Porthleven has one of the most impressive harbours in Cornwall – it’s an enchanting place that has been standing for nearly 200 years.
Located in an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, Porthleven is a perfect base for exploring this magical coastline with fantastic places to visit, local beaches and wonderful eateries to stop by. Its relaxing atmosphere and panoramic views across Mount’s Bay make it a destination that people return to again and again.
Read our guide to the top things to do in Porthleven and begin planning your getaway to this fantastic coastal town or get inspired by browsing our collection of cottages in Porthleven.
Skip to section
The west-facing coastline is great for water sports or just soaking up the sun during warmer months – and during the winter, it’s a magical, dramatic place for long adventurous walks following the South West Coast Path. Discover all the most scenic beaches near Porthleven.
Offering 3 miles of glorious sand, Porthleven Beach is next to the granite pier of the harbour and accessed from Porthleven village. Set in the middle of a huge sweeping bay, this long, golden beach is ideal for a relaxing bucket and spade holiday. It’s also popular for its surf, and if you don’t partake, you can still watch some of the bravest venture out to sea.
- Parking: There’s a choice of pay and display car parks in Porthleven
- Facilities: Shops, places to eat and WCs in the town of Porthleven
- Safety: RNLI lifeguard summer cover
- Dogs: A seasonal dog ban is in place from 1 July to 31 August, however, there is a designated dog-friendly area to the east end of the beach where dogs are welcome all year!
Car parking in Cornwall can be tricky as it’s such a popular destination and these ancient fishing villages were not built for our modern vehicles. To make your holiday easy and relaxed, plan ahead with our Cornwall car parking guide.
Loe Bar Beach
Loe Bar Beach is a half-mile shingle bank which separates the Loe, the largest natural freshwater lake in Cornwall, from the sea. It’s just a mile from Porthleven and is a beautiful seaside spot to have a relaxing coastal stroll or a rest on the sand. Legend goes that the waters around here claim a life every seven years, which may have a grain of truth as the waters around here are known to be beautiful but dangerous.
- Parking: There is a small car park to the east of Porthleven, just under a mile away
- Facilities: No facilities
- Safety: No lifeguard cover and it is not safe for swimming
- Dogs: Allowed all year, although the water is treacherous so it’s advised not to let your dog swim here
Rinsey is a secluded hidden gem of a beach that’s 2.5 miles from Porthleven and is accessible at low tide. The beach itself and surrounding coastline is owned and cared for by the National Trust and is a stunning area, with the recently restored engine house above the cove offering picture-postcard photo opportunities. The beach is backed by high cliffs and there’s a bit of a climb down to the bottom, but worth it for this delightful spot.
- Parking: National Trust car park at Rinsey
- Facilities: No facilities
- Safety: No lifeguard cover
- Dogs: Allowed all year!
Cornwall is famed for its long, glistening, sandy beaches boasting exquisite scenery, fantastic conditions for water sports and charming beachfront cafes where you can unwind with a coffee and a view. Discover more of our favourites in our guide to Cornwall’s best beaches.
Eating out in Porthleven
Porthleven offers everything from quirky cafes to fine dining restaurants, all serving fresh, seasonal foods. With the variety of venues and menus, you’ll no doubt find something to please everyone.
Begin at this fantastic, contemporary, award-winning restaurant on Porthleven’s harbourfront. Kota Restaurant is the brainchild of chef Jude who works to create culinary delights with his signature Asian twist. It has been awarded three AA rosettes and the mouth-watering menu options include smoked shallots, gurnard and ox cheek dishes.
Location: Harbour Head, Porthleven, TR13 9JA
Porthleven's Harbour View Cafe
This popular, quaint café is a wonderful place to stop off and pick up a snack or grab lunch between busy beach days and coastal walks. At Porthleven’s Harbour View Café, they do classic café grub including a choice of sandwiches, homemade sausage rolls or scampi and chips, but they also do a range of hearty big breakfasts so you can start your day right.
Location: Mount Pleasant Rd, Porthleven, Helston TR13 9JS
The Corner Deli
Head to The Corner Deli for a locally roasted Yallah coffee or to pick up fantastic local produce to take back to your holiday cottage to cook up! They also have a wonderful wood-fired pizza oven so you can pick up a slice, choose something from their wine selection and settle down to people-watch while you indulge.
Location: 12 Fore Street, Porthleven, Helston TR13 9HJ
Cornwall is a foodie haven with unexpected surprises around every corner. To find more tantalising places to eat, take a look through our guide to Cornwall’s food and drink.
Porthleven activities and attractions
There are plenty of exciting things to do in Porthleven and throughout the surrounding area, with the lovely town of Helston just 2.5 miles inland and the famous St Michael’s Mount set 8 miles north. Look forward to an action-packed holiday bursting with adventures during your stay on Cornwall’s west coast.
Porthleven’s harbour markets
Ensure you plan a trip to Porthleven's harbour markets during your stay to see what delicious artisan foods and local produce are on offer. Alongside fantastic food and drink, you’ll also find handmade clothing, homeware and jewellery, and vintage and antique ware too. The markets consist of the outdoor market that takes place on the harbourfront, and an indoor option called The Shipyard Market.
Holidays in Porthleven
Escape to this exquisite coastal town for an unforgettable holiday with family and friends. With a stunning harbour, award-winning places to dine, and golden sand beaches to visit, Porthleven is a perfect place for a Cornish getaway. Get inspired by our Porthleven cottage collection.
Disclaimer: Whilst every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of the information at the time of writing,
please ensure you check carefully before making any decisions based on the contents within this article.