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Porthleven in General

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  • Don't expect Blackpool
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      28.05.2009 22:54
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      Would love to stay here

      We hadn't planned on visiting Porthleven on our Cornwall holiday last year but we were driving around looking for a dog friendly beach and happned to stumble across it. And I'm so glad we did.

      Porthleven is situated in South West Cornwall on the coast between the Lizard and Lands End. When we arrived in the town we drove around for a bit to see if doggies were allowed on the beach and, on finding out they were, went to find somewhere to park. Many of the streets are quite narrow so go fairly slowly and be careful. We eventually found a car park and it was free so that's definately a good deal! I can't remember exactly where this car park was but was next to a little playground and a grassy hill.

      We then walked down through the village to the beach. The village itself has a wonderful feel to it and is very picturesque and quaint. There's lots of lovely little stone washed cottages around and much of it felt like something out of a film. Whilst walking through the town we saw somebody had left a bowl of water out for dogs with a watering can next to it and a sign asking people to make sure the bowl was filled up. I thought this was a lovely touch and it's great that people are making dog owners feel welcome.

      The beach at Porthleven is beautiful and unspoilt. Despite it being a boiling hot day, the beach was very quiet so there was lots of places to sit. One of the good things about the beach is that is against the cliff and at the bottom has formed little individual style coves. You can sit in one of these and cant see anybody to your left or right so feels like you have the beach to yourself! The water is beautiful, quite clear and not too cold so is a great place to swim or paddle. The only downside of the beach is that is made up of very tiny pebbles and these are quite difficult to walk on meaning you have to walk really slowly across the beach. They are also quite sinky so you have to walk in a strange way - trying to look cool is out of the question!

      There are lots of shops and eateries around the village. There are quite a few craft shops which sell local arts and crafts so you can buy something a bit different to take home. If you get hungry you have a wide variety of options including pubs, restaurants, teashops and inns. There is also a brilliant fish and chip shop near the harbour which does gorgeous food and the people there are very friendly.

      Porthleven impressed me so much that I'd love to stay there if we go back to Cornwall. There seems to be lots of holiday cottages about as well as hotels which are situated near the beach and near all the local food spots. Porthleven is also in a good location and in easy reach of other fantastic tourist destinations in Cornwall such as the Lizard Peninsula, Lands End, the Seal Sanctuary and Penrose Estate. So it would be a good base to do some exploring from.

      All in all, we had a lovely day in Porthleven. It is a beautiful village with a gorgeous beach. I'm so glad we found it =)

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        12.08.2008 20:04

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        A loevly cornish port

        Porthleven is a beautiful little village close to Helston which happened to be one of the places where I spent my Honeymoon many years ago.

        We stayed at the Tye Rock Hotel, an imposing building on the outskirts of the town on the cliff tops.

        Because of its position the town gets battered by the winter storms that hit this part of Cornwall. I always remember some of the photo's the owner of the Hotel had of waves literally crashing into the Hotel despite the fact it was as I say sat on the cliff tops.

        The village itself is picturesque with 2 pubs and a couple of restaurants. There is also a lovely little tea room that has the most amazing cakes and gateaux, It isn't the cheapest place for a cuppa but its so good its worth the price.

        In general Porthleven is not somewhere to spend a whole day, but as a base for exploration or somewhere to drop into for a few hours and a slice of cake its hard to top.

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        15.07.2008 22:57
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        great to call off for a couple of hours

        Porthleven is a small cornish town with a great harbour situated on the coast near Helston on the south coast of cornwall, quite often this lovely town gets battered by the harsh seas in winter and in some of the shops you can see pictures showing the damage the ferce sea has done in past times.

        There isn't a lot here, the harbour is nice, a few nice pubs and if you go round the town you can get to a beach past the church which is nice in good weather.

        A bit further up the beach you will see loe pool which the beash acts as a sandback between the sea and this huge lake, you can walk around this lake and its lovely.

