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Port Isaac

Port Isaac Holiday Cottages

Nestled side by side on the north Cornish coast lie Port Isaac and Port Gaverne — between them, they offer everything you could want from a holiday to Cornwall’s north coast, from superb food to great walking and fun-packed coastal adventure. We have the finest collection of holiday cottages right near Port Isaac — 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 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.

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The port isaac guide

Port Isaac Outlaw's Fish Kitchen close to Forever Cornwall holiday cottages

A foodie's favourite

If you’re after a foodie break, our holiday cottages near Port Isaac are in a brilliant location. Port Isaac is home to two Nathan Outlaw restaurants — famed for its seafood taster menu, these Michelin starred restaurants are the perfect place for a celebration or romantic treat for two. If you’ve got 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, such as Fresh From The Sea — Port Isaac is still a real working harbour.

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.

Port Gaverne Cove - near Forever Cornwall holiday cottages

Secret coves aplenty

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. 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 Isaac also offers some excellent guided coasteering — sign up for a session with Cornish Rock Tors next door in Port Gaverne 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. Or sign up to a session with Cornish Sea Tours,

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 from our holiday cottages near Port Isaac, 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 scramble down to their sandy shores but always worth the trip. Head in the opposite direction for a great coastal walk up to Port Quin and back again — a three-hour round trip.

For the more ambitious hiker it’s possible to walk to Polzeath, one of Cornwall’s best surfing beaches, about nine miles away. On the way, pass Port Quin, The Rumps and Pentire Point, which juts out into the Atlantic. 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 for inspiration.

Beaches
Port Isaac harbour as seen from Forever Cornwall holiday cottages nearby

Port Gaverne and Port Isaac

There’s no shortage of sheltered coves within walking distance — the sheltered coves of Port Isaac and Port Gaverne, a ten-minute stroll away, 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, several surf schools 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 eight 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 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 tucked into the cliff, 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 Polzeath.

Food & Drink
Port Isaac Outlaw's Fish Kitchen close to Forever Cornwall holiday cottages

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, Outlaw’s New Road 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 cheaper a la carte menu.

Angry anchovy Port Isaac Pizza

Laid-back fare

Follow your nose to the Angry Anchovy and take a seat for an excellent pizza and Cornish craft ale. This dog friendly restaurant serves wood-fired pizza and, despite its name, offers plenty of non-seafood options. At the top of town at the Fresh From The Sea cafe, husband and wife team Callum and Tracey catch crab, lobster, mackerel from their own boat — tuck into crab sandwiches, lobster salads and mackerel pate and toast on the sunny terrace in good weather. Also specialising in seafood, you’ll find The Mote Bar & Restaurant right on the harbour front. For artisan coffee, tasty pastries and ice cream, head to The Delibox (pick up local goodies whilst you’re there).

Pub at Port Gaverne near Forever Cornwall holiday cottages

Places to eat in Port Gaverne

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 Port Gaverne cottages and apartments, and both worth trying.

Local Food Guide to Port Isaac

It’s no surprise that a town boasting two Michelin-starred seafood restaurants is among Cornwall’s top places for delicious fresh fish and seafood. In this tiny village you’ll also find a number of fish shops and markets offering freshly caught fish, while the town centre has delis and cafes as well as farm shops on the outskirts of town.

Find out more about buying local with our handy Local Food Guide to Port Isaac.

Things to do
Port Gaverne Stand up paddleboarding Rock tors

Coastal adventure

The North Cornwall coastline lends itself particularly well to coasteering and other adventurous sea sports like kayaking, paddleboarding and wild swimming, with its sheltered coves and rugged, rocky coastline, and there are a number of  Cornish Rock Tors offers a huge range of activities, from sea kayaking to open water swimming from its outlet in neighbouring Port Gaverne. 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. They also offer sauna sessions from their hand-built sauna a few steps from the beach — perfect for relaxing weary muscles afterwards.

Matt Jessop VCL Statue Tintagel North Cornwall

Tintagel Castle

This English Heritage Site of Tintagel Castle 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

With an unmistakeable air of magic, this woodland walk near Tintagel with its 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. This walk is a great place for dog walkers, magic-lovers, nature enthusiasts and explorers.

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