Port Isaac Harbour and Beach
Port Isaac and Port Gaverne

Doc Martin's Cornwall

Nestled side by side on the north Cornish coast lie Port Isaac and Port Gaverne — between them offering everything you want, from superb food to great walking and fun-packed coastal adventure. Port Isaac is a bustling fishing village dating back to the Middle Ages. To one side of the village is the famous harbour, and to the other side is Port Gaverne’s pretty beach. Today, the area is best known as the stunning backdrop to TV’s Doc Martin as well as being home to cappella singing group Fisherman’s Friends and of course the location for the 2019 film about them. Fans of TV and film can be found exploring the cobbled streets looking for the Doctor’s house, Fern Cottage, or barbecuing on the beach the where Danny and Alwyn romanced.

The port isaac guide

Port Isaac Outlaw

A Foodie's Favourite

If you’re after a foodie break, Port Isaac with Port Gaverne is an excellent location. The twin villages are home to several amazing eateries –  experience exquisite dining at Restaurant Nathan Outlaw. Famed for its seafood taster menu, this Michelin starred restaurant is the perfect place for a celebration or romantic treat for two. If you’re accompanied by children, who may not appreciate Mr. Outlaw’s finest cuisine, follow your nose to the Angry Anchovy and take a seat for an excellent pizza and Cornish craft ale. There are also plenty of other places serving fresh seafood, as Port Isaac is still a real working harbour. Why not book a table at Fresh From The Sea to taste what the Cornish waters have to offer.

Next door, just a short stroll away in the little hamlet of Port Gaverne is Port Gaverne Restaurant & Hotel, voted Cornwall’s best gastropub, and 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, as there are plenty to choose from.

Port Gaverne Cove

Secret coves a plenty

Port Isaac is a working harbour, but at low tide is also a sandy cove, perfect for letting kids play and dogs run — it’s even suitable for a spot of sunbathing. As this is the (very beautiful) base for Port Isaac’s fisherman and lifeguards, if you are after a great beach you may be better off opting for the cove at Port Gaverne (pictured). The hamlet’s dog friendly beach is a small one, but wait for the tide to go out and you’ll be rewarded with sand between your toes, rockpools to explore and caves to discover. For those with a taste for adrenalin, Port Gaverne also offers some excellent guided coasteering – get hold of Cornish Rock Tors who will guide you along cliffs and through the water. They also offer wild swimming sessions, kayaking and stand up paddle-boarding, as well as plenty of other land-based activities – so if it’s an active holiday you’re after then look no further. The cove is literally just moments away from our cottages and apartments in the area, so walk sandy footsteps back up to your retreat, or wrap up in a towel and get the wood burner going to dry out.

Walking Holidays in Port Gaverne Cornwall

Coastal footpaths and clifftop walks

North Cornwall is famous for its dramatic, rugged coastline and the area around Port Isaac and Port Gaverne is no exception. Whether you head east or west, you’re greeted with stunning coastal walks – or head inland for circular strolls. Take the coastal footpath through Port Gaverne (behind the Tregudda apartments) 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.

For the more ambitious hiker it is possible to walk to Polzeath, one of Cornwall’s best surfing beaches, around 9 miles away. On the way, past Port Quin, The Rumps and Pentire Point jut out into the Atlantic making this a fabulous stretch of the coast path with really spectacular views. All of the coastal footpaths are dog-friendly, but there are some steep sections so make sure you keep the lead handy – there are also plenty of inland circular walks, have a look at iWalk Cornwall.

Beaches
Port Isaac Harbour and Beach

Port Gaverne & Port Isaac

With Port Gaverne beach literally on your doorstep, and Port Isaac beach just a 10 minute stroll away, there’s no shortage of sheltered coves within walking distance. These beaches are small, picturesque and family and dog friendly – a great way to while away an afternoon at any time of year. Port Isaac beach has a breakwater, so is generally a calm harbour with picturesque fishing boats dotted around. Port Gaverne beach is flanked by Port Isaac headland and ‘The Main’ – Port Gaverne’s headland – which tend to protect the beach from the big Atlantic waves that the North Coast is so famous for.

Beaches Padstow Area Polzeath 26 August 2016 2. Matt Jessop

Polzeath

An inspiration for poet Sir John Betjeman, Polzeath is a wide sandy beach about six miles from Port Gaverne. It is accompanied by a small village of the same name, with plenty of restaurants and amenities to fuel a fun-filled day at the beach. With lifeguards on duty during summer days, a surf school on hand and plenty of rockpools to explore, Polzeath is the ideal place for a beach day – and make sure you don’t miss the Cracking Crab, with its indulgent seafood lunches and stunning sea views!