        The huge house on the cliff top is the Tye Rock Hotel, we stayed here for our honeymoon and it has a magnificent outlook over the sea

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          30.10.2001 17:36
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          • "Don't expect Blackpool"

          Continuing my desire to become a Cornish resident, whilst staying on the Lizard peninsula I decided to visit the seaside harbour town of Porthleven to seek a job as a boatbuilder. In this I was again unsuccessful, and the reason for this you will shortly find out, but the town was indeed very nice so I'll tell you of it. Could the fact be that it has two pubs ?? If one heads towards Lands End from Helston on the A394, a left turn after about a mile will bring you to Porthleven. Now always one to feed you Very Useful information, this is the most southerly port in Britain and both a working village and a holiday centre. To also continue with my education of the Cornish language, porth means harbour and leven means level or smooth .. So we have a smooth harbour ?? No really the harbour was once a flat marshland on the banks of a stream flowing into the sea at a small cove. The stream still flows through the valley and divides the village into the parish of Breage to the west and Sithney to the east.. A hamlet of fisherman's dwellings had grown around this cove by the 14th century, and this was separated from the sea by a bar of shingle, and this was where the boats were kept. From this time on, the community grew, and by 1700 had been joined by miners and farmworkers, who for the benefit of Sue26 do have sheep. In 1811 to meet the growing demand for coal and supplies for the nearby mines, and also to provide safe keeping for the fishing fleet, work began on the harbour as it is today. This took 14 years, aided and abetted by many prisoners from the Napoleonic wars. I have it on good authority, as I wasn't there myself, that the harbour opened in August 1825 with a feast of roast beef and plum pudding for the whole village. Probably a good job I missed that particular day then, as those two items on one plate don't sound too appealing !! In 1855 the harbour was leased by Harvey & Co, of Hayle, who created a deeper inner basin
          which was protected by the massive timber baulk gates which are still in use today. I mention this because on the day I was there the sea was extremely rough so being a caring, sharing type of person I thought I'd rush round and see how many boats had been destroyed !! Well, lo and behold, gates in place, sea rough one side of the harbour, inner basin completely calm !! Bother, I couldn't buy a cheap damaged boat, but it was in fact quite an incredible scene. From 1855 trade did increase dramatically with imports of timber, coal and limestone and exports of tin, china clay and copper. From the 1850's, the Portleven boatbuilding industry became a major employer, hence my interest in a job there. The large slipway saw the launch of clippers, schooners and yachts which were headed for ports all round the globe. Two Porthleven built trawlers still work from Brixham in Devon, but the last boat was launched here in the late 1970's. Well there you go, I was only 25 years late in applying for the job !! Walking round the harbour you'll find reminiscences of older times, when the quayside was a hive of activity, though there was a spectacular winter storm in 1989 so it didn't then !! From the harbour, if you turn into Breageside there is a three-storey building on the right which was built in 1889 as fish-curing cellars which turned out thousands of hogsheads of pilchards for export. Nearby, ther old china clay store started in 1893 and up to 7,000 tons of china clay from the Tregonning Hill quarries were kept here before being exported. As we walk along, and don't worry dear reader because we are headed in the general direction of pubs, there is also a ruined turret-like building which was once a limekiln built in 1814 to produce lime for the construction of the harbour (surprise, surprise !!) and the building boom which followed. The two cannon either side of the harbour wouldn't be much use today, but were once fired in anger at
          Napoleon's navy during the battle of Brest and come from the frigate HMS Anson, wrecked on Loe Bar (more of that later) in 1807 with the loss of 120 sailors. At last, by the clock tower, we come to our first pub, the Ship Inn. This has excellent home-made food, good ales, views of the sea and harbour, and a friendly atmosphere created by our hosts Chris and Colin. From here we can contemplate the old lifeboat house, built in 1894. Porthleven retains strong links with the RNLI, and each August holds a colourful Lifeboat Day. It ran it's own lifeboat service from 1863 to 1929, which ran 28 missions and saved 50 lives. The Bickford-Smith Institute, with it's 70 ft clock tower, was built in 1883 as a Literary Institute by William Bickford-Smith of Trevarno. The buildings main claim to fame is that it was featured in the national press in 1989, when pictures showed the tower engulfed by enormous waves. Amazing what you find out over a pint of beer !! Now, the building of the harbour started Porthleven's golden days of fishing, crab, lobster and crayfish still being caught here. Every summer, great pilchard shoals- some as much as 15 miles square - swam into Mount's Bay !! Hope you all like fish ?? Large catches were regularly recorded:; 2,000 hogsheads on my birthday 8 November 1834 (little before my time though !!) A hogshead is a 54-gallon barrel, great when it's full of beer. At times the men were so keen to fish that they would tow the boats to the end of the pier, and row from there, hoping for a following wind !! The attraction of Cornwall is that these mad things did, and still do, happen !! A keen fisherman in 1880 could have counted 144 boats, and up to 583 men and boys crewed the fleet, women and children were paid threepence per hour to salt and pack the pilchards; hundreds more were employed in making sails, nets, ropes and barrels. Fishing, as well as boatbuilding, mining and agriculture, created such pros
          perity for the area that many new homes were built. Fish is still a very important part of Porthleven life, and finds it's way to the local fishmonger and excellent restaurants, though most of it goes to nearby Newlyn. Perhaps I should have come for a job as a fisherman ?? A walk to nearby Helston would take you along Loe Bar which is a huge shingle bank separating the sea, and it is not safe to bathe here, from the waters of Loe Pool. After our seaside stroll the lakeside and woodland paths will take us through the National Trust's Penrose Estate and along the Cober Valley. Alternatively we can take the South West Coast Path onto the wild Lizard Peninsula or west to the spectacular cliff-edge tin mines of Rinsey. Well you lot can do that, because I'm going back to the Harbour Hotel which is managed by the St. Austell Brewery, for a pint of HSD. The food and drink is excellent, and very well priced here, and I'm on the St. Austell Ale Trail, if I visit 50 of their pubs I will get an embroidered sweatshirt, but if I can manage to visit 100 I will get a lambswool sweater. However, if I manage to visit all 151 in Devon and Cornwall, apart from being drunk and broke, I will also get an engraved 2 pint tankard, and a certificate. See you when I've finished !!

