Unspoilt fishing village
This secluded and extremely picturesque fishing village nestles between steep hills and the older part is virtually on the water's edge, looking out to sea over a pier built in the reign of Henry VIII. There are many pleasant and delightful walks of interest around the cliffs and surrounding countryside. Port Isaac is an excellent haven from which to tour the north Cornish coast being only ten miles from both Camelford and Wadebridge, at the end of the B3267. The population of the village was 998 at the 2011 census.
All of the coves and cliffs in the area have caves and hide-a-ways that were much used by smugglers in times gone past, and one pub has a secret escape tunnel that leads down to the beach.
Port Isaac developed as a pilchard fishery from medieval times and then, in the last century, a small coasting trade grew up around the shipping of slate from Delabole Quarry. But suffered severe decline in the last century with the capriciousness of the pilchard season, the failure of local mines and the coming of the railway to Delabole and later to just above the village in 1894. In 1850 there were 49 registered fishing boats and four fish cellars.
In 1946 the SS 'Sphene' a coal carrying coaster, was wrecked and sank after striking the Mouls rocks off Port Isaac in bad weather.
Until the closure of the Okehampton to Wadebridge railway line in 1966 the village was served by a station at Port Isaac Road. The station was some three miles inland and opened on 1st June 1895.
The church of St. Peter was built as a chapel-of-ease in the parish of St. Endellion in 1882; Port Isaac became a separate parish in 1913 though more recently it has returned to St. Endellion parish.
The old school built precariously on the cliff edge was designed by Cornish architect Silvanus Trevail who won a prize for it.
Port Isaac has seen lifeboats launching off the north Cornish coast for over 100 years. The former boathouse is now the building called the Post Office. In the early 1960's the RNLI introduced the Inshore Lifeboat, and in 1967 the Port Isaac Station re-opened with a new D class lifeboat. On the 18th July 2012 three lifeboat crew members were awarded medals for their bravery in saving the life of a man who had become trapped in dangerous waters.
In recent years, makers of television programmes such as Poldark have used this area as a location. In October 2005, the village was again used for the backdrop to the television production of Rosamunde Pilcher's The Shell Seekers. Filming took place in the village for a week with the production's star, Vanessa Redgrave, filming many of her scenes in the main street. The comedy film Saving Grace was filmed in and around the village in 2000. The village has become home, for part of the year, to designer Laurence Llewelyn-Bowen. Also the village is now famous as the filming location of the TV series Doc Martin.
The village is also home to the group Fisherman's Friends, sea shanty singers who perform every Friday evening in summer. And in 2019 a film was made about the group.
Trevathan Farm Shop and Tea Room at nearby St. Endellion on the B3314 offers a welcome stop on your way to or from the village.
Edmund Henry Hambly (1914–1985) a British orthopaedic surgeon, politician and promoter of the Cornish language.
The St. Endellion Music Festival - Easter.
The North Cornwall Book Festival - Mid October.
Ruby Tuesday's Cafe
Fresh From The Sea
Restaurant Nathan Outlaw
The Angry Anchovy
The Golden Lion Inn
Camelford Polzeath Port Gaverne Port Quin Tintagel Trebarwith Strand Wadebridge
Longcross Victorian Gardens The Coastal Footpath Cornish Lifeboat Stations St. Kew St. Teath