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Cornwall's Top 5 Harbour Towns! What To Do, How To Get There & What You Need To Know!

There really is a lot to love about Cornwall... Of course, there's the beautiful beaches, incredible coastline and outstanding natural beauty! But we can't forget about the quaint and picturesque harbour towns that add so much charm to the Cornish lifestyle! But which harbour towns and fishing villages should you visit most, how do you get there and what do you need to know? Find out in this blog post!

Here's a list of our top five favourite harbour towns and fishing villages to visit in Cornwall that are absolutely not to be missed!


Padstow & The Camel Estuary At Sunrise

1) Padstow


The Padstow Christmas Festival may have been and gone, but with narrow streets, quaint Cornish cottages and a working fishing harbour, there's still plenty of reasons to visit Padstow. On a nice day, there's even The Camel Trail for a spot of off-season cycling!

Getting there: Turn off at the Winnard's Perch roundabout between St Columb Major and Wadebridge on the A38 signposted for Padstow (B3274). Follow the road for about 6 miles and a park and ride will come up on your right as you enter Padstow. Alternatively, there are large car parks at the bottom of the hill if you continue down the main road a little further, taking the right turn that's signposted for the town center. Postcode PL28 8BL.


Read Our Top 5 Beaches In Cornwall HERE!

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2) St Ives


With The Tate Gallery and a bunch of surrounding beaches popular for surfing, it's a tough contender for the best harbour town in Cornwall! It could quite easily be Cornwall's most popular, which also makes it one of the busiest, but that's only for good reason.


Getting there: Turn off at the St Erth roundabout between Penzance and Hayle on the A30. Follow the road for just over 4 miles through Lenant and Carbis Bay following signs for St Ives. The streets do get narrow and are often very busy, so we would recommend using the railway station carpark (postcode TR26 2BH) and walking into the town. Another option is the absolutely stunning and relatively short train journey to St Ives from Lelant Saltings by taking a right turn at the first mini roundabout after exiting the St Erth roundabout, followed by a left turn signposted park and ride. Postcode TR27 6HB.


3) Penzance


Situated on Cornwall's south coast, Penzance offers an impressive view of St Michael's Mount, a special swimming experience at The Jubilee Pool or even get the ferry for a weekend away to the Isles Of Scilly! The town was also the first place in the UK to be awarded plastic-free status for their efforts in fighting plastic pollution and marine litter.

Getting there: Easily accessible from the A30, take the first exit at the Branwell Lane roundabout, follow the road for about half a mile and the harbour long stay car park will be signposted just after you pass the Penzance railway station. Postcode TR18 2GA.


Read Our Top 5 Quieter Harbour Towns In Cornwall HERE!

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4) Porthleven


A hotspot for surfers and the hosts of a food and music festival every April, Porthleven is another quaint and quirky harbour town on Cornwall's south coast. You might've also seen in my previous blog post about storm watching spots, Porthleven has become quite iconic!

Getting there: Heading towards Helston on the south coast, turn off from the A394 onto the B3304 and follow the road to Porthleven. In the town center, follow signposts for Kittos Field carpark. Postcode TR13 9JX.


5) Port Isaac


A smaller but not much quieter harbour town, and one that you might recognise from the TV series Doc Martin staring Martin Clunes. Port Isaac is a great place to visit all year round with it's whitewashed cottages, welcoming local community and picturesque surrounding countryside. There's even the occasional performance by shanty singers Fisherman's Friends!


Getting there: Driving between Wadebridge and Camelford on the A39, your next step is to get onto the B3314 which runs parallel to the A39 but closer to the coast. There are lots of country lanes that join the two roads, but they're very narrow so we recommend getting straight on to the B3314 in Wadebridge by the leisure center. You can then follow the road for about 7 miles which is most of the way, before taking a signposted left turn onto the B3267 and following it all the way to Port Isaac for about 2 miles. The car park you will ideally be heading to is St Endellion carpark (postcode PL29 3SG), but there is a bigger carpark a longer walk away (postcode PL29 3TR).


Click here for more of our favourite places, beaches and things to do in Cornwall!

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What's your favourite place in Cornwall? Leave a comment below to let us know!

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