Guide to Porthleven Cornwall
Porthleven is the most southerly fishing port on mainland England sitting between Lands End and the Lizard Point in Cornwall.
Porthleven has built up around the need for a harbour with the location chosen because there had been many shipwrecks in the bay. The harbour offers a historic character and a very interesting structure. The rock and pier entrance is followed by a winding route to an enclosed inner harbour, all constructed to provide a safe tidal harbour within the bay.
The nearest beach is Porthleven beach which lies to the east of the town beside the entrance to the harbour and is separated from the harbour by a granite pier, which stands in front of the Porthleven institute and clock tower. When the tide is out the beach extends for many miles to Gunwalloe in the east, although at high tide it all but disappears. Within the middle of this stretch is Loe Bar a designated Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) and is well worth a visit. The Loe is the largest natural freshwater lake in Cornwall and the Bar is a half-mile shingle/flint bank that separates the Loe from the sea. Loe Bar is approximately a two-mile gentle walk from Porthleven along the coast path or if you are lucky and the tide is out the sandy beach.
The location and conditions make this a great surfing location on either side of the harbour entrance with the pier being a perfect spot to watch.
If you are looking for something other than the beach then Porthleven has a good range of interesting shops and galleries offering local Cornish art and crafts.
Time spent on the beach or exploring the shops can be thirsty and hungry work. You have a wide selection of cafes, restaurants and inns, that can cover everything from a tea and cake, a Cornish pasty or a full meal with options of locally caught fish.
If you visit in bad weather you can understand why they needed to build a safe harbour. Thus, the weather may impact a trip and you can see by the two videos below which were taken just two days apart in early July.
A car is the best option to get to Porthleven, from Truro follow the A39 to Penzance, at Helston follow the signs to Porthleven. The main car park can get full but most of the roads have on-street parking.
For more information see our Porthleven beach page or why not explore Cornwall.