Polperro is picture-perfect Cornwall: a jumble of pretty cottages wedged along twisting streets that wend and wind down its cliff ravine location to a tiny harbour… a photographer’s dream, it is captured on countless postcards, in paintings and on tourists’ cameras.
Considered one of Cornwall’s prettiest villages, Polperro is one of the county’s most popular to visit. Its protected harbour is the scene of colourful fishing smacks and while tourism is the village’s economic mainstay, its traditional business from the sea continues.
The days of Polperro as the notorious haunt of smugglers may have gone, however reminders remain with attractions such as the Museum of Smuggling and Willy Wilcox cave and beach – said to have been the spot for bringing ashore contraband. Other smugglers’ coves at Talland and Lantivet Bay can be reached by taking the coastal path. Polperro’s cellars once used to store illegal gains such as brandy and tobacco now house crafts and restaurants.
Today craft arriving and leaving from Polperro are made up of those of working fishermen, passenger carrying pleasure cruises and organised fishing trips. A tidal sea pool by Chapel Rock at the harbour’s western entrance can be reached, with care, by steep cliff steps.
Polperro is on the outstandingly beautiful South Cornwall Heritage Coast which stretches for 80 miles. Many streets are extremely narrow – and visitors should stroll hither and thither admiring Saxon and Roman bridges, fish quay, the 16th century home of natural Dr. Jonathan Couch, the old Watch House and famous House on the Props along route. The latter, a listed building now used as lodging and restaurant is said to have boasted a secret staircase from the river and has a savoury history. There are plenty of pubs, cafes, gift shops and galleries to enjoy.
Once so isolated that supplies came in via sailing ship, Polperro can be easily reached by 30-minute drive from CLC Trenython Manor; the main car park lies at the north end of the village from where you can walk in (10-15mins) or, in summer, ride a quaint bus or horse and cart to and from the centre.