Gently nestling around its own natural sea inlet and wedged back into the surrounding valley sides, Port Isaac has a timeless quality about it, and is probably everyone's idea of a quintessential Cornish fishing village. Narrow streets of slate capped and whitewashed cottages wind steeply down to its harbour, always a lively spot with the crabbers and fishing boats arriving to tie up and land their catch, much of which can be eaten in the surrounding restaurants only a few steps away. At the mouth of a deep, steep-sided valley, a rushing stream runs down through the colourful higgledy-piggledy cottages and into the sea over the harbour wall.
Weather-beaten mariners would long to catch sight of Port Isaac whilst trawling along the inhospitable coast and today, as an overnight stop for weary coast walkers, it is a cosy and welcoming place, with a healthy number of eating places in the village as well as nearby Port Gaverne. A taste of things to come ahead of you in cosmopolitan Padstow you can find everything from fish and chips at the harbour wall to highly rated restaurants serving international cuisine, and with fishing and crabbing still going on there is lots of locally caught lobster and shellfish to sample. Remember, don't go too wild if you need to negotiate infamous "Squeezebelly alley" on your return to bed!
Exploring these tiny lanes, or "drangs," you will find a pleasant handful of art galleries, café's and shops, as well as a working pottery overlooking the harbour. If you are here on a Friday night watch out for The Fisherman's Friends a group of local residents and fisherman, including the Postmaster, who gather at The Platt on the harbour wall to sing timeless sea shanties to anyone who cares to listen. A well protected conservation area since 1969 it may well look familiar having been the location of several films including ‘Saving Grace’, as well as providing yet another backdrop for Poldark and more recently the quirky "very Cornish (!)" village from the TV series Doc Martin. With a good range of facilities and an unspoilt backdrop, Port Isaac is one of the most welcome and picturesque stops on your walk. Those taking a rest day can get an unforgettable experience of the coves and sea caves by paddling a kayak to them from the harbour with Cornish Coast Adventures.