Wandering the narrow, winding streets of Polperro will give a taste of times gone by. This traditional fishing village set along the dramatic South Cornish coastline, between Looe and Fowey, is steeped in maritime history.
For centuries local families here were reliant on “Polperro pilchards” which were sold right across Europe. Nowadays, there is still an active fishing fleet but their catch is more varied. You can sample their wares in a number of local restaurants, pubs and cafes, or simply sit back and watch the fishermen at work in the harbour as you tuck into a fresh crab sandwich!
Polperro has an abundance of small, twisting lanes, most of which are simply not wide enough for modern vehicles. Some are little wider than footpaths, so leave your car in the main car park at Crumplehorn and from here you can walk, catch the bus or even take a horse and cart the half mile down into the village. The traffic-free zones allow you to explore the winding alleys of whitewashed fishermen’s cottages at your leisure.
It’s easy to imagine the hustle and bustle of people with loaded horse & carts rumbling past during Polperro’s smuggling heyday, or the scores of ladies lining the streets nimbly knitting fishermen’s jumpers, known locally as “knit-frocks”. On the harbour-side you can visit the Polperro Heritage Museum of Fishing and Smuggling to immerse yourself more fully in Polperro’s rich history.
The village and harbour is best seen at high tide, but at low tide a small beach appears so it’s possible to go for a paddle. The picturesque South West Coast Path runs right through the Polperro. If you walk east along the coast you’ll reach Talland Bay or alternatively hop in your car to visit other nearby sandy beaches including Seaton, Downderry, Lansallos and Lantic Bay. Regular boat trips run from the harbour offering fantastic views of the coastline and day trips to nearby Looe, and you might even spot dolphins and seals on your way!