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Top 10 things to do in Port Isaac and Port Gaverne

Port Isaac harbour as seen from Forever Cornwall holiday cottages nearby

Rubbing shoulders on the north Cornish coast, the villages of Port Isaac and Port Gaverne offer a bit of everything — Michelin-starred restaurants and relaxed cafes, great clifftop walks and fun-packed coastal adventure. The star-studded village — it’s renowned as the birthplace of television series Doc Martin, as well as the home of the Fisherman’s Friends — attracts visitors in search of something authentically Cornish. Here’s our top ten things to do in Port Isaac and Port Gaverne.

Gorgeous beaches

Beaches Padstow Area Polzeath 26 August 2016 2. Matt Jessop

The beaches of Port Isaac and Port Gaverne are beautiful sheltered coves within walking distance or each other. Port Isaac beach has a breakwater, so is generally a calm harbour dotted with pretty fishing boats, whilst Port Gaverne beach is flanked by Port Isaac headland and ‘The Main’— Port Gaverne’s headland — which protect the beach from the north coast’s infamous waves.

Further south, Polzeath is one of the most popular surfing beaches in the whole of Cornwall, with a good surf school and the popular Cracking Crab set up on the cliff.

Exploring further afield

If you’re feeling active, the climb up all 148 steps at Tintagel Castle, portrayed as King Arthur’s birthplace, with its Dark Age ruins, rich history of royals, is a great day out. There’s a medieval garden, a bronze statue on the headland and search for the wizard Merlin’s face carved into the cliffs on the beach below. A stunning walk, filled with rich history and exciting English legends is finished off with a brilliant cafe at the end.

Claim to fame

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Port Isaac played the fictional town of “Port Wenn” in the series Doc Martin, about the cantankerous London doctor in the midst of quintessentially Cornish village life. Fans of the series Doc Martin will enjoy hunting for the various film locations around town.

Clifftop walking

Walking Holidays in Port Gaverne Cornwall

North Cornwall is famous for its dramatic, rugged coastline and the area around Port Isaac and Port Gaverne is no exception. Wherever you go, you’ll be greeted with stunning coastal walks — or head inland for circular strolls. Take the coastal footpath through Port Gaverne and walk east up the coast towards Tintagel, which will take you past some fantastic beaches, often requiring a walk down to their sandy shores but always worth the trip. Head the opposite way, west along the coast and up out of Port Isaac for a great coastal walk that’s not too long or strenuous, just up to Port Quin and back again..

A foodie destination

Port Isaac Outlaw's Fish Kitchen

With two Nathan Outlaw restaurants in Port Isaac, this is the place to go for a spot of fine dining. Foodies will love the seafood taster menu at Outlaw’s New Road, whereas those after something more relaxed should head to Outlaw’s Fish Kitchen at the top of town. If it’s pizza you’re after, the Angry Anchovy serves excellent pizza and local craft ale. There are also plenty of other places serving fresh seafood, such as Fresh From The Sea.

Next door, just a short stroll away in the little hamlet of Port Gaverne, is Port Gaverne Restaurant & Hotel, recently awarded the Michelin Plate. The local team serve Cornish produce where they can and it’s delicious — the truffle oil and Parmesan are a must. Try a range of gins, taste local ales and let the bar staff recommend a fine wine — there are plenty to choose from

Visit St Nectan’s Glen

With an unmistakeable air of magic, this woodland walk with three waterfalls and hermitage are a must visit at any time of year and in any sort of weather. Park your car and walk 20 minutes into the woods to discover the first and biggest waterfall — at 60ft, this impressive waterfall has carved its own path through the rocks and tumbles down into the pool next to the pathway. Walk into the pool (if you forgot your wellies, the shop will lend you some for free) to really experience the magic of this waterfall – and make sure you don’t miss St. Nectan’s Kieve, the sacred hermitage next to the pool.

Pampering session

If you’re after a bit of R&R, Cornish Coastal Adventures offers sauna sessions from their hand-built sauna a few steps from Port Quin beach, an hour’s walk round the headland — perfect for relaxing weary muscles afterwards. In nearby Polzeath, the Wild Spa at St Moritz Hotel offers a range of treatments from its clifftop retreat.

Out on the water

Cornish Rock Tors 2017 04 19 SUP Port Gaverne 02 Soc Web

The secluded cove at Port Gaverne is a great space to be adventurous on the water. The friendly team at Cornish Rock Tors can take you for a spot of paddleboarding, kayaking or even coasteering — by far the best way to explore the wild north coast. Port Gaverne is also home to Cornish Coasteering who offer surfing, kayaking and adventure trips along the coastline. A couple of miles down the coast in Port Quin, Cornish Coastal Adventures offers guided kayaking and paddleboarding tours for families and groups, as well as advanced trips for the more experienced

Take a look at our beautiful holiday cottages in Port Isaac and Port Gaverne.