Polperro claims prime position in the centre of South East Cornwall’s Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB), affording visitors a limitless stock of picturesque panoramas. Lush valleys sink toward the untouched coastline and traditional fishing harbour, fusing unrivalled oceanic views with a stirring sense of nostalgia for a destination that looks and feels wonderfully away-from-it-all in both time and space.
Presiding over secluded smugglers coves, breathtaking coastal paths and the harbour’s hub of activity, Polperro is packed with eye candy. Imagine gazing out at the ever-changing seascapes beyond as boats lazily drift by. A holiday haven with a host of must-see sights nearby ensures that everyone from couples to families fall for Polperro’s waterside charms.
Where are the best beaches in Polperro?
The small and sandy stretch fringing the village is Polperro Beach, which boasts the brilliant backdrop of former smugglers haunt (and delightfully named), Willy Wilcox cave. Set into the granite rocks at the foot of Chapel Cliff, the fantastic south-facing tidal sea pool (Chapel Pool) was built in the1940s and remains a sun-spilled family favourite, though access down the steep cliffside can be tricky, so care and caution is advised.
Travelling eastward toward Looe, Talland Bay Beach is a beautiful stretch of easily accessible and dog friendly sands. Replete with rock pools and natural tidal pools, there’s also a café and several nearby car parks. Westward, you’ll encounter the mythological sounding, Lansallos Beach, which is a quieter (and dog friendly) option comprising sand, rocks and a miniature waterfall.
The next beach along is the wildly remote Lantic Bay. Getting there requires a little trek and cliff scaling, but once settled on the sand you’ll relish the views, natural scenery and romantic air of escapism. Further along, Polruan sits on the headland across from Fowey, where another waterside world of exploration eagerly awaits either on foot or ferry.
What other places near Polperro can we visit?
If you dare to leave the coast for some inland adventure, then follow some fascinating history with a detour to Pelynt, the former home of one of Cornwall’s most symbolic figures, Jonathan Trelawney, who inspired the Cornish National Anthem, The Song of the Western Men. The St Austell area is stacked with host of must-sees, including the world renowned, Eden Project, Lost Gardens of Heligan and nearby mining World Heritage Site (WHS) at Luxulyan Valley.
Nearby Lostwithiel is home to gorgeous country estates and gardens such as Lanhydrock, Restormel Castle and Boconnoc, presenting a spellbinding stop-off en route to Cornwall’s centre of majestic moorlands, granite hills and standing stones surrounding Bodmin. If you’re keen to continue hugging the coast, then venture west to the wonderful river port of Fowey, or head east to the lush riverside twin town of Looe.
What about walks and outdoor activities?
The South West Coast Path passes straight through Polperro, meaning that the village is the perfect starting point to explore the area’s incredible coastline. The Polperro to Looe coast walk is replete with religious association such as a Christian holy site and the ruins of a medieval chapel, while the Chapel Cliff walk is a short and scenic one-mile route round the village, with far-reaching vistas at various vantage points.
A more challenging route is between Polruan and Polperro, where seven miles of strenuous hiking will reward you with plenty of picture-perfect moments such as the jaw-dropping views provided from Blackbottle Rock. Cycle or wander your way round the spectacular range of woodlands including Deer Park Forest and nearby ancient and awe-inspiring, Kilminorth Woods.
With boat trips and ferries available from Polperro’s quayside as well as from nearby destinations Fowey and Looe, a wealth of maritime adventures can be enjoyed. Try your hand at shark fishing, take an excursion to Looe Island’s majestic Nature Reserve or embark upon a guided canoe tour of the coast.
Are there any attractions in and around Polperro?
The village itself is host to a surprising range of attractions, especially considering its diminutive size. Polperro Heritage Museum of Smuggling and Fishing is one of the main highlights, and is housed in the old pilchard factory on The Warren. Presenting an intriguing insight into the village’s history of fishing and smuggling through photographic records, memorabilia and ship models, it allows rare access to items that illustrate Polperro’s unique maritime heritage.
Polperro Arts Foundation is the studio-gallery showcasing arts and crafts from the village and surrounding areas, which also stages a series of events and activities such as regular open evenings along with workshops, music and fundraising.Polperro Model Village and Land of Legend allows visitors to feel like giants as they explore Polperro and a model railway in miniature while discovering more about Cornwall’s colourful legends courtesy of a special light, sound and animation show.
Travel slightly inland for a special treat for the kids at Lanreath Folk and Farm Museum, where they’ll discover a fabulous world of farming alongside engaging activities and interactive exhibitions.It features an array of dairy and barn equipment such as an old farmhouse kitchen, steamroller and stationary engine, along with various other artefacts. Conveniently, there’s also a café and pub next door.
A trio of nearby National Trust houses gives a further dose of rural living in southeast Cornwall. Lanhydrock is a stunning late Victorian estate near Bodmin where you can not only roam the historic house, but visitors can enjoy the extensive grounds via cycle trails, walking routes or even their weekly park run. Toward Torpoint, Antony House was captured on film in Tim Burton’s magical offering, Alice in Wonderland, where the stunning woodland gardens provided the perfectly atmospheric setting; while Cotehele’s captivating Tudor mansion nestled on the banks of the Tamar river in Saltash is an equally inspiring venue for a distinctive day out.
Are there any exciting events in Polperro?
Marking the start of summer in supreme style, Open Studios Cornwall is a countywide event where artists and craftspeople open their studio doors for an entire week to allow visitors exclusive access into their artistic space and to view their latest offerings and works-in-progress. Polperro’s proud involvement with the programme sees the Art Foundation studio-gallery overlooking the harbour become an even livelier venue for visitors interested in Polperro’s eclectic arts scene.
The annual, Polperro Music and Arts Festival is another anticipated event in the area’s schedule of entertainment. Crammed with comedy, art, dance, drama, music and poetry, the nine-day - and mostly free - summertime event follows a special theme staged across various venues and throughout the streets for a wonderfully festive vibe.