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            19.01.2001 07:05
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            Well it was two years ago that my mum had decided since she started her new business, she needed a holiday, and much to my disappointment (at first may i add), she annouced that we were going to Cornwall. Her fiance was brought up round this area, and had not been back there for some years as this was quite a traumatic era of his life as his mother 'disowned' him (long story) and was brought up in a children's home. As soon as we arrived, i was firstly simply just impressed with this beautiful harbour, which our rented house was overviewing. The house was perfect, with a gorgeous marble fireplace, all Art deco. I was amazed, and knew now this wouldn't be so bad after all. The heat there was stifling, and you could almost smell it. it's suprising just how hot it can get, just being that bit further south from London. I could sense that my mother's fiance, Dave, felt he was 'home' despite the previous events. He made the holiday extra special, he knew all the little history parts about the town, i think he got a little nostalgic! My room was at the front of the house, and at night i could hear the water soothing the walls of the habour. The view was amazing, the lights of the houses opposite shimmered over the water, it was just one of those moments your really want to share with someone. The people there were magnificent. We were there two weeks, and after the first week you felt a sense of belonging there, rather than just another tourist, i often ambled to the local shops purely for some time of my own, but ended up spending half the time with some lady in the shop who was telling me her fabricated tales, but this embroidery on the truth kind of touched me as i felt she was just in love with her home, and rightly so. The surroundings were no less stunning. We visited the old tin mines, which bored me a little as i think it was aimed at a younger age, but i still enjoyed parts
            , even though the mines were dank, and had a smell that seemed to cling to your nostril hairs. Flambards theme park was certainly an 'amusement' park, purely for the fact of how much it differed from the idea of a conventional theme park. The rides were pretty tame, but it incorporate interesting museums of wedding dresses through the decades, and had amazing floral shows. The one day that is probably one of the days which will be embossed in my mind most was the day we visited Dave's children's home, his old school, and did fishing for crabs in the habour (which we obviously never caught, but thats not the point in it!). I'm still not sure why dave wanted to visit the children's home. The things he experienced there i don't think that would ever want to hear about again, let alone about someone i know and love. As we drove down the grit drive, past the for sale sign, which had clearly been there for years, the home seemed to grow bigger, until it loomed upon us. I never questioned why he wanted to visit at the time, but i think it was a milestone for him to cross as he faced fears he had blotted from his mind for years. Anyway, back to Porthleven! it's an amazing community, which i innitially thought was just full of frumpy people who still attended church on Sundays, and was a bit of a time warp. But it's this commmunity that invites you to join them during your stay. i know other people who have been there, and it seems to have created this same reflective ambiance on them as it did me. It's 1am now, but i can feel the heat blasting around the coast, hear the sound of the sea, and the suprisingly seductive sound of the gulls, and then feel that sort of smile edge it's way in on your face when you realise how influencial one place can be. Whether i would go back to Porthleven again is debatable. I would be worried it wouldn't live up to these standards again, wouldn't evoke t
            he same feelings, and wouldn't be a new experience for me. But there is a part of me that wants to go back to a place; here you don't need to worry about what your doing, where you can relax in an unknown place, that feels like a home. This was not really a holiday for me, more a breath of fresh air, that seemed to violently resussitated me from the hammering london life. It's amazing such a place could have made soemone reflect and appreciate things so much..........at just 15.

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