Set-Jetting: Port Isaac, Cornwall

Some of our travel destinations were never on our list to begin with – till we spent some long holiday weekend binge watching a show. Case in point – Port Isaac, Cornwall which is the location set for Doc Martin.

The TV series Doc Martin does not need much introduction. The popular show on the misadventures and shenanigans of the moody Doctor Martin Ellingham is entering its 10th and final season which is currently being shot on location.

To fans of the show Port Isaac is ‘Port Wenn’ with its famous doctor’s surgery, Mrs Tishell’s pharmacy, Port Wenn school house, the local pub and an array of sites features in scenes like the garage and local grocery store.

Exterior of Dr Ellingham’s Surgery

When it is not the set for Mrs Tishell’s Pharmacy in Doc Martin, ‘Harbour Treats’ is a sweets and souvenir shop, while the school house where Louisa Ellingham teaches is a restaurant.

The School House is a restaurant in Port Isaac (White building at the edge of the cliff)
Scenes around Port Isaac
The harbour / bay area with a view of the schoolhouse on the right

The central point of this fishing village, which origins can be traced back to the 14th century, is the bay where the antics of entrepreneur Bert Large and policeman PC Penhale are often captured.

Other familiar spots around Port Isaac featured in Doc Martin episodes includes the town of Delabole and Doyden Castle.

The Delabole slate mine

For those who remember the episode when Mrs Tishell kidnaps Martin and Louisa’s baby James, this is the castle in which she was holed up – Doyden Castle, a short drive from Port Isaac and half an hour uphill hike from Port Quinn.

While featured occasionally, what the show does not display prominently are the amazing cliffs, caves and coastal pathways that makes this place a spot a worthy destination.

Sunset just off the Port Isaac walking trail
At the edge of a hiking trail to Doyden Castle from Port Quinn
A view of Port Isaac from the plains surrounding the village
Port Isaac

It is essentially a small coastal village and I get the sense that the local community would like to maintain the character and authenticity of the place as much as they can.

Road into Port Isaac

This includes ensuring that new buildings and developments uphold the character of the place – even in terms of the building materials used to renovate and refurbish older buildings.

The roads and streets of this 800-year old village are narrow and only passable to one vehicle at a time with waiting spots in between (if you are lucky). This coupled with large groups of tourists on foot can make driving trough the village a challenge – as we found out the hard way. The same goes for roads around the area, that seem to be narrow lanes cutting through farmland.

No way around this. Our only option was to reverse all the way out.
Not to self: Rent a smaller car to manoeuvre through the Cornish countryside

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