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Quaint fishing village
Mousehole

Mousehole Holiday Cottages

The small fishing village of Mousehole (pronounced Mow-zul) is a peaceful  neighbours Newlyn, and is just a five-minute drive from arty, independent Penzance town centre. The village’s working harbour is a throng of activity from dawn til dusk — despite its size, Mousehole e, 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 cafes, pubs and restaurants, a couple of boutique shops and a handful of galleries showcasing local art and design. Our Mousehole holiday cottages also make a great base for exploring the Mount’s Bay area on west Cornwall  our Mousehole holiday cottages provide a haven away from any city life.

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The mousehole guide

The perfect base to explore

Mousehole may be tucked away on the coastal road, but the surrounding area is rich with things to do and places to see. Just ten minutes across the bay is the historic St Michael’s Mount, whilst Porthcurno, a beach that is often considered the most beautiful in Cornwall, is less than ten miles away with the open-air Minack Theatre sitting just above it. Marazion beach is just a ten-minute drive, with its long stretch of sand, views of the Mount, and beautifully clear waters.

On the opposite coast you’ll find the popular village of St Ives, surrounded by beaches that are perfect for sunbathing and surfing, with art galleries, restaurants and boutique shops to browse should the clouds appear. During the summer months, however, it’s a little 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.

A gourmet getaway

It may only be a small village, but Mousehole is home to two incredible restaurants, six delicious cafes and an atmospheric local pub serving all the classics. No.2 Fore Street is one of the most highly regarded restaurants in West Cornwall, whilst 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.

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 lunch from the bakery counter.

Harbour heritage

Tiny Mousehole has had a turbulent history, being razed to the ground along with Newlyn during the Battle of Cornwall, an attack on the county by the Spanish naval officer Carlos de Amesquita in the late 16th century. The entire village was destroyed bar one pub, an historic event that is often overlooked in England’s history but is worth reading up on to appreciate the full history of this small fishing village.

The biennial Sea Salts and Sail festival, held in July, celebrates the region’s maritime culture, and what better way to soak up the working harbour atmosphere than to boat and people-watch on the harbour wall with a parcel of fish and chips on your lap. At Christmas, the picturesque harbour gets into the festive spirit and becomes a countywide attraction, its small harbour lit up with thousands of brightly coloured lights for Mousehole Harbour Lights, a tradition that dates back to 1963 — if you’re in Cornwall for Christmas, it’s definitely worth the trip to Mousehole to witness the lights.

Beaches
Harbour near holiday cottages in Mousehole by Forever Cornwall

Mousehole

Although Mousehole isn’t renowned for its beaches, there is a small sandy beach at either end of the harbour, accessible at low tide. Whilst those seeking a good swimming spot would be better off heading to nearby Marazion and Long Rock, if you’re staying in Mousehole, these little stretches of sand are a convenient spot for sandcastle-making and fish and chip munching — grab something to eat from the excellent Mackerel Sky Seafood Bar, which has a brilliant takeaway menu. Head along the coastal path for a few minutes and you’ll come to the beautiful tidal pool which, although not particularly deep, is a great spot for a calm swim at low tide and only a short scramble from the path.

Porthcurno

This rugged beauty, in the far west of Cornwall, has fine white sand and clear waters that turn turquoise in summer. Often compared to beaches in the Caribbean, it’s flanked on either side by high cliffs (Porthcurno means ‘cove of horns’, referring to its protruding cliffs). Follow the path up the cliffs to the clifftop Minack Theatre and amazing views over Porthcurno and the other coves that stretch into the distance. At low tide you can walk along the sand to Pedn Vounder, another show-stopper (but keep an eye on the tides as there’s no direct access to this beach). The wonderful Porthcurno Beach Cafe with sun terrace is a good place for lunch or signature Cornish G&T at the end of the day — they also have a beach shop selling bodyboards, hats, suncream etc.

The Gem Newquay Water Ripples

Sennen Cove

Just north of Land’s End, this is Cornwall’s most westerly surf spot, a broad band of golden sand with masses of space, the southern promontory protecting the beach from westerly winds so it’s perfect for surfing, swimming, rockpooling and a game of rounders or cricket when the tide’s out. There are two car parks — one on the beach (arrive early in summer!), and another a little walk up the hill. There are several places to eat on the beach, including the wonderful Sennen Cove and the Surf Beach Bar. The small harbour with its lifeboat station and art galleries at the far end is great for those days when the sun’s hiding.

Marazion and Long Rock

Marazion and Long Rock beach all make up the stretch of the coast from St Michael’s Mount to Penzance. A safe beach, when the tide is out the waters are particularly shallow and great for paddling. When the wind picks up, this is a great spot for kitesurfers — watch them soar above the waves from the cafe above the beach with an ice cream. Marazion has lifeguard cover from mid-July until early September and dogs are allowed on the beach all year except July and August (10am-6pm).