Beaches Padstow Area Daymer Bay 26 August 2016 2. Matt Jessop

Daymer Bay

About 8 miles from Port Isaac and just west of Polzeath is Daymer Bay. This sheltered spot is at the mouth of the Camel Estuary, with calm waters and a long stretch of golden sand, and was one of poet John Betjeman’s favourite locations in Cornwall – it’s not hard to see why. One of this beach’s great features is that it’s dog-friendly all year round – and the wide open space makes it perfect to tire a four legged friend out!

Trebarwith, Adamgibbard

Off the beaten track…

Follow the coastal footpath to the east, or drive the road out of Port Isaac, through Port Gaverne and park up at Tregardock Farm. From here, it’s around a 20 minute walk and a bit of a scramble over some rocks to reach the sandy, quiet beach of Tregardock – be sure to check the tide’s out! If you don’t fancy the walk, keep driving until you reach Trebarwith, with a pub, shop and car park making it a little more family friendly and accessible – but a bit busier too. Both have an air of the undiscovered about them though, with waterfalls, caves and rockpools to explore, as well as being a little quieter than the likes of Polzeath.

Food and Drink
Port Isaac Outlaw's Fish Kitchen

Michelin-starred Dining

Port Isaac is filled with excellent restaurants, but the most famous perhaps are those of Michelin-starred Cornish chef, Nathan Outlaw. Enjoy exquisite dining with a first class tasting menu and a fine wine flight to pair it with, Restaurant Nathan Outlaw is a real experience for anyone who appreciates good food – make sure you book in advance! If you’re after something a little more relaxed, wander down into the town to Outlaw’s Fish Kitchen. You can still expect white tablecloths and superb service, but with a slightly less dear A La Carte menu – whichever you choose, make sure you experience one!

Angry anchovy Port Isaac Pizza

Pizza and pints

Follow your nose to the Angry Anchovy and take a seat for an excellent pizza and Cornish craft ale. This dog friendly restaurant serves freshly made pizza, and despite its name, offers plenty of non-seafood options! Hailed by Doc Martin himself as one of his favourite places to go in Port Isaac, and labelled the best pizza place in Cornwall by Cornish Life magazine – whether you sit down and enjoy the restaurant atmosphere, or get a takeaway to enjoy back at your cottage, you won’t be disappointed.

Port Gaverne Hotel and Restaurant Cornwall Self Catering

Port Gaverne eateries

Port Gaverne has an extremely good food offering given its size, with two great eateries right in the heart of the hamlet – The Port Gaverne Restaurant and Hotel, and The Pilchard’s Café. Head to The Port Gaverne Restaurant and Hotel for excellent gastropub food and fine wines, or rinse off sandy feet and call in at The Pilchard’s for some tapas-style light bites and freshly made lunches. They are both within moments of all our cottages and apartments – and both worth trying.

Things to do
Port Gaverne Stand up paddleboarding Rock tors

Cornish Coasteering

Ben at Cornish Rock Tors is who you need to speak to if you’re after an injection of adrenaline into your holiday. The North Cornwall coastline lends itself particularly well to coasteering and other adventurous sea sports like kayaking, paddleboarding and wild swimming. Cornish Rock Tors have equipment to hire if you know what you’re doing, but we’d recommend getting Ben to show you around the local waters. The coasteering is bracing but exhilarating, and we’d recommend it to anyone who’s after something a little out of the ordinary from their holiday.

Matt Jessop VCL Statue Tintagel North Cornwall

Tintagel

This English Heritage Site is often portrayed as King Arthur’s birthplace, with its Dark Age ruins, rich history of royals and mystical feel. Cross the footbridge and climb the 148 steps up to the island, and walk through the wooden door that opens out to the Grand Hall, built by the fist Earl of Cornwall.

Immerse yourself in the legend of King Arthur with the story slabs in the medieval garden, the 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 cafe at the end!

St Nectans Glen

St. Nectan’s Glen

This peaceful site is one of Cornwall’s best kept secret – we only discovered it a couple of years ago! With an unmistakeable air of magic, this woodland walk, it’s three waterfalls and hermitage are a must visit, at any time of year 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. This walk is a great place for dog walkers, magic-lovers, nature enthusiasts and explorers.

Parstow Rock Ferry Forever Cornwall

Padstow/Rock Foot Ferry

Padstow is a good thirty minute drive from Port Isaac and Port Gaverne. However, head to Rock, on your side of the estuary and (after taking in the millionaire’s playground and grabbing an ice cream) hop onto the foot ferry that carries its passengers across the mouth of the Camel Estuary, past the actual “Doom Bar” and alight in Padstow. It’s highly memorable and the way to arrive in Padstow in style — a much more entertaining mode of travel!

The ferry departs every twenty minutes, usually from Rock but sometimes from Daymer Bay on a very low tide, and runs until at least 4.30pm – later in peak season, but 4.30 still gives you plenty of time to meander through the pretty cobbled streets of Padstow.

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