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A Cornish Affair: Exploring Polperro, the Quintessential Fishing Village

submitted on 15 May 2023 by
Forget about the crowded beaches of St. Ives, and put aside the popular surf spots of Newquay - there is a lesser-known yet utterly charming side to Cornwall that deserves your attention. Nestled along the southeast coast of Cornwall lies Polperro, a picturesque fishing village that has managed to retain its old-world charm through the centuries. Offering stunning coastal scenery, winding streets, and quirky local folklores, Polperro is a delightful and unexpected Cornish adventure waiting to be discovered.

Tracing the Steps of Smugglers

Polperro has a rich history of smuggling and fishing, dating back to the 18th and 19th centuries. The village's secluded location and rocky coastline made it an ideal spot for smugglers to hide their loot, leading to countless tales of illicit activities and daring characters. Start your visit with a trip to the Polperro Heritage Museum, which delves into the fascinating stories of smuggling and fishing in the village. Discover how the infamous Zephaniah Job, known as the "Smugglers' Banker," organized illegal operations and helped transform Polperro into a prosperous village. Don't forget to pick up a map of the Smugglers' Trail, a guided walk that will lead you through the village's historic landmarks and hidden spots used by these swashbuckling rogues!

Wandering the Narrow Streets

One of the most enchanting aspects of Polperro is its labyrinth of narrow, winding streets and alleyways, flanked by charming fisherman's cottages. Many of these characterful homes date back to the 16th century and have been lovingly restored to their former glory. Stroll down the Warren, one of Polperro's most famous streets, and admire the delightful architecture that has inspired countless artists over the years. While wandering these quaint streets, keep an eye out for the "Rebellion Stones," a series of curious carvings on some of the buildings. These stones, bearing symbols such as crossed keys and pistols, are said to represent the villagers' defiance against the taxman and a reminder of their smuggling past.

Exploring the Great Outdoors

Polperro's stunning coastal location means that there are plenty of opportunities for visitors to enjoy the great outdoors. The South West Coast Path, which stretches for 630 miles from Somerset to Dorset, passes right through Polperro, offering a fantastic way to explore Cornwall's breathtaking coastline. For a more leisurely stroll, meander along the Cliffside Walk to Talland Bay, a journey that offers unrivaled views of the surrounding landscapes and a chance to spot wildlife, such as seals and dolphins. If you're feeling particularly brave, why not take a dip in the crystal-clear waters of the bay? Just don't forget to bring a wetsuit, as these Atlantic waters are known to be rather refreshing!

Sampling the Local Fare

  • The Blue Peter Inn: Hailed by many as the best pub in Polperro, The Blue Peter Inn offers a warm and welcoming atmosphere, a fantastic selection of local ales, and delicious pub grub. Try their locally caught fish and chips, and wash it all down with a pint of Cornish ale.
  • Michelle's Restaurant: For a more refined dining experience, head to Michelle's Restaurant, where you can indulge in sumptuous seafood dishes and other Cornish specialties, all while enjoying stunning views of the harbor.
  • Polperro Bakery: Don't leave Polperro without sampling a traditional Cornish pasty! Pop into the Polperro Bakery and treat yourself to one of their freshly baked, mouth-watering pasties, filled with succulent meats and vegetables.

Attending the Annual Polperro Festival

If you're lucky enough to visit Polperro in June, be sure to attend the Polperro Festival, a week-long celebration of the village's history and culture. This lively event features live music, street performers, delicious local food, and a whole host of workshops and events for all ages. The festival culminates in a vibrant procession through the village, followed by a spectacular fireworks display over the harbor. It's a Cornish bash not to be missed!

Resting Your Weary Head

After exploring the delights of Polperro, rest your weary head in one of the village's many cozy accommodations. Choose from charming bed and breakfasts, such as the Claremont Hotel or the Crumplehorn Inn, or indulge in a luxurious stay at the five-star Penryn House Hotel. No matter your preference, you're guaranteed to wake up feeling refreshed and ready for another day of Cornish adventures! In conclusion, Polperro offers a delightful escape from the hustle and bustle of modern life, allowing visitors to step back in time and immerse themselves in the enchanting world of a traditional Cornish fishing village. Whether you're exploring its smuggling history, wandering its narrow streets, or simply enjoying a locally caught seafood dish, Polperro is a Cornish affair you'll never forget.

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