Take a tour of Cornwall’s picturesque harbours

Newquay harbour

Newquay Harbour - Credit: Ewen MacDonald

One of Cornwall’s biggest attractions – and home to one of its most historically important industries, Cornwall’s harbours are as varied as they are numerous... take a tour 

St Ives 

St Ives Cornwall

St Ives - Credit: Ewen MacDonald

This sunny spot is mostly a site of pleasure today, but once a busy fishing port. The pretender to the throne Perkin Warbeck was proclaimed king when he anchored in the harbour in the late 15th century. 



Padstow Harbour in Cornwall

Padstow Harbour - Credit: Ewen MacDonald

For many years, the foodie capital of Cornwall, Padstow is an active fishing port with some of its catch served in local restaurants. 


Porthleven Harbour

Porthleven Harbour - Credit: Ewen MacDonald

This active harbour is best known for its food festival and the church tower perched on the edge of the harbour.  


Newquay Harbour

Newquay Harbour - Credit: Ewen MacDonald

This medieval harbour sits a few metres from the famed surf hotspot of Fistral Beach and couldn’t feel more different. The harbour is famed for seal spotting and tombstoning. 


Mousehole Harbour

Mousehole Harbour - Credit: Ewen MacDonald

Famed for its Christmas lights – Mousehole Harbour was home to a landing of the attempted landing of a Spanish armada during an attempted invasion in the late 16th century. Bad weather and the British Navy held them at bay. 


Sennen Harbour

Sennen Harbour - Credit: Ewen MacDonald

Blink and you will miss this pretty and petite fishing harbour, which plays a vital role – as home to a lifeboat station housing, where a crew of 24 people ensure the boats are on call 24 hours a day, throughout the year. 

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St Mawes 

St Mawes Harbour from St Anthony

St Mawes Harbour from St Anthony Head - Credit: Ewen MacDonald

Sitting opposite Falmouth, St Mawes harbour is marked out by the Medieval Castle that guards the headland on one side of Falmouth Harbour. The harbour itself is mostly home to pleasure boats and water taxis from Falmouth. 


Looe Harbour

Looe Harbour - Credit: Ewen MacDonald

Home to a rare banjo pier, the harbour on the inlet to the River Looe neatly separates East Loo and West Looe, the harbour town remains a fishing port as well as a visitor attraction drawn to its fish and chips. 


Charlestown Harbour

Tall ship in Charlestown Harbour - Credit: Ewen MacDonald

Originally used for fishing and processing pilchards, Charlestown’s harbour dates back to the 1790s. Before it was built, trade ships landed on the beach. Poldark fans will also recognise it. 


Polperro Harbour

Polperro Harbour - Credit: Ewen MacDonald

This beautiful fishing harbour sits in the centre of the Polperro Heritage Coastline. Popular with visitors due to its idyllic setting with tightly-packed ancient fishermen's houses which survive almost untouched. 


Falmouth Harbour

Falmouth Harbour - Credit: Carol Burns

One of the deepest natural harbours in the world (beaten by Australia’s Sydney Harbour and Minorca). Falmouth is set to host the Tall Ships Races in 2021, which will also commemorate 500 years since the first circumnavigation voyage around the world. 


Fowey Harbour

Fowey - Credit: Ewen MacDonald

This sheltered deep-water harbour stretches into the River Fowey – all sitting in an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. Across the water is Menabilly – home to Daphne du Maurier who penned Jamaica Inn, Frenchman’s Creek and Rebecca – all inspired by her adopted home.