The small fishing village of Mousehole (pronounced Mow-zul!) neighbours Newlyn, is just a five-minute drive from Penzance town centre and provides ultimate peace. While the harbour is a working one, it is nowhere near as busy as Newlyn and due to being a little further away from Penzance there is minimal through traffic. Despite its size, the village is home to some excellent restaurants, and a local pub alongside newsagents, a handful of coffee shops and a couple of boutique and craft shops offering hand made products. A great base for exploring West Cornwall, Mousehole provides a haven away from any city life.
Mousehole may be tucked away on its coastal road, but the surrounding area is rich with things to do and places to see. Of course, just ten minutes across the bay is the historic St Michael’s Mount and the village of Mousehole itself is a certified Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. Porthcurno, a beach that is often considered the most beautiful in Cornwall, is less than ten miles away and the open-air clifftop theatre, the Minack, sits just above it. The village is surrounded by some of Cornwall’s favourite beaches in addition to Porthcurno, such as Marazion beach just a ten-minute drive away, with its long stretch of sand, direct views of the Mount, and beautifully clear waters. Travelling just 20 minutes to the opposite coast, you will find the popular village of St. Ives, surrounded by beaches that are perfect for sunbathing and surfing, with plenty of art galleries, restaurants and local craft shops in case the clouds appear.
At Christmas, the small, picturesque harbour gets into the spirit of things and becomes a countywide attraction, turning into a festival of lights that has to be seen to be truly appreciated! However, during the summer months, it becomes a haven, away from the more popular Cornish destinations, meaning you can freely explore the village and the surrounding South West Coast Path without the crowds.
With a population of less than 700, Mousehole could be forgiven for having just the one restaurant. In recent years though the village has gone above and beyond expectations, and is now home to two incredible restaurants, six delicious cafes and an atmospheric local pub serving classics. No.2 Fore Street is one of the most highly regarded restaurants in West Cornwall, making it crucial to book and a must visit during your stay in the area. The Old Coastguard has held its excellent reputation for many years, with its glass-fronted dining room overlooking Mount’s Bay, and perfectly manicured gardens that tumble down to the coastline – the perfect place to walk off a top-notch bistro-style meal. The roast dinners are to-die-for too! If you’re after a more casual affair, take your pick from any one of Mousehole’s cafes – our favourite is Rock Pool Cafe, with its outdoor seating offering unobstructed views of the Bay, killer crab sandwiches and hot chocolates – or cocktails if it’s nearing 5pm. Bring a backpack and call into Hole Foods Deli and Cafe to pick up some homemade bits and local spirits, or choose a hearty lunch from the extensive menu. Whatever you fancy, it’s likely Mousehole will deliver the goods!
If the wonders of the surrounding area and Mousehole’s excellent food offering aren’t enough of an excuse to stay in this village, then perhaps the classic Cornish charm, the intriguing history and authenticity of this pretty harbour will do it for you. Mousehole boasts a rich history, being raised to the ground along with Newlyn during the Battle of Cornwall, a raid on the county by the Spanish naval officer Carlos de Amesquita. The entire village was destroyed, bar one old pub that survived, and although the building is now a private residence, there is a plaque on the front of the building that reads, “Squire Jenkyn Keigwin was killed here 23 July 1595 defending his house against the Spaniards”. It is a historical event that is often overlooked in England’s history, but it is worth reading up on to appreciate the full history of this small fishing village. The biennial Sea Salts and Sail festival celebrates the maritime culture that has defined Mousehole for so long, and what better way to soak up the working harbour atmosphere at any time of year than to sit on the harbour wall with fish and chips, people and boat-watching.
Of course Mousehole also sits on the South West Coast Path – so you can go from your doorstep in either direction along the Cornish seafront for as far as your legs can carry you – bliss.