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A fishing life
Mevagissey

Mevagissey Holiday Cottages

Tucked into a craggy hillside on Cornwall’s undulating south coast, the fishing village of Mevagissey is a bustling tangle of narrow streets, shops and cafes. With some parts of the village dating back to the 1700s, the pilchard fishing trade thrived here for generations – life here still revolves around the harbour, and there’s still an active fishing industry here today.

Mevagissey – or “Meva” to the locals – is also home to a number of art galleries, with the picturesque harbour and the surrounding sea cliffs providing inspiration to artists from all over the world. Whether you want to stroll along the harbour with an ice cream, spend a day out on the water paddleboarding or amble over the cliffs to the nearby sweeping expanse of Pentewan Sands, our holiday cottages in and around Mevagissey will help you make the most of this beautiful area.

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The Mevagissey guide

Mevagissey harbour, boats, Forever Cornwall

Cafes and craft shops

Wandering amongst the winding streets of Mevagissey is one of the most rewarding ways to spend an afternoon in this little village. If a cream tea is on the agenda, the wonderful Teacup Room whips up the best in the area, whilst Cubs Coffee is a speciality coffee shop serving Origin coffee, from Porthleven.

There are countless quirky shops to browse too, and antique and second hand stores tucked in amongst the meandering streets for finding hidden treasures and gifts to take home. If you’re an art lover or appreciate artisan crafts such as felting, stained glass or sculpture, there’s plenty to appreciate with Mevagissey’s bustling arts scene. And after all that retail therapy, you’re never more than a few yards from a pasty, a refreshing G&T, or a cafe stop.

Vault beach, Roseland, Forever Cornwall

Coastal walks and hidden bays

The coastal footpaths which lead directly from Mevagissey will take you on a meandering journey above the sea towards some stunning beaches. With plenty of wildlife around, make sure you keep your eyes peeled for coastal plants and birds such as kites and peregrines. In the early summer, the air is scented with coconut from the flowering yellow gorse that lines the paths.

You can tackle as much or as little of the well maintained paths as you like – plan a long hike, or simply wander up the cliffs with a book for the afternoon. There are some wonderful circular walks from Mevagissey, such as the 3.5-mile hike to the village of Portmellon — a mile south — with its sheltered cove, before looping back to Mevagissey. There’s also a fabulous circular route which passes through the Lost Gardens of Heligan (grab something to eat at Heligan Kitchen) and Pentewan beach, before descending back towards Mevagissey.

Dolphin Cornwall

Sea safaris, rib rides, fishing trips and ferry rides

If you’re up for adventure out on the water, Mevagissey’s rib rides could be for you — you’ll be whisked away at 38 knots to search for dolphins and porpoises, seals and seabirds. Or opt for a thrilling sea safari and explore hidden coves, learn about the sealife, spot dolphins and seals in their natural habitat. Another option is to book a sea charter onboard Aquila for an all-day mackerel fishing trip, where you’ll get to cook and eat your catch aboard afterwards. They also do wreck fishing (Mevagissey is one of the best places in Cornwall to do this) and reef fishing. 

For something slightly more leisurely, Mevagissey Ferries run trips to Fowey, taking you along coast and up the river Fowey to the town, taking 40 minutes each way. Fowey is packed with interesting shops, museums and places to eat, so it’s easy to while away a day here before boarding the ferry back to Mevagissey in the evening. 

Beaches

Portmellon

Just over the hill from Mevagissey (a 15-minute walk around the headland) is the charming village of Portmellon. Its sandy beach nestles between craggy rocks which rise up on either side — if you’re staying in Mevagissey, this is your closest swimming and sandcastle-building spot. It’s a nice little stretch of sand, which disappears almost entirely when the tide rolls in. Facing east, it makes a sheltered swimming spot, although there’s a fair amount of seaweed when the tide goes out. Still, it makes a great spot for a dip if you’re staying locally. And the fabulous Shack at Portmellon has fresh, local and organic goodies and coffee for sale.

Pentewan

Two miles north of Mevagissey you’ll find this beauty of a beach in Cornwall’s sheltered south coast — an expanse of pristine white sand and calm waters set against a backdrop of rolling green hills. Visit at low tide and kids will love exploring the rockpools and, given its sheltered spot, it’s perfect for swimming too. There’s watersports hire right on the beach — choose from paddleboards, windsurfers, kayaks, surfboards or a self-drive boat and explore the coastline with a fishing rod. They also have free wooden bellyboards for hire (first come, first served).

Porthpean Mevagissey Forever Cornwall

Porthpean

Porthpean is a narrow golden beach 15 minutes away by car from Mevagissey. It’s perfect for swimming and snorkelling due to the clear waters and abundance of sea life around the rocky perimeters. Although Porthpean is popular with local sailing clubs and the nearby outdoor centre, it’s perhaps the least busy of the beaches in the area. With the carpark a short walk away rather than being right on the beachfront, it’s a lovely spot to sit and read. In the summer months, there’s a cafe and loo available too. 

