Explore Port Isaac: 7 Ways To Experience Doc Martin’s Home
Port Isaac on Cornwall’s north coast has no shortage of tourists due to the phenomenal success of Doc Martin.
Fans from all over the world flock to the fishing village to see the fictional Portwenn for themselves, but often these tours are too brief.
In fact, Joe Absolom, who has starred on the show since its launch, told Cornwall Life magazine that the majority of people “want to see Doc’s house, have a pizza and go.”
And that’s a shame, because there is more to see and do in this picturesque old port.
Grab a pint at the Golden Lion Inn
The Golden Lion pub should not be missed as it is located on the main road which winds through the village. He appears regularly in Doc Martin and was also featured in the film Fisherman’s Friends on the local slum singers group.
Inside you’ll find the kind of cozy fireside seating that makes you dream of winter nights, while outside there’s a small terrace with harbor views. Dating back to the 18th century, this pub is steeped in maritime history, including a smuggling tunnel that leads to the causeway.
Where is it: 10, rue Fore, PL29 3RB
Stroll along the hidden alleys
Far from the seafront, Port Isaac is a maze of alleys and alleys, too often overlooked by visitors to the village.
Take the time, if you can, to stroll through the thicket passages lined with old fishermen’s houses and let yourself be transported through the decades.
A must-see is Squeeze Belly Alley, a narrow tunnel that goes from Fore Street to Dolphin Street and lives up to its name. So much so that you will be tempted to inhale before entering.
Walk to Lobber
For the best panoramic views of Port Isaac, head to Roscarrock Hill on the left side of the village facing the sea. This will take you to Lobber Point, the part of the coast that juts out into the sea.
Look back and you will have a wonderful view of the whole village, as well as the coast towards Tintagel.
On the way, you’ll pass Grade II Fern Cottage, also known as Doc Martin’s Doctor’s Office and Home, which you can rent out if you don’t mind people looking through the windows.
Click here to visit the rental site
Parking with a view
If you can, find a spot in the paid, posted parking lot at the top of the cliff that is between Port Isaac and the nearby cove of Port Gaverne and follow the coastal path down into the village.
From here you can see for miles the rugged coastline that makes North Cornwall so famous, as well as spot the trawlers heading for the next fresh seafood catch. If you’re lucky, you might even spot a seal or two.
Entering the village from this angle, you will pass the Old School Hotel-Restaurant. Back then, local kids were learning here before running around the clifftop playground. You will also pass in front of the benches where the old fishermen gathered for “a thread”.
Enjoy fish and chips on the platt
For a small village, Port Isaac has become a foodie’s paradise since Michelin-starred chef Nathan Outlaw took up residence.
If you can’t wait for a reservation slot or fancy something a little nicer in your pocket, treat yourself to a fish and chips. There are a few options in the village, including The Takeaway at the top of Fore Street. Dip them in salt and vinegar and enjoy them straight from the box on the platt (a local word for the harbor) as you watch the fishing boats come and go.
And if you fancy taking some fish with you, head to Dennis Knight Fish Merchant, right next to the harbor lobster pots. You won’t be much cooler.
Listen to live music
Port Isaac is synonymous with the all-male local singing group Fisherman’s Friends, which rose to worldwide fame but continues to sing songs in Port Isaac. Throughout the summer months you can also enjoy the nostalgic sound of the St Breward Silver Band when they perform on the platt at sunset. One of the traditional highlights is following the group through the alleys for the flora dance, which the locals have been practicing for decades.
Spend a night in the bird cage
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Port Isaac’s narrow lanes are filled with low-slung houses and chocolate box cottages, but one of the more quirky buildings is the Birdcage, a tiny three-story house that looks like something out of a fairy tale.
This one-bedroom pentagonal paver was once a shoemaker, but it’s now a National Trust property where two guests can enjoy a memorable stay, although you have to be careful not to bang your head.
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