Porthleven is now one of the most popular holiday destinations in Cornwall. A fishing village, with a pretty harbour in the centre, Porthleven appeals to holiday makers of all ages, from those looking for somewhere interesting and relaxing to stay, with spectacular coastal views and walks, to families whose children would just like to play on the beach all day.
It's charm lies in the fact that it is still very much an unspoilt working village, where fishing is still an important part of local life, and where various artists and craftsmen and women have chosen to work, inspired by the scenery and special Cornish way of life. Local people and holiday makers love to watch as the fishermen set off to sea from the harbour in their colourful boats and many are tempted to book fishing trips or coastal cruises on some of the local boats.
In the summertime there are concerts from the local band and local choirs along the harbourside - in fact there is usually something going on most of the time, in and out of the main holiday season. One of the real highlights is when dolphins and seals come to visit, swimming close to the village pier.
Those not lucky enough to catch their own supper can visit the village fishmongers instead, or stroll along the harbour to one of the increasing number of specialist businesses based in Porthleven, including a willow and hat-making workshop, an art gallery, and a jewellers which specialises in original, hand-made pieces. There is also an excellent choice of restaurants, pubs and shops selling locally made gifts.
The walks are spectacular, with the coastal path either side of the village, leading in one direction to Loe Pool, the county's largest inland freshwater lake and the Penrose Estate, run by the National Trust. It is easy to see why so many holidaymakers return to Porthleven year in, year out.
Did You Know?
In the summer of 1810 a prospectus was printed relating to the "Prince of Wales' Harbour, to be constructed at Porthleven." It stated : "The frequent occurrence of wrecks in the Mount's Bay, and the distressing calamities thereby produced on lives and property, have been a matter of serious reflection with many persons for some time past. Within a very short space of time, not less than twelve vessels have been lost near, and within sight of, the inhabitants of Porthleven."
Engineers had surveyed the cove and demonstrated that it was possible to build an extensive harbour, giving much needed safe shelter for local fishermen as well. They often found themselves in great danger out at sea if the winds changed, as their nearest ports were eighteen miles westwards. They would pull up their nets, abandon their catch, and run at great risk to the western ports of Mousehole and Newyn for safety.
They also had to pay one third of the catch as dues to these ports, which provided the only convenient curing places. Porthleven would have its own curing house with the construction of the new harbour