Polperro, squeezed into a steep wooded ravine, can lay claim to being one of the most infamous of all the Cornish fishing villages for its ruthless, though colourful, smuggling history. It even has a museum dedicated to the dubious activities of its notorious former residents (well worth a visit).
Beautifully scenic and quite dramatic, Polperro is a concentration of all things Cornish: traditional fishing boats (there’s still a small working fleet here); nets strewn across the quayside, and old fishermen’s cottages perched on hills or lining the whitewashed warren of lanes and side streets. And pubs. Really superb pubs offering up perfect pints, fresh seafood lunches, good conversation, and often, as night draws in, a good dose of proper Cornish folk songs.
Quiet and soothingly peaceful in winter, Polperro comes to life in the summer with cream teas and horse drawn carts, art galleries, craft shops and antiques to browse. It’s a wonderful village – of which its inhabitants are rightly proud – and it’s an essential stop on any tour of South East Cornwall.
PS: If you’re driving here, whatever you do, use the car park at the top then grab one of the lovely buses or old-fashioned taxis down into the village proper. Watching visitors wedge their cars down lanes so narrow you could barely fit a bike in them, because the GPS told them to, is fast becoming a locals summer sport. You have been warned.
Polperro Festival of Lights, 18-26 June, 2011
A week-long free event in and around the streets of Polperro: music, art, comedy, dance troupes, brass bands, bell ringers, morris dancers, a fun run, the carnival, a picnic on the beach and even bingo! Line-up includes: Mad Dog McCrea, The Rock-A-Toons, Opium, Shoot The Crow, Southern Jelly and Alison Smith. Full programme at polperrofestiv...lights.co.uk