there’s always a horse and cart if needed. The whole village is a conservation area due to the nature of its historic buildings and is said to be one of Cornwall’s most beautiful villages.
The narrow streets and tightly-packed fishermen’s cottages are an attractive aspect, as you imagine how life must have been in past times. Among the plentiful shops selling provisions and gift items, Polperro has a number of activities throughout the year for you to enjoy, such as its June Arts Festival, a big summer fireworks display, and its Christmas lights. Morris and clog dancers are regulars here in the village, which has its own Fishermen’s Choir. Look out for them at Fish Quay in summer for an impromptu free performance.
Obviously, Polperro is no stranger to secrets. It was a smuggling village whose Heritage Museum contains fascinating exhibits and photographs from bygone times. Such skulduggery wasn’t its only attraction though, for it was also an artists’ delight. Check out the local arts and crafts at the Ebenezer Gallery or The Polperro Arts Foundation. You may find yourself taking home something unique. If you want to stop for a coffee, Herringbone gets great reviews. Then there are the pubs, beloved by the local community … village life is here.
The main industry was pilchard fishing, with the whole village involved in catching and salting the fish to store in barrels. These days, the village offers more, though trawlers, crabbers and punts still line up in the harbour. The village relies on visitors, but also has an authentic community among the back alleys and side streets. There is plenty to see, such as its famous much-photographed shell house.
If you are a walker, then you may wish to tackle the Polruan to Polperro stretch of the South West Coast Path. It is a rollercoaster of a walk but the breath-taking views over turquoise seas make it very worthwhile. For more sedate but equally scenic enjoyment, you can take a boat trip from the harbour to see seals and dolphins, or maybe a simple guided walk around the village to hear more about its fascinating history.
For a change of scene, visit lovely Looe nearby, a scenic but busy fishing port for all amenities. As you are so close to the sea, why not travel by ferry? Try Polruan to Fowey ferry which operates daily and also provides access to great walking points along the coast path, then try Fowey to Mevagissey. Fowey has unique shops, and places to eat, while Mevagissey offers a true taste of authenticity.