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Advice for visitors

First time visitor? - take a look at the topics on this page, hopefully they will answers some of your questions. Next, if you would like to see what Polperro looks like, visit our Photogallery - click here. Or return to our homepage and look through our main index on the left-hand side. Suggestion - try history or smuggling for a start!

Click on topic in index or scroll down to see all topics


Index

Climate
Time of year to visit
Stay or day-visit?
Accessibility, cars and car parking
Tides
The harbour
Things to do
Events
The Coastal Path
Boat owners
Beaches

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Climate

Cornwall has a mild temperate climate and many sub-tropical plants can be grown in the area. Polperro is well sheltered from the prevailing south-west winds - which, no doubt, is why it developed as a harbour.

Spring, summer and autumn days can be warm, balmy or even hot but winter, though seldom below freezing due to the proximity of the sea, can be wild and windy with winter gales and storms.

At all times of year there can be sea mists and except in settled anti-cyclonic conditions the weather could best be described as constantly changing. If, when you get up in the morning the weather is bad, don't assume it will stay this way all day. Likewise, if it is good, it may not last all day. Enjoy it while it's good (and also when it's not!).


Time of year to visit

Most visitors come in the summer, and certainly this is the warmest time in Polperro, but the sheer number of visitors can spoil the experience just a little. So why not come off-peak, in Spring or Autumn, or even Winter?


Stay or day-visit?

Most visitors to Polperro, especially in the summer, are day visitors. Often they are staying in the south-east Cornwall area. What the day visitors miss, however, is the early mornings and the evenings. In fact it is these times which are the nicest times in Polperro, not least because the tourists have gone and it is just the local people, the fishermen and shop-keepers, restauranteurs and those who are staying in the village or close by who are still around.

These are the times you'll remember, so stay in Polperro if you possibly can, or somewhere close where you can walk in - preferably along the coastal path which is THE best way to approach the village. Although Polperro is not large there are plenty of small hotels, guest houses and bed and breakfast establishments and holiday cottages and apartments to rent. Our "Where to stay" page has accommodation suggestions.


Accessibility, cars and car parking

Polperro is a village squeezed into a twisting valley with steep sides. This makes it very picturesque, but also means some of its roads are little wider than footpaths. Most are physically impossible to get down in a car. Those which are not are prohibited to cars in daytime from end of April to end of September. This is largely academic however because there is no practical prospect of getting your car through Polperro or leaving it anywhere except the main car park at the north (land) end of the village and then walking (or, during the summer taking either the horse bus or electric trolley or minibus to the village centre). If you are in any way mobility-impaired you are likely to find Polperro difficult - the narrow lanes are frequently steep but the road from the main car park to the harbour (about 1/2 mile) is a fairly gentle gradient (see our page of information for disabled visitors). For details of how to get to Polperro go to our "location" page.

For details of local bus services go to our Bus Services page.


Tides

Polperro is seen at its best at high tide so, if you have a choice, check the tide tables before you go. Of course, if you stay in Polperro you'll see it at all states of the tide - and whether the tide is in or out, or half in or half out, the harbour has immense interest and character. When there are exceptional spring (high) tides look out for your feet as the water can lap the streets around the harbour - and when there is exceptionally heavy rain, the river, which is normally a placid stream, can become a raging torrent. The combination of tides and weather ensure that no two days are ever quite the same in Polperro!


The harbour

Polperro harbour is the central focus of the village. It is a working harbour with an active fishing fleet and provides lots of colour and interest for visitors. There are plenty of pubs, restaurants and cafes around the harbour and there can be few nicer places on a pleasant day to sit with a pint of beer watching others work!


Things to do

There is a good selection of shops of interest to visitors in Polperro, selling good quality souvenirs, paintings, pottery, jewellry etc. There are also shops, newsagents, bakeries etc selling more everyday requirements but there are no large supermarkets. For details of interesting shops go to our "Where to shop" page.

When you've strolled round the harbour, photographed the picturesque village from every angle, and maybe wandered a little way up and down the coastal path either east or west, you'll have developed a good thirst and appetite. So, it's back to the village to seek out one of Polperro's excellent hostelries or restaurants - why not visit our "Where to eat page" to give you some ideas before you go?

Tip - especially in high season (but other times of year it's prudent as well), give the restaurant of your choice a ring before you go and make a reservation.


Events

For a village of just some 1200 souls there's a lot going on - from art and craft exhibitions, WI meetings, Cornish poets, Morris men, Clog dancers and the Fishermens' Choir singing on the Quayside to larger scale community events such as the water carnival, the Furry Dance and the village's annual Arts Festival. All these events are listed in our Events Diary - click here to see it. Take a look and make sure you don't miss what's on when you're going to be in Polperro. Better still, make sure you go when the event you particularly want to see is on!


The Coastal Path

Polperro lies on the South West coastal path and the stretches of path west of Polperro (to Polruan/Fowey) and the east (Talland Bay/Looe) are very pleasant, unspoilt and quite easy walking.


Boat owners

If you want to visit from the sea, by sailing yacht or motor cruiser you will need to check with the maritime authorities - Polperro harbour is very small and difficult to access in bad weather. It is also tidal with a harbour gate/boom so is not accessible at all times.


Beaches

Polperro has a wild and rocky shore. At high tide there are one or two places where intrepid souls manage to get into the water but these can hardly be described as either beaches or even bathing places. At low tide and in suitable weather there is a small beach which can be used for paddling and even swimming. The nearest "all-day" beaches are (a) several miles to the west at Lansallos and Lantic Bay (both have National Trust car parks, but longish walks are involved) or (b) to the east, where there are beaches suitable for bathing at Talland Bay (accessible by car but these can be difficult places to find parking in top season) and Looe. East of Looe, at Millendreath, Seaton and Downderry there are much better sandy beaches suitable for children. The particular stretch of Cornwall's coast immediately around Polperro is not really about sandy beaches!

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