Gorran Haven Mevagissey Forever Cornwall

Gorran Haven

This beach is a thick crescent of sand right in front of the village of Gorran Haven, just around the corner from Mevagissey. The fishing trade here has mostly been relocated, meaning the safe waters of the harbour are great for swimming without the fear of commercial vessels. The pier is a popular spot for local kids to jump off at high tide, and you’ll catch a few people fishing there too. Being right in front of the village, there are lots of options for refreshments including pub grub and pasties, not to mention stacks of local ice cream. If you’re a keen artist, bring your easel as the colours of the little boats reflected in the water really are something else on a bright day. 

Vault beach

Slightly off the beaten track, just a 15-minute drive from Mevagissey, this kilometre-long stretch of sand and shale beach has yet to be discovered by the masses — access can be quite tricky from the carpark, but it’s well worth the scramble, and only adds to the sense of blissful isolation. Stick to the north end of the beach unless you want to bare all — the other side is frequented by naturists (unless you were looking for a skinny dip, of course). With no facilities to speak of, you’ll need to bring supplies with you. It’s a great spot for swimming and snorkelling, especially towards Penveor Point where you’ll find lots of rookpools.

Food & Drink

Fish and seafood in Mevagissey

If you’re in the mood for seafood The Sharksfin is a great family-friendly option, with a ‘Land & Sea’ menu and delicious fish tacos, as well as lots of other crowd pleasers, with amazing harbour views. On the quayside, Fish Grill & More may look like your regular fish and chip place but its offering is anything but. Expect the freshest sardines, grilled mackerel, juicy scallops and the lightest battered haddock (with chips, of course). Rumour has it that the fishermen themselves come here for their dinner — enough said! Further along the quay, the Harbour Catch is Mevagissey’s newest stop for takeaway seafood. 

Cafes in and around Mevagissey 

For the best cream teas in the area, head to the Teacup Tearoom — their moorish scones and locally grown Cornish tea have won them many awards. On Fore Street in the heart of the village, Cubs Coffee combines artisan coffee and delicious cakes with a Cornish clothing brand, Cubs. The cafe is a warm and inviting place, with plenty of rattan, low lighting and lots of foliage. A 15-minute walk south to Portmellon, you’ll find the Shack at Portmellon for coffee, cake, sourdough sandwiches and deli goods. At the nearby Lost Garden of Heligan, a couple of miles away, the Heligan Kitchen cafe is a good bet for a tasty lunch.

Harbour Tavern Mevagissey Cornwall

Pubs and restaurants in Mevagissey

You can’t miss the historic Harbour Tavern, right on the quay — a classic-looking pub serving not-so-classic pub food. Among the usual fare of fish and chips, the pub has an extensive Cornish-inspired tapas menu, making use of the freshest, locally caught fish that comes in each day. Slightly out of town in nearby St Ewe, the bustling, family-run The Crown serves award-winning ales, brilliant Sunday roasts and fresh fish and seafood, with the likes of Cornish sole, local mussels and lobster gracing the large menu. Inside, it’s traditional and cosy, with comfortable oak settles by open fires and friendly staff. 

Things to do

Mevagissey aquarium and museum

The charity-run Mevagissey Aquarium sits at one end of the harbour, housed in the old lifeboat station. It’s free to enter (donations welcome) and gives a wonderful glimpse into sealife found in local waters. If you’re looking for cheap, rainy day activities, this is a good shout. Another little hidden gem is the Mevagissey Museum, tucked away behind the quay in an old boatbuilder’s yard and stuffed with interesting artefacts and exhibits, like the perfectly detailed Cornish kitchen and photos depicting village life in the 19th and 20th centuries. Its staffed by a knowledgable band of volunteers and, with a £2 admission fee (free for kids), it’s a brilliant place to while away an hour or two. Younger children will love the ‘find the teddy’ trail set up around the museum.

 

 

The Lost Gardens of Heligan

The story of the Lost Gardens of Heligan is a magical one, right out of a fairytale. For decades, the garden was in a state of disrepair, lost under a blanket of brambles.  Then, in the 1990s, a door in a mossy wall was discovered. The next few years saw one of the largest restoration projects in horticultural history, with the 200 acres of grounds and gardens being brought back to life. Today, the gardens are a vale of tranquility, with plenty of well-kept paths and woodland to explore, both in the garden and grounds. It’s a great place for kids to run around too, with all sorts of hidden tree trunks to clamber over, and plenty of clearings to play in. Facilities include a shop, cafe and loos.

Forever Cornwall Charlestown

Charlestown

This eighteenth-century harbour is well worth a visit if you’re staying in nearby Mevagissey. There are still beautiful old sailing ships in the harbour, giving you taste of life during Charlestown’s heyday. It’s hardly surprising this is a popular filming location — you might recognise this from the BBC’s Poldark. While you’re there, we recommend you visit the Shipwreck Treasure Museum — they have a number of exhibitions throughout the year so it’s worth checking what’s on. 

The Eden Project

Arguably Cornwall’s most loved attraction, this former clay mine is now an award-winning destination with the world’s largest indoor rainforest — inside the enormous greenhouses, visitors can discover thousands of plant species, a rainforest canopy walkway and rope bridge, a cascading waterfall; in the Mediterranean biome, you’ll find ancient olive trees, vines, and aromatic herbs. Beyond the greenhouses, there are 30 acres of outdoor space to explore with sculptures and art installations dotted about. The education centre hosts demonstrations, workshops, and courses focused on sustainability. Over the summer, this site transforms into a cultural hub, hosting music concerts, known as the Eden Sessions.