Here in Cornwall, we are rather fond of our harbours. This is not without good reason. Our rich marine heritage was built upon the many ports and refuges, natural or otherwise, that allowed boats to come and go, and enabled fishing, trade and tourism to thrive in this charming county which majors, let’s face it, in coastline.

Visitors to this day tend to congregate around the harbours, drawn by the boats, the safe waters and the markets and restaurants that ply fresh fish from the sea and other local produce brought from inland. There are too many of these ports to mention them all (although we had a good try on our harbour page), but here are our top five for a bit of inspiration!

Prince of Wales Pier, Falmouth

Peaceful in Falmouth harbour

The Biggest

Falmouth is distinguished by a vast natural harbour that ranks as the third largest in the world. This has made it an important industrial port as well as a superb “open yet sheltered water” area for leisure activities like sailing. The entirety of this huge harbour transcends harbourdom, however; the conjunction of some five large rivers, known as Carrick Roads, contains multiple small harbours and marinas including Falmouth town, Penryn, Flushing and Mylor and many other, smaller quays.

To see holiday cottages in Falmouth, click here

Boscastle Harbour, North Cornwall

Beautiful Boscastle

The Prettiest

A bit more open to debate, but we’re going to have to go with Boscastle. Once a busy port in the heyday of the mining industry, it is now almost bereft of boats but no less attractive for that. It’s a quirky and interesting village, full of craft and lore, a romantic hideaway in a seemingly secret valley.

For Boscastle cottages, click here

Port Isaac Harbour, North Cornwall

Photogenic Port Isaac Harbour

The Most Famous

Port Wenn was made famous by the TV show Doc Martin starring Martin Clunes, but the real name of the location is Port Isaac. It’s a thriving town with exceptional hostelries, all framed by the massive walls around the unusually beachy harbour. Much loved and written about by the famous poet Sir John Betjeman, Port Isaac is a superb holiday destination by virtue of its position in the middle of the north coast of Cornwall.

For cottages in Port Isaac, click here

Classic Sailing Ships in Charlestown, South Cornwall

Classic Sailing Ships in Charlestown

The Most Authentic

Also vying for the top-spot in the fame game (it’s been featured in more movies and shows than most actors) Charlestown is in a sense the harbour that time forgot. Although the port is not as ancient as many Cornish harbours, it is preserved as it was in the 18th century and the square-rigger sailing ships that grace the silver screen are to be found sheltering there for most of the time.

For cottages in the area, click here

Not always rough seas at Porthleven, West Cornwall

Not always rough seas at Porthleven

The Most Dramatic

Porthleven is a fine traditional fishing port, but it’s also one of the UK’s premier surf spots (more suited to the pros than the typical tourist) and a storm-watching and -photography destination bar none. Its iconic clock tower and robust harbour wall complete the striking appearance of this extremely dramatic location, even on calm days in the sunshine.

For cottages around Porthleven, click here

If you are a fan of harbours, you might like our more detailed harbour page, here… And if you’d like to come and see these lovely harbours any time, there are many fine cottages available to rent through Cornish Traditional Cottages all the year round.

Click here to see all the latest special offers and we’ll expect you soon!

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