Polperro harbour has always been and remains a working fishing port and at high tide you can watch the local boats unload their daily catch and take it to the fish quay on the inner harbour. If you talk nicely to the fishermen, you may even be able to acquire the freshest fish you have ever tasted – caught that day and probably still flapping! When the fishermen are not out at sea, they can usually be found mending their nets and pots down on the harbour quay – or enjoying a pint in one of the many superb pubs. Quite a number of fishermen are involved in providing the many fishing and boat trips that you can take from the quay at Polperro including pleasure cruises to Fowey and Looe.
Sheltered in its cliff inlet, Polperro is an exciting maze of narrow streets, small lanes, alley ways and tightly packed historic houses leading down to an unspoilt, picturesque harbour and coastline – an absolute delight to explore. Most of Polperro is largely inaccessible to motor vehicles and so it is very safe to walk around. The main car park is situated at the top of the village and it is a nice gentle half mile walk past the shops, pubs, restaurants and cafes down to the harbour. There are also trams available to and from the car park all year round.
Polperro is host to the annual Polperro Festival in June, a week of arts, crafts, live music and Morris Dancing, this long running event is a popular choice with our guests, many of whom return each year. Another popular event is the New Year Fancy Dress Party, this sees the whole village, and many visitors, engage in a night of revelry and merry making, against a back drop of the village and harbour decorated with Festive lights.
If you are interested in architecture and history, then there are countless historic houses and buildings of interest in the village. For example The Shell House, this is one of the most photographed properties in the village and was owned by Mr Samuel Puckey a retired naval man, he decorated the property using his lifetime's collection of shells from around the world. He started work in 1937 and it apparently took him five years to complete. You can now holiday at The Shell House which has been restored to a splendid family home.
Another example is Couch's House which dates from 1595 and in the 19th century was lived in by Dr. Jonathan Couch, physician, naturalist and collector of fossils. Dr Couch’s History of Polperro, first published in 1871, provides a fascinating insight into the life of Polperro people, and their work and customs in the 18th and 19th centuries.
Fishing wasn’t the only thriving industry in the 19th Century. Knitting was a necessary occupation for women and girls in Polperro, much of it done out of doors along the paths overlooking the harbour while waiting for the return of the boats, or watching the landing and weighing on the quay. In Polperro these garments were known as Knit-Frocks and the village was the source of contract knitters for more than a century. The tradition is still alive today, on a much smaller scale of course and as a source of pleasure rather than profit, and it was the subject of a BBC2 ‘Coast’ programme in 2013.
Polperro literally oozes with history and if you are interested in finding out more, including smuggling and fishing, we recommend you visit the Polperro Heritage Museum, open every day from March to October and packed with interesting artefacts and displays of the life and customs of Polperro through the centuries.
But if you seek total relaxation and wish to escape the hectic pace of modern life, come to Polperro and simply sit and watch time slip away as the boats gently bob up and down in the picturesque harbour. Polperro is an ideal destination whatever the time of year - all you need do is soak up the peace and tranquillity.