Cornwall fishing villages you need to visit
Fishing has been a way of life in Cornwall for hundreds of years and still continues to provide jobs and tourism to these wonderful Cornish villages to this day. Fishing villages all around the county still pull in interest even in the modern world that we live in today. A visit to one of these quaint locations will be like stepping back in time, with historic fishing cottages, bobbing boats in small, enclosed harbours and a close-knit culture unlike any other.
If you’re looking at choosing a caravan holiday park in Cornwall for your next staycation, then read on to find some of the best fishing villages to meander around on your visit.
Cornwall fishing villages you need to visit:
- St Mawes
- Port Isaac
Known to date back to the 6th century, Padstow is one of the best-known fishing villages in Cornwall and is thought to attract more than 500,000 visitors a year. Still a working port, Padstow is a quaint village with a lot to offer, including delicious food at one of its many restaurants. Home to Rick Stein’s Seafood Restaurant and at the end of the Camel Cycle Trail, the village is a great stopping point after a day of exploring the Cornish countryside.
Angela who blogs about her travels across the globe on Where Angie Wanders recommended Padstow as one of the best fishing villages in Cornwall, commenting: “From Padstow to St Mawes the charming fishing villages scattered around the Cornish coastline are a must-see for any visitor to the South of England. Padstow is by far one of the most popular of Cornwall’s villages made famous by chef Rick Stein and the fish restaurants he owns there but step away from the main harbour and wander the cobbled streets to experience the historic fishing village of Padstow away from the crowds.”
Things to do in Padstow:
- Eat at Rick Stein’s Seafood Restaurant
- Explore Prideaux Place
- Cycle on the Camel Trail
- Take a boat ride from Padstow Harbour
- Visit in May and join in on the ancient Obby Oss Parade
A location that looks like it could be from the cover of a postcard, St Mawes is a quaint fishing village at the end of the Roseland Peninsula. Angela also recommends St Mawes as a great spot for those visiting Cornwall:
“My favourite fishing village in Cornwall is St Mawes where time seems to have stood still. Overlooked by the picturesque St Mawes Castle and gardens this quintessential village is another lovely place to explore before stopping for refreshments at one of the hotels overlooking the harbour where you can see the fishermen returning with their daily haul.”
With a vibrant community spirit, the natural harbour that the village sits alongside is claimed to be one of the largest in the world since its formation in the Ice Age. Home to the English Heritage run St Mawes Castle which looks out across the river to Pendennis Castle in Falmouth, the location is simply breathtaking and a great choice for those looking to spend the day away from the bustle of life.
Things to do in St Mawes:
- Visit St Mawes Castle
- See the water from St Mawes Ferry
- Wander around Lamorran House Garden
- Walk around St. Anthony Head
READ MORE: The Top 4 Castles in Cornwall
Known for centuries due to its vibrant and bustling boat-building businesses which date back to 1745, Mevagissey is another popular fishing village in Cornwall. Most of the small fishing cottages are made out of traditional Cornish building materials including cob and slate which bear testimony to its rich history and influential fishing heritage.
Sitting on the south coast of the county, Mevagissey is a great location for local fishing trips and boat rides to see the wonderful coastline and catch a glimpse of some local wildlife. The narrow, cobbled streets are lined with seaside gift shops, craft workshops, tempting cafés and restaurants and local galleries, not to mention an abundance of fish and chip shops.
Things to do in Mevagissey:
- Hop on the Mevagissey to Fowey ferry
- Learn about the village history at Mevagissey Museum
- Enjoy art at the David Weston Gallery
- Enjoy a sweet treat at The Cornish Fudge Shop
READ MORE: The Best Places to Eat Seafood in Cornwall
Situated just a few miles from the market town of Penzance, Mousehole is a village with a wealth of history. Commonly known for being ransacked by the Spanish in July 1595 when all but one house was burnt to the ground (which still stands to this day). Even though the village had to be rebuilt in the 16th century, it still retains its quaint Victorian charm with bustling narrow streets that are home to a selection of small, independent shops and cafes.
Solo Sophie wrote about Mousehole in a recent blog post, describing the history of the village in a little more detail: “Somewhere between Penzance and Land’s End, the sleepy village of Mousehole lies on the edge of Mount’s Bay and has been inhabited for centuries. Mousehole (which is actually pronounced ‘mausel’) is built of predominantly traditional Cornish architecture, all granite façades and slate roof cottages.
“Right up until the 16th century, Mousehole was one of the main ports of this part of Cornwall, and as such, gained plenty of wealth and prestige. During the Middle Ages, this fishing town was well-known for its abundance of fairs, markets, and festivals.”
Things to do in Mousehole:
- Take on the Mousehole to Lamorna Cove Circular Walk
- Seek out the Fitzroy Barometer
- Explore Mousehole Harbour
- Take a look at the art in The Mowzer Gallery
Port Isaac has been a fishing village since the 14th century and its winding streets offer an insight into days gone by with its granite and white sand wash cottages and narrow lanes. Commonly known as being the backdrop of the popular ITV series Doc Martin which star Martin Clunes. The village is also home to the famous traditional shanty band Fisherman’s Friends which has seen been made into a feature-length film.
There is plenty to keep you occupied in Port Isaac, take a wander down one of the narrowest thoroughfares in Britain, conveniently named Squeezy Belly Alley, take a walk from the village along the coast path or explore the coast on a boat trip, which we think is one of the best ways to explore the area.
Things to do in Port Isaac:
- Take a Doc Martin walking tour
- See the Fisherman’s Friends perform live
- Make some pottery at Port Isaac Pottery
- Walk a portion of the Southwest Coast Path
If the history of Cornwall intrigues you and you want to experience some of the very best historic fishing villages in the county, then hopefully this guide will have given you a little inspiration on where to go on your next Cornwall holiday.
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