Day 14, Cornwall’s North Coast – Tintagel and Port Isaac

For our last day exploring Cornwall, we decided to once again head to the north coast. This time we would explore a couple of areas legendary world wide. Tintagel, fabled to be the birth place of King Arthur… yes, the one with the knights of the round table; and Port Isaac, home of the Fishermen’s Friends ( a lovely movie by the way) and the setting of Port Wenn of Doc Martin fame.

Once again we traversed a variety of road to get there…4 lane highway, 2 lane highway, one lane highway… and at one point when we were heading from Tintagel to Port Isaac, our road actually drove through a small stream! You know it’s serious when they have depth markers as you approach!!

Beautiful Cornish rolling hills as we head towards Tintagel.
As we get closer to the coast the roads get narrower! Probably the most challenging driving yet. What you see here is quite generous in comparison!

Once at Tintagel, we headed for St Materiana’s church where we began a short , but challenging, hike around the headlands looking over Tintagel Head, and the island of Pen Diu on which still sits the remains of a 13th century monastery and castle.

The ancient church that was the marker for the beginning of our walk.
Our first look at the island of Pen Diu, the fabled location of King Arthur’s birthplace. There used to be a pathway with treacherous stairs going down, across and up again to the island. Now they have built a bridge!
We climbed down to the bottom…unwilling to pay the 18-20 GBP pp to walk across the bridge… the ruins are from a different era, so we far more enjoyed our walk towards Barras Nose (or at least I did!)

As you can see by the caves, there was a lot of smuggling going on in these parts over the years on top of the mining for slate.

Closer version showing the old stair way as also the new bridge.
Looking back on the bay from Barras Nose
Barras Nose looking across the Atlantic. This was the first coastal land acquired by the National Trust in England in 1898
And this splendid coastline greeted our eyes to the east! What a treat for our last Cornish coastal walk!
Beautiful fields edged with gorse in full bloom looking back towards the Atlantic

We soon got back to the car and were ready to head to Port Isaac where we planned to stop for lunch. What a beautiful town! Although the hills going down into town are not for the faint of heart!

One of the many small streets that ran off the main quay
A first glimpse of the beach in the harbour of Port Isaac. Can’t you just see the police car in Doc Martin getting overtaken by the tide?

By the time we got down to the harbour proper we were ready for lunch. We popped into the Mole Bar and Restaurant and were delighted with the results!

The Mole Bar has been used for a backdrop for many episodes of both Doc Martin as well as Fishermen’s Friends.

Dan was up for some pub food, but I was thinking about the local Cornish delicacy, crab sandwich. And like usual, I asked the server what her favourite thing was on the menu, and without batting an eye she said fish and chips. Hmmm, I thought…kinda standard pub fare that can go either way… and I had eaten Fish and Chips at Risk Stein’s in Padstow. But, I went with the suggestion and was NOT disappointed!

Fresh Cod, probably just caught this morning in tempura batter. Sizzling hot and exploding with flavour! The chips were ultra crispy on the outside yet light and fluffy on the inside and the tartar sauce was made with chopped capers! This now takes my vote for best fish and chips in Cornwall!!!

After lunch we went for a short walk around the town and had the requisite visit to the “Doc’s House”.

He didn’t answer when we knocked, and it looks like it’s for sale!
And a great view from the house as well!
We decided to pop in for an ice cream (wonderful in Cornwall!) and I turned and saw this display. All I can say, is they really really really love their dogs in the UK!

When we left Port Isaac, it was time to get back to the Airbnb and begin organizing ourselves for our check out tomorrow morning. We will be heading off to Wales for a few days and given the distances we’ll be traveling, I’ll probably not be posting daily…we’ll see.

Our time here in Cornwall has been a wonderful voyage of discovery for us both. The countryside, the people and the food…all great reasons to return! For now, we’ll continue our journey north. Until next time!

Categories: Hiking in Iceland and the UK


  1. It really was a great little movie. This is lovely!



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