Visiting the idyllic village of Polperro is like stepping back to the history of Cornwall itself. The narrow streets of this ancient fishing village reveal constructions almost untouched by the time.
Cornwall conserves its history as a smuggling port dated back to the 12th century.
“From Cornwall, illegal contraband would go overland to large cities to be sold without the taxman finding out.” – The Little Book of Cornwall
Some characters like Zephaniah Job was part of its history. He was a local merchant that “controlled” Polperro’s smuggling activities in the 18th century. He was known as the “smugglers´ banker” and goods such as spirit and tobacco boosted the income of local fishmen in Polperro.
There are plenty of things to spot and do in this fascinating village. So, here’s my best tips:
- Walking stroll through history:
My first contact with Polperro was by the footpath that we took yet in Talland Bay. It’s a stunning journey through the South-East coast in a moderate walk that last almost two hours. It could be done in less time. But it just took us a little bit longer than expected because it impossible to not appreciate the stunning sea and river Pol view during the journey.
You are welcomed by gorgeous cottages placed in the steep hill that takes you down to the harbour. This village is an invitation to have a proper walking stroll along its quirky shops, art galleries and restaurants and cafés. So, don’t forget your comfortable shoes.
It is always busy, but no cars are allowed in its narrow lanes, for obvious reasons. It is walking in the narrow lanes of the village that you will find the best photo opportunities too. This walking will take you to harbour, where you will understand why this is one of the most beautiful Cornish villages.
- Visit the Museum of Smuggling and Fishing:
After having a walk around, it is likely you will want to understand a bit more about the History of Polperro itself. The best way to do it is visiting The Museum of Smuggling and Fishing.
It is not permitted to take photos inside. But there is something about the people that makes the history of Polperro that will keep you more and more interested about it.
From the collection of photos portraying life in the village in the 18th century to items that made the fishing industry so presented in Cornish villages. The admission is just £3.
- What about a scenic boat trip?
One of the most beautiful memories I had from Polperro came from the boat trip we did during the village. It is just invigorating to see the village from the sea and have the same perspective of a fishmen that is arriving to the village.
The daily boat trips run even in the winter, weather permitting, of course. It is a popular attraction and it worth it to spend some minutes waiting to get on board, if necessary. The trip takes us to the magnificent Cornish coastline where is expected to see bird life and wildlife, as well as the caves, cliffs and nature beauty in the area.
It is a guided tour, so you won`t miss a chance of knowing more about this fascinating area. Our boat trip cost only £6 each.
- Seafood glorious food:
Visiting a fishmen village can be advantageous to seafood enthusiasts. Many restaurants and pubs of Polperro will serve fresh food. So, let’s make the most of this experience, please. I wouldn`t even say no for a fish and chips indulgence by the harbour. It is a takeaway with a view!
- Embrace the scenic and relaxing life
Oh yes, it is a very busy spot for tourism. But believe or not, Polperro is also a place to relax. The views from the Chapel Rock from the top or the sandy tidal beach are impressive and a great way of relaxing. As a natural pool, this sandy tidal beach has been also used as a swimming pool to teach children how to swim.
Polperro has plenty to offer for visitors during the year, and it is great to know that such a small village has so much to see and do. Take your own pace to enjoy it with care!
Photos | Rob Dann