Your North Cornwall holiday wouldn’t be complete without a trip to the beautiful village of Port Isaac. Not only is this diminutive destination extremely quaint, but it was also the backdrop to hit television series Doc Martin and is home to the Fisherman’s Friends. An active fishing village since the early fourteenth century, Port Isaac is best known for its narrow streets, white-washed cottages and traditional granite houses.
If browsing local pottery sounds up your alley, visit Kiln. This design-led studio can be found on one of Port Isaac’s many winding streets, right in the heart of the village. Discover their range of unique ceramics, art pieces, Scandinavian homeware and Cornish gifts. Designs are inked and painted by Sue Pullin and all bone china is fired in kilns in their Port Isaac studio.
It wouldn’t be Port Isaac without the presence of Nathan Outlaw. Feast on the absolute best of the Cornish catch at one of his two seafood restaurants in the village. Both restaurant’s are about as laid back and cosy as Michelin star, fine dining gets. From Outlaw’s New Road, you can sit back and enjoy commanding views of the coast below, while Outlaw’s Fish Kitchen provides stunning views of the harbour as the day’s catch is brought in from the sea.
A word of warning – parking in Port Isaac can be hard to find. While there’s a carpark next door to Outlaw’s New Road, during peak season you may want to hire a taxi or give yourself plenty of time to walk down the hill from the bigger carpark up top…
The Mote Restaurant sits right on the slipway and if it doesn’t lure you in with its perfect location and historic charm, it might with its menu of fresh Cornish produce. No doubt you’ll be leaving the restaurant satisfied after a hearty plate of seafood and an evening drink. Word on the grapevine is that the Mote fish pie is so good it’s award-winning (so, we know what we’re ordering).
For a dreamy stay cosying up in a fisherman’s cottage, we recommend Hillside Cottage designed by Anouska Lancaster. From the outside Hillside is all rustic Cornish charm, located on a street that gently slopes towards the sea. But step inside and décor is punchy and vibrant. In its terraced garden you can warm your feet up by the fire pit, and watch the waves lap against the shore. If Hillside is fully booked, it’s worth checking out its equally beautiful sister building, Rose Cottage.
This characterful, whitewashed restaurant and hotel sits atop a green cliff with commanding views of Port Isaac. It’s worth checking out the restaurant to witness the gorgeous, postcard views of the harbour’s calm comings and goings. If the weather is fine, they also have an outside decked eating area.
Jump out of your comfort zone (with the reassurance of a guide) and plunge into the deep. Cornish Rock Tors will lead you through adrenaline fuelled coasteering sessions or to hidden bays and sea caves on kayaks or paddle boards.
Just along the North coast from Port Isaac is the quiet cove of Port Quin. It’s an idyllic little inlet, popular with walkers and kayakers, that used to be a fishing port. Admire its unspoilt shoreline by following the coastal path. This is a more private spot for those seeking peace and quiet.
Find Doc Martin’s House
Of course, a trip to this iconic fishing village wouldn’t be complete without discovering some of the destinations made famous by Doc Martin. Port Isaac plays the fictional Cornish village of ‘Portwenn’ in the television series, which is interestingly enough the old name of nearby Port Quin.
Fern Cottage is arguably one of the most recognisable Doc Martin locations, drawing fans from all over the world to flock to Doctor Ellingham’s surgery. You can find the granite-fronted house on the cliffside by walking 100 metres past the harbour and up the hill towards the coast path for Port Quin.
In the village itself you’ll recognise The Liberal Club as the village shop in the series, while Doc Martin’s local is The Golden Lion Pub (which is often filled with the cast and crew during filming). A handful of private residences double as locations for the show, including Mrs Tishell’s chemist shop which is a house called Little Dolphins in Middle Street. Central Garage on New Road is the show’s fruit and veg shop, while Louisa’s home on Fore Street and Bert’s Restaurant are only a short stroll from Fern Cottage.