For a postcard perfect Cornish village, head to Mevagissey. This sweet fishing port on the south coast of Cornwall offers up buckets of old school charm and the freshest fish of your life. Situated in a valley, the centre of the village is the charming twin harbour which is still used by fishermen today.
Around the harbour and streets beyond you’ll find an eclectic tangle of restaurants, pubs, galleries and shops. A word of warning: there is a large carpark on the outskirts of town – park here unless you want to drive around the incredibly narrow streets (which are small and snaking even by usual Cornish standards).
The village’s rich history comes to life at the Mevagissey Museum, which is tucked away on the harbour. Explore all three floors where you’ll find diverse exhibitions and even a kids trail. Better yet? Entrance is free!
Housed in an old RNLI lifeboat house on the west side of the harbour you’ll find the Mevagissey Aquarium. Since the buildings beginnings in 1897 it’s been many things including a cafe, shop and even a gun emplacement during the Second World War. In the 50s it was developed into an aquarium, our favourite reincarnation of the building to date.
If model railways are your jam, get to the Mevagissey Model Railway. The main layout features over 30 trains travelling through varied landscapes including the seaside an Alpine winter. Children under five are admitted free and during peak season it’s open every day except Saturday.
Wildlife and Walking
Mevagissey is right on the coastal path flanked by the Roseland heritage coast to the west and the Polperro heritage coast to the east. Suffice to say, a walk in either direction will be beautiful. Head west and walk just over three miles through Portmellon and on to Gorran Haven. This seaside village is tiny but perfectly formed with a fantastic beach for safe swimming. Head in the other direction for 2.2 miles and you’ll arrive at Pentewan, another fantastic beach and great for a swim.
If it’s just a view you’re after, head out of the town and walk up Polkirt Hill and turn left on to the South West Coast Path which will lead you back down to the harbour, affording stunning views on the way down.
Food and Drinking
After authentic Portuguese food in Cornwall? There’s only one place: Alvorada. Situated right on the harbour, there is plenty of fish on the menu not least because the chef catches his own fish. Order Cornish fish cooked the Portuguese way: mussels with chorizo, seafood kebabs and fresh caught grilled sardines.
For an intimate dinner book a table at Salamander. Tucked away in a side street, here you’ll find a simple menu featuring local fish cooked to perfection. The restaurant is small and popular, so book ahead to avoid disappointment.
For a very varied menu with something to please most tastebuds, grab a table at the waterfront pub and restaurant The Sharksfin. Here you’ll find lobster linguine, root veg salad and popcorn shrimp tacos. Grab a local brew while you’re there.
Serious foodies might like to pencil Mevagissey Feast Week into their diary. This celebration has been taking place in the village since 1752 when it started off as a religious festival. As churches and chapels gradually decline in numbers, the celebration has evolved into a week-long celebration with something for everyone. You’ll find carnival parades, raft races, live music and fish aplenty.
Wander around the narrow streets of Mevagissey and you’ll find a quirky mix of shops and galleries to peruse. Whether you’re after holiday souvenirs, seaside homeware, handmade jewellery, art and crafts or second-hand books, you’ll find it here.
Hop aboard the ferry from the harbour and take a 30 minute trip up the coast to see Fowey. If lady luck is on your side, you might even spot a dolphin or seal on along your journey.
Head 2.5 miles inland and swing by The Lost Gardens of Heligan; one of the most popular botanical gardens in the UK.
Up your journey to just over 4 miles and you could check out Polmassick Vineyard in St Ewe. At Cornwall’s oldest vineyard you can book a tour, stock up on wine or simply enjoy a glass of something delicious with a picnic.