Food & drink

Mousehole eateries

Right on the harbour with views across Mount’s Bay, 2 Fore Street is a popular spot with visitors and locals alike, where the menu is dictated by what’s available locally, such as Newlyn crab souffles and butterflied Mounts Bay sardines. To the back, there’s a beautiful secluded garden for sunny summer days. For the freshest Cornish ingredients and superb harbour views, head to the ever popular 2 Fore Street. Further along the seafront is the family-friendly Mousehole Deli and Kitchen which serves up small plates to share; they also have a brilliant takeaway menu, including things like a half lobster with fries. Wander along the seafront to The Old Coastguard for an easy-going atmosphere, stunning views from the terrace and superb food.

Local food in Mousehole

This area of west Cornwall has some of the county’s most vibrant, independent communities, including the eco-arty town of Penzance, which is chock-full of places to stock up on local food, from delis and bakeries to farm shops and weekly markets. Neighbouring Newlyn, one of the UK’s largest fishing ports and home to the Newlyn fish market, is the place to go for fresh fish and seafood.

Find out more about buying local with our handy Local Food Guide to Mount’s Bay

Eating out in Newlyn

In the neighbouring town of Newlyn, the restaurant at the trendy Newlyn Filmhouse is the ideal spot to indulge in a pre-film meal of haddock and chips. Alternatively, explore the culinary delights at The Tolcarne Inn, a restaurant that has earned numerous accolades for its mouthwatering dishes inspired by Cornish produce. A new addition to the dining scene, Argoe, which opened its doors in 2021, specialises in fish landed from the dayboats right in front. Also worth a visit is the cosy wine bar Lovetts (artisan coffee and pastries by day, cocktails and charcuterie by night) and the Mackerel Seafood Bar on the seafront.

Eating out in Penzance

Renowned for its exceptional food, fine wines, and flawless service, The Shore Restaurant should be top of your list. Make sure you also check out the stylish Cornish Barn located at the Artist Residence on Chapel Street and the super cosy Totti for tasty pizzas, nestled in the heart of the town. For the finest coffee in town, head to The Cornish Hen, an award-winning deli that sells an assortment of local deli treats. Finally, if you’re seeking a lively atmosphere then 45 Queen Street, a newly established bar and kitchen, is the place to go. They place a strong emphasis on locally sourced food, craft beers, fine wines, and creative cocktails, including those make with their signature gin, Tinkture.

Things to do

Coastal adventures and tidal pools

With its sheltered coastline and string of intriguing caves (this area was a haven for smugglers), Mousehole is a perfect coasteering destination. Local lads Chris and Steve spent their childhood here and in 2010 set up Coasteering Adventures, which runs two-hour sessions of cliff jumping, sea swimming, rock climbing and exploring the area’s caves. If you’re looking to explore on your own, there’s a fantastic tidal pool just a few minutes’ walk north along the south west coast path from Mousehole village. It’s not very deep, but still a fascinating place to find some little sea creatures, and only a short climb from the path. Or head to the Jubilee Pool in Penzance for a next-level tidal pool experience. There’s even a geothermal pool if you’re not ready to brave the sea temperature.

 

A mosey around the galleries

This quiet corner of Cornwall is packed with galleries — in Mousehole, neighbouring Newlyn, and Penzance, just up the coast. In Mousehole, there are a couple of galleries that are worth a gander. The Tyler Gallery features a stunning collection of contemporary works by Cornish artists, whilst Seastar also includes works by jewellers and printmakers. Home to one of Cornwall’s most prestigious art schools, Newlyn has a number of galleries in the village, including the Newlyn Art Gallery & Exchange, which offers a wide and varied exhibition programme across the two sites (the Exchange being in Penzance). Also in Penzance you’ll find the wonderful art gallery and museum of Penlee House, set within sub-tropical gardens with cafe, Cornwall Contemporary, and the Lighthouse Gallery, to name just a few! If these haven’t quenched your thirst, St Ives’ galleries are only a half hour drive.

Mousehole to Lamorna Cove circular walk

This scenic circular starts at Mousehole harbour before joining to the coast path to Lamorna Cove. Along the way you’ll pass the woodlands of the nature reserve and circumnavigate the Carn Du headland, where you’ll be treated to breathtakin views. Continuing on, the path follows the rugged cliffs until you reach Lamorna Cove. On the return journey, you’ll pass through the historic Lamorna granite quarries and meander through the fields of clifftop farms that overlook St Clement’s Isle and St Michael’s Mount.

Trewidden Garden

Between February and September each year, this 15-acre garden at Trewidden House, a Grade II manor house outside Newlyn, opens to the public, showcasing over 300 magnolias and camellias and a maze of pathways meandering and small gardens such as the rock garden, the pond garden and the walled garden. It also includes a number of rare plant species. Planted in the 19th century, the house and garden has remained in the same family ever since and is a wonderful example of a traditional Cornish garden. There’s a great little tea room and gift shop on the grounds serving light lunches and artwork